Thursday, February 8, 2018

Red Raspberry

Scientific name: Rubus idaeus

Description: Raspberry is a perennial plant in the rose family (Rosaceae) that is commonly found wild in Europe and Asia.  It is an erect plant that grows to about 1 to 2 meters in height. The leaves are green on top and silvery white on the underside. The flowers bloom in late spring and are white, erect with small petals and numerous stamens and pistils. The fruit, a collection of many small berries, is red or sometimes yellow. Raspberry has been cultivated for a long time not only for its culinary uses but also for its medicinal properties. In herbal medicine, it is primarily the leaves that are utilized and the berries are mostly used for culinary purposes.

Parts used: fruits and leaves

Therapeutic Uses and Benefits:

For centuries, red raspberry fruit and leaf have been used as medicine. The berries contain strong antioxidants such as Vitamin C, quercetin and gallic acid which fight against cancer, heart and circulatory diseases. It is also high in polyphenolic compounds known for their anti-cancer properties and high in ellagic acid known as a chemopreventative and has anti-inflammatory properties.  The berries also has 1.5-2% organic acids, fructose, pectin, gum, anthocyanins and iron.

Red raspberry ketones are used as a weight loss supplement in Japan. The red raspberry seed oil is rich in Vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acid and thus being used in cosmeceutical industry.

The leaves contain tannins, flavone glycosides, organic acids and vitamin C. Both the dried and fresh leaves contain tannin that is known to have astringent properties and makes it soothing both internally and externally. A tincture or tea made of raspberry leaves will sooth sunburn, eczema, and skin rashes when applied externally. Swishing with a tincture or infusion of Raspberry Leaf can help treat gingivitis or gum disease.Extracts from the leaves have been used externally for inflammation of the mouth and throat, tonsillitis, sore throat, ulceration, burns and slow healing wounds.

The leaves have been used as a tea to treat diarrhea, heavy menstrual bleeding and vaginal discharge.  Being naturally high in magnesium, potassium, iron and B-vitamins makes it helpful for nausea, leg cramps, improves sleep during pregnancy and strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles for shorter and easier labors. It also help ease the symptoms of PMS, endometriosis, morning sickness associated with pregnancy and in preventing miscarriage.

A filtered & cooled decoction of raspberry leaves has been used as eye drops for the treatment of conjunctivitis.

How to make Raspberry Leaf Tea:
Pour 8 ounces of boiling water over 1 teaspoon-1 tablespoon of Raspberry Leaf. Steep, covered, for at least 5 minutes and drink as regular tea. I often keep a gallon of cold raspberry leaf tea in the fridge so that I don’t have to brew by the cup. To make a gallon, just 3/4 to

Boil 1 cup of Raspberry Leaves in a gallon of water. Steep and covered for at least 5 minutes and drink as a regular tea. You may leave overnight before straining for a stronger tea. For smaller amount, you may simmer half liter of water for a few minutes and add in a handful of fresh or dried raspberry leaves.

A cup of this tea can be taken two or three times daily.

Side Effects/Precaution:

Always consult your doctor before taking anything during pregnancy. Since red raspberry has been traditionally used as uterine tonic that helps pregnant women in labor and delivery caution should be made as this might cause miscarriage.