Raspberry

Scientific Name(s): Rubus idaeus L. and Rubus strigosus Michx. Family: Rosaceae (roses)

Common Name(s): Red raspberry

Uses

Raspberry leaves may be helpful for diarrhea or as a mouthwash because of their astringent action. They have been used historically in painful or profuse menstruation and to regulate labor pains in childbirth, but there is little evidence to support this use.

Dosing

Typical doses of raspberry leaf as a tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. A clinical trial has been conducted to define its safety in labor.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Documented adverse effects (including antigonatographic activity and stimulation of contraction in strips of pregnant human uterus). Avoid use.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of this product.

Toxicology

There is no evidence that raspberry leaf tea is toxic.

Botany

The cultivated red raspberries Rubus idaeus (Eurasian) or R. strigosus (North American, also known as R. idaeus var. strigosus ) are two of many Rubus species worldwide. While the berries are cultivated as food items, it is the leaves that have been used medicinally. Raspberries grow as brambles with thorny canes bearing three-toothed leaflets and stalked white flowers with five petals. The red berries detach easily from their cores when ripe. While some species of Rubus primarily reproduce clonally and commercial red raspberries are propagated as clones, DNA fingerprinting has indicated that wild R. idaeus populations exhibit substantial genetic diversity. 1

History

The leaves of red raspberry were used for their astringent properties to treat diarrhea in the 19th century. A strong tea of raspberry leaves was used in painful or profuse menstruation and to regulate labor pains in childbirth. 2 The Eclectics used a decoction of the leaves to suppress nausea and vomiting. A gargle of raspberry leaf infusion has been used for sore throats and mouths and to wash wounds and ulcers. 3

Chemistry

While substantial effort has been devoted to the chemistry of raspberry fruit as a food item, relatively less has been published on the chemistry of the leaves. The principal compounds isolated from red raspberry leaves are hydrolyzable tannins. Simple compounds such as 1,2,6-tri- O -galloyl-glucose and penta- O -galloyl glucose 4 are oxidatively coupled through galloyl groups to form more complex compounds such as casuarictin, pendunculagin, sanguin H-6, 5 and lambertianin A, 6 with as many as 15 galloyl groups coupled to 3 glucose units. 7

Common flavonoids have also been isolated from the leaves of raspberry. Rutin was isolated, 8 as were kaempferol, quercitin, quijaverin, and kaempferol-3- O -β-D-glucuronopyranoside. 9 Major leaf volatiles studied by GC-MS include the monoterpenes geraniol and linalool as well as 1-octane-3-ol and decanal. 10 Phenolic acids common to the Rosaceae family have also been identified. 11

Uses and Pharmacology

The tannin components of the leaves have a definite astringent action, 12 which may be helpful in diarrhea or as a mouthwash; however, there is little pharmacologic evidence at present to support the use of raspberry leaf tea in pregnancy, menstruation, or childbirth. Blackberry ( R. strigosus ) leaves, which have similar chemistry to raspberry leaves, have been found to have a slight hypoglycemic activity in rabbit models; however, the chemistry responsible for this effect was not elucidated. 13 , 14

Animal data

A preliminary study found fractions of raspberry leaf extract that stimulated and relaxed uterine muscle in pregnant rats, but this must be confirmed. 15

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding raspberry for any use.

Dosage

Typical doses of raspberry leaf as a tea are 1.5 to 2.4 g/day. A clinical trial has been conducted to define its safety in labor. 16

Pregnancy/Lactation

Documented adverse effects (including antigonatographic activity and stimulation of contraction in strips of pregnant human uterus). 17 , 18 , 19 Avoid use.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

Research reveals little or no information regarding adverse reactions with the use of this product.

Toxicology

There is no evidence that raspberry leaf tea is toxic.

A raspberry leaf monograph is included in the British Herbal Pharmacopeia , vol. 2. 20 It is listed as unapproved in the German Commission E Monographs . 21

Bibliography

1. Antonius K, et al. DNA fingerprinting reveals significant amounts of genetic variation in a wild raspberry Rubus idaeus population. Mol Ecol 1994;3(2):177.
2. Erichsen-Brown C. Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants. Dover, NY. 1989:471-73.
3. Grieve M. A Modern Herbal . London, England: Jonathan Cape, 1931:671-72.
4. Haddock E, et al. The metabolism of gallic acid and hexahydroxydiphenic acid in plants. Part Ι. Introduction. Naturally occurring galloyl esters. J Chem Soc 1982;11:2515.
5. Nonaka G, et al. A dimeric hydrolyzable tannin, Sanguin H-6 from Sanguisorba officinalis L. Chem Pharm Bull 1982;30(6):2255.
6. Tanaka T, et al. Tannins and related compounds. CXXII. New dimeric, trimeric and tetrameric ellagitannins, lambertianins A-D, from Rubus lambertianus Seringe. Chem Pharm Bull 1993;41(7):1214.
7. Gupta R, et al. The metabolism of gallic acid and hexahydroxydiphenic acid in plants. Part 2. Esters of (S)-hexahydroxydiphenic acid with D-glucopyranose ( 4 C 1 ). J Chem Soc 1982;11:2525.
8. Khabibullaeva L, et al. Phytochemical study of raspberry leaves. Mater Yubileinoi Resp Nauchn Konf Farm 1972;98. Chem Abs 1972;83:4960z.
9. Gudej J, et al. Flavonoid compounds from the leaves of Rubus idaeus L. Herba Pol 1996;42(4):257.
10. Maga J, et al. Bramble leaf volatiles. Dev Food Sci 1992;29:145.
11. Krzaczek T. Phenolic acids in some tannin drugs from the Rosaceae family. Farm Pol 1984;40(8):475. CA 102:146198s.
12. Haslam E, et al. Traditional herbal medicines — the role of polyphenols. Planta Med 1989;55:1.
13. Alonso R, et al. A preliminary study of hypoglycemic activity of Rubus fruticosus . Planta Med 1980;(Suppl):102.
14. Swanston-Flatt S, et al. Traditional plant treatments for diabetes. Studies in normal and streptozotocin diabetic mice. Diabetologia 1990;33(8):462.
15. Briggs CJ, et al. Title unknown. Can Pharm J 1997:41.
16. Simpson M, Parsons M, Greenwood J, Wade K. Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor. J Midwifery Womens Health . 2001;46:51-59.
17. Brinker FJ. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions . 2nd ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications; 1998.
18. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD, eds. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals . London: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.
19. Ernst E. Herbal medicinal products during pregnancy: are they safe? BJOG . 2002;109:227-235.
20. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia . Bournemouth, Dorset: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1990.
21. Blumenthal M, et al. The Complete German Commission E Monographs . Austin, TX: American Botanical Council, 1998.

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