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Raspberry

Medically reviewed on Jun 7, 2018

What is Raspberry?

The cultivated red raspberries R. idaeus (Eurasian) or R. strigosus (North American, also known as R. idaeus var. strigosus) are 2 of many Rubus species worldwide. While the berries are cultivated as food items, the leaves have been used medicinally. Raspberries grow as prickly shrubs with thorny canes bearing 3-toothed leaflets and stalked white flowers with 5 petals. The red berries detach easily from their cores when ripe.

Scientific Name(s)

Rubus idaeus, L. and Rubus Bushii L.H. Bailey, Rubus strigosus Michx., Rubus occidentalis H. Lev.

Common Name(s)

Red raspberry, black raspberry, bokbunja

What is it used for?

Traditional/Ethnobotanical uses

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 heavy menstruation, and to regulate labor pains in childbirth. The Eclectic medical movement used an extract 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. Mongolian herdsmen have used the roots for symptoms of high blood pressure and liver inflammation.

General uses

There is little evidence to support the use of raspberry leaf in pregnancy, menstruation, or during childbirth. Raspberry fruit and leaf extracts have shown activity on cancer cell lines, possibly due to an antioxidant effect; however, no clinical trials exist.

What is the recommended dosage?

Traditional dosages include 5 to 10 mg (1 to 2 tsp) crushed leaf per 240 mL of water up to 6 times per day, or up to 12 g dry leaf. Proven dosage recommendations are lacking.

Contraindications

Contraindications have not yet been identified.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Avoid use during pregnancy because side effects have been documented. Information regarding safety during lactation is lacking. Use of raspberry leaf preparations has been promoted by nurse-midwives for strengthening the womb and shortening the duration of labor. However, there are not enough studies to prove the effectiveness or the safety of this use.

Interactions

None well documented.

Side Effects

Information regarding side effects with the use of raspberry fruit is limited; none were reported in a clinical study evaluating the effect of raspberry tea during pregnancy.

Toxicology

Raspberry leaf; raspberry fruit is considered nontoxic.

References

1. Raspberry. Review of Natural Products. Facts & Comparisons [database online]. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Health Inc; October 2013.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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