Medically reviewed on June 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.
Rubus idaeus, L. and Rubus Bushii L.H. Bailey, Rubus strigosus Michx., Rubus occidentalis H. Lev.
Red raspberry, black raspberry, bokbunja
What is it used for?
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.
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 have not yet been identified.
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.
None well documented.
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.
Raspberry leaf; raspberry fruit is considered nontoxic.