Red Raspberry

Rubus idaeus


Wild red raspberry will lure you to all kinds of beautiful and interesting places if you allow your wild heart to heed its call. A storehouse of nutrients and a tonic for the entire body, raspberry leaves and berries nourish the whole family.

Pregnant women all over the world rely on red raspberry leaves as an ally. An infusion of dried red raspberry leaves sipped in the morning helps allay and relieve morning sickness. Doing as my mother told me, I sipped warm or cold infusion slowly and nibbled a cracker any morning I felt queasy. It worked! Red raspberry supports healthy and efficient functioning of the uterus, so pregnant women use it to strengthen and tone the uterus in preparation for childbirth.

Raspberry leaf infusion, drunk regularly especially during the last trimester, helps insure an easy, uncomplicated delivery. I gave birth to all four of my children at home, in the comforting presence of my mate, my children and a skilled midwife. I drank red raspberry leaf tea freely throughout my pregnancies and none of labors lasted longer than three hours. All were happy, fun and memorable events.

The high calcium content of red raspberry leaves helps nourish the nervous system and relieve pain. To help prevent pain while in light labor, wise women drink dried leaf infusion or suck on ice cubes made from it. Nourishing red raspberry is a reliable fertility enhancer, combining well with red clover blossoms, lady's mantle or wild grape.

Red raspberry leaves have a well-deserved reputation as a superior woman's tonic due to their high content of fragrine, an alkaloid that strengthens the entire pelvic area, including the ovaries. It's tonifying for the male reproductive organs too. In France, raspberry is used as a tonic for the prostate gland.

Loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, selenium, phosphorus and potassium, red raspberry leaves also brim with vitamins B, C, A and E, and are a storehouse of nutrients and a nourishing tonic.

The abundant calcium in red raspberry leaves also helps mend bones and strengthen hair, teeth and nails. We drink raspberry leaf infusion to prevent osteoporosis and ensure our children's teeth grow strong.

Astringent raspberry helps control excessive menstrual bleeding. It was used interchangeably with blackberry by the ancient Greeks, Chinese, Ayurvedics and First Nations people as a treatment for wounds and as a remedy for relieving diarrhea and dysentery. Chippewa traditionally heal cataracts using an infusion of raspberry root bark as a wash over the eye three times daily. The Dine apply a poultice of the leaves over a "displaced" womb.

An infusion of dried leaves, or 20 drops of tincture of the fresh leaf diluted in water, makes a mouthwash. I've used it to overcome canker sores, mouth ulcers and bleeding gums. I've also called upon the infusion as a gargle to soothe an irritated throat.

One animal study indicates that red raspberry helps reduce blood sugar, suggesting that it may be useful in the management of diabetes.

The fruits are nourishing and tonifying, and in large amounts can be laxative and diaphoretic. They help ease the pain of rheumatism and indigestion. Raspberry juice is a cooling remedy for fevers.

The young shoots in spring are used to make a gemmotherapy elixir. Indications for use include all female hormone and regenerative organ issues from puberty through menopause, including the relief of menstrual cramping and regulating the force of contractions during labor.

Flower Essence Red raspberry flower essence awakens one’s ability to extend kindness and to act with compassion. It helps us release emotional wounds, bitterness, resentment, sadness and grief.

Magical Lore Perhaps because the fruits contain many seeds, this plant has long been associated with fertility magic. The dried fruits and leaves are kept in a magical bag to enhance the strength of the regenerative organs.

Steep the berries in wine and offer to a lover to strengthen the relationship. When grown near a home or business red raspberry offers protection and prosperity.

Culture The bright green raspberry bushes with bristly stems grow 2 to 6 feet high in clear cuts, wooded areas and field edges. The leaves are toothed, divided into three to five pointed leaflets, bright green on top and white underneath. They have a distinctive aroma, the essence of astringency, which becomes even more pronounced as the leaves dry.

Red raspberry leaves are medicinally active any time they're green and vibrant. I've found no need to wear gloves when gathering red raspberry. They really aren't all that prickly, not at all like their cousin, the blackberry, which can tear your hand off!

I lay red raspberry leaves on screens in a dry airy place, turning them once or twice a day to help speed the drying process. They make a delicious breakfast tea. I tincture freshly gathered leaves in alcohol, or infuse them in honey or vinegar.

We make lots of trips down our woods trail to gather bright-red, juicy raspberries when they ripen in July. We eat them fresh off the bushes, bake them in pie, make fruit leather or dry them to put on our morning cereal.

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