Raspberry Leaf Tea: Benefits, Side Effects, and Flavor Profile
Raspberry leaf tea is a popular herbal remedy for women. It's been used for centuries as an herb to help improve women's health and decrease problems associated with menstruation and pregnancy.
Today, medical research on the benefits of red raspberry leaf is still ongoing. Some research indicates the herb and its tea form may be beneficial for human health. Read on to find out more about this tasty herbal tea and its health benefits.
What Is Red Raspberry Leaf Tea?
Raspberry leaf is known as a woman's herb. It has been researched for years and demonstrated some potential health benefits when it comes to women's health.
The herbal tea is made from the leaves of the raspberry plant known by the botanical name Rubus idaeus. The plant is widely cultivated in European countries and the Americas and wild plants can be found in rocky, mountainous regions. Raspberry leaves are characterized by a slightly silver lining that features delicate hairs.
This tea can be brewed using fresh raspberry elves from your organic garden. You can also find loose leaf tea packages and tea bags to make brewing simpler and faster. The tea can be purchased online, in grocery stores, and at local health food stores.
The flavor of raspberry leaf tea is similar to a fruity black tea such as Earl Grey. It boasts a full body and notes of fruity and earthy tastes. This herbal tisane features a flavor profile similar to rose hips and hibiscus tea. It is slightly sweeter and bolder than chamomile tea.
Health Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea
Packed With Nutrients
Red raspberry leaf tea contains vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to human health, the immune system, and cellular processes. Red raspberry leaves contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and B vitamins. These vitamins help support health by preventing oxidative stress and improving cellular processes such as energy expenditure (1). The leaves also contain calcium, magnesium, and potassium. These minerals help to promote healthy digestion and strong bones.
In addition, raspberry leaf tea contains antioxidants known as polyphenols and tannins. These antioxidants help protect against free radicals that can cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the human body's form of rust and can cause a host of issues from increased risk of serious disease to premature aging (2).
May Reduce Menstrual Cramps
Red raspberry leaves are chock full of fragarine — a compound that is known to inhibit uterine activity (3). This can be beneficial for people who have difficulty controlling bowel movements and urination. In particular, the herb is used by pregnant women to reduce the frequent urge to urinate.
A study published in Planta Medica found that ingredients in red raspberry leaf including fragarine help to tighten muscles in the pelvic region. This can result in a decreased sensation of cramps and the urge to pee (4). Researchers also found that plant may help to alleviate other menstrual symptoms including nausea.
Raspberry leaves also contain iron, which may have benefits during menstruation (5). Women who experience heavy periods are more susceptible to anemia. Increasing iron intake can combat this increased risk and prevent side effects such as fatigue and irritability.
May Shorten Labor
Midwives and alternative health practitioners use raspberry leaf tea to shorten the duration of labor. The idea is that compounds such as fragarine help to strengthen the pelvic area and lead to an easier labor.
Research published in the Austrian College of Midwives Incorporated Journal examined the impacts of red raspberry leaf on labor. The study consisted of a total of 108 mothers who were divided into two groups: an experimental group who took red raspberry leaf and a control group.
Researchers found that the participants who took raspberry leaf had a decreased risk of artificial rupture of their membranes and were less likely to require a C-section. Additionally, the results showed a decrease in preterm labor and a shorter labor duration overall (6).
A second study published in the Journal of Midwifery and Women's Health found that red raspberry leaf tea did not decrease the time of first-stage labor. It had some moderate improvements in shortening the duration of second-stage labor. The researchers concluded that more studies are needed to investigate and establish the benefits of this tea on labor duration (7).
May Decrease Childbirth Risks
Some research shows that drinking red raspberry leaf tea may help to decrease complications during childbirth. The uterine tonic works to strengthen uterine muscles and may help prevent complications such as eclampsia. Research shows that taking red raspberry leaf may reduce the risk of needing forceps during childbirth. Overall, the tea may also reduce the risk of interventions during the childbirth process. This allows for a more natural birth and decreases the chance of serious problems such as excessive bleeding (8).
Side Effects of Raspberry Leaf Tea
Raspberry leaf tea is considered safe for moderate consumption among the general population. Most experts, including the American Pregnancy Association, agree that the tea is safe to consume, but it's important to note that the FDA has not approved the tea as a treatment for any health problems (9).
It's important to talk to a healthcare professional before consuming red raspberry leaf tea. A healthcare provider can help you understand potential side effects including medication interactions. The beverage has a few side effects that are worth noting.
Braxton Hicks Syndrome
Anecdotal evidence shows that drinking red raspberry leaf tea may increase the risk of Braxton Hicks in pregnant women. Braxton Hicks contractions occur as early as the second trimester but are more common in the third trimester.
The contractions occur in the uterus and can last anywhere from 30 seconds to two minutes. They are irregular, infrequent, and cause uncomfortable pain. They are not real contractions and are often referred to as "false labor". If it's your first pregnancy, you may experience these contractions more frequently.
To encourage contractions and induce childbirth, some midwives recommend drinking the tea two weeks before your due date. Avoid drinking the tea during early pregnancy — in the first trimester — as the uterine strengthening properties may increase the risk of miscarriage.
Red raspberry tea has natural laxative properties that can cause digestive upset. Taking high doses of the plant as a supplement or drinking too many cups of the tea can cause problems including diarrhea and vomiting. Limit intake to one or two cups of red raspberry leaf tea per day.
Drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea
The jury is out on whether red raspberry leaf tea is effective as a women’s herb. however, the leaves are packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for human health. Plus, the tea has a tasty fruity and bold flavor that makes it the perfect afternoon cup of tea. Drink this herbal tea for its delicious flavor and toast to your health.