Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

This herbal tea may have laxative properties and could cause loosening of stool in certain people. It may also have a mild diuretic effect and can increase urination ( 7 ).

What to know about red raspberry leaf tea

Red raspberry leaf, or Rubus idaeus folium, refers to an herbal substance containing dried, chopped leaves that a person can prepare into tea. Some evidence suggests the leaves contain bioactive compounds that benefit health. However, further research is still necessary.

Red raspberry leaf tea is a herbal remedy that people have used for centuries to assist with pregnancy, labor, and birth. While many individuals may consider using this beverage to help with the labor process, more research is necessary to understand its effectiveness and whether it provides aid during labor and birth.

As some evidence also notes that the remedy contains vitamins, minerals, and other compounds that may possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, the beverage may also have potential uses beyond pregnancy.

This article explores the potential health benefits of red raspberry leaf tea, possible risks, and how to prepare the tea.

A mug containing red raspberry leaf tea.

Red raspberry leaf contains many nutrients and minerals, including:

Red raspberry leaf also contains molecules known as tannins , natural antioxidants that can protect against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage.

Flavonoids are also present in red raspberry leaf. Flavonoids are natural molecules present in many plants that may have antioxidative, anticarcinogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties. They may also reduce the risk of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.

Red raspberry leaf also contains ellagic acid, which is present in some fruits and vegetables and may possess antioxidant and anticancer properties. It may also help protect the liver.

Some possible benefits of red raspberry leaf tea may include the below.

Labor and pregnancy

While people have used red raspberry leaf to help with pregnancy for years, researchers are still investigating how this herbal remedy may help. Some evidence suggests that in both human and animal studies, the substance may increase blood flow to the uterus and positively affect the smooth muscle. This may help strengthen and tone the uterus, which could assist with contractions and preventing hemorrhage.

Many companies may sell products they call pregnancy tea, which will often contain red raspberry leaf. While more research is necessary, supporters of the herbal remedy suggest people can consume it safely during pregnancy and help a person prepare for birth. It also states that pregnant people can drink 1–3 cups per day safely.

Antioxidant activity

Red raspberry leaf contains vitamin E , tannins, and flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. Antioxidants can help protect against the free radicals that may damage cells and contribute toward the development of diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, red raspberry leave may have some benefits in reducing the risk of these conditions.

An older test-tube study investigating the effect of red raspberry leaves in human laryngeal cancer and colon cancer suggests the leaves may have antioxidant properties and could provide beneficial health effects.

Oral lichen planus

Oral lichen planus is an inflammatory condition that results in inflammation of the mucosal surfaces of the mouth. It results in lesions and ulcers and can be painful.

A small 2015 study found that red raspberry leaf extract helped reduce pain symptoms and ulcers by the end of the trial. Additionally, oral symptoms improved, and the researchers did not observe any adverse effects. This suggests that red raspberry leaf may be beneficial in treating symptoms of oral lichen planus.

Other benefits

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) notes that red raspberry leaf tea may help treat:

  • minor spasms associated with menstrual periods
  • mild mouth inflammation
  • mild throat inflammation
  • mild diarrhea

There is currently a lack of robust research regarding the health benefits of red raspberry leaf. A 2021 integrative systematic review notes that the current evidence to support consuming red raspberry leaf in pregnancy is weak. The review also notes that animal studies indicate raspberry leaf toxicity after animals received injections with large amounts of raspberry leaf extract. However, human studies have not yielded the same effects.

Additionally, red raspberry leaf tea may not be suitable for all pregnant people. In a 2016 case study , a pregnant person with gestational diabetes became hypoglycemic after consuming the tea. Although this was a single case, it highlights the need for more robust research. Other evidence also suggests the tea may not be suitable for:

  • people whose previous labor was 3 or fewer hours
  • people who have had or are planning to have a cesarean delivery
  • those who previously experienced premature labor
  • those with any vaginal bleeding in the second half of the pregnancy
  • people with a family or personal history of breast or ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or fibroids
  • people expecting a baby in the breech position
  • those with any complications or health problems during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure
  • those expecting twins
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At present, evidence suggests 1–3 cups a day of red raspberry leaf tea is a generally safe dose. However, because some evidence indicates the tea may cause contractions, it is not advisable for people to consume the remedy before the third trimester. Additionally, individuals should reduce or stop drinking this tea if they experience strong Braxton-Hicks contractions. The EMA also notes that only adults should consume the tea.

To make a cup of red raspberry leaf tea, a person should first take about 1 teaspoon of crushed or dried raspberry leaves and place it into a cup. They then pour boiling water into the cup and let it steep for at least 5 minutes. They can then drink the tea.

Alternatively, people can follow any instructions on the tea’s packaging or buy red raspberry leaf tea bags, which they can steep in boiling water for 5 minutes before drinking.

Red raspberry leaf tea is an herbal remedy that contains many nutrients, minerals, and other potentially beneficial compounds. Some evidence suggests this remedy may help during pregnancy and labor, although this requires more thorough research. Before consuming red raspberry leaf tea, a person should discuss this with their doctor.

Other research suggests it may also help with menstrual spasms, inflammation, and diarrhea. An individual can prepare red raspberry leaf tea at home with loose leaves or tea bags and boiling water.

Last medically reviewed on September 26, 2021

  • Nutrition / Diet
  • Pregnancy / Obstetrics
  • Complementary Medicine / Alternative Medicine

How we reviewed this article:

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using tertiary references. We link primary sources — including studies, scientific references, and statistics — within each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and current by reading our editorial policy.

  • Assessment report on Rubus idaeus L., folium. (2014).
    https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/documents/herbal-report/final-assessment-report-rubus-idaeus-l-folium_en.pdf
  • Baliga, M. S., et al. (2019). Chapter 7: Phytochemicals in the prevention of ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity: A revisit [Abstract].
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780128144664000070
  • Bowman, R., et al. (2021). Biophysical effects, safety, and efficacy of raspberry leaf use in pregnancy: A systematic integrative review.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7871383/
  • Cheang, K. I., et al. (2016). Raspberry leaf and hypoglycemia in gestational diabetes mellitus [Abstract].
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27824754/
  • Costea, T., et al. (2016). Botanical characterization, phytochemical analysis and antioxidant activity of indigenous red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) leaves.
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/316647753_Botanical_characterization_phytochemical_analysis_and_antioxidant_activity_of_indigenous_red_raspberry_Rubus_Idaeus_L_leaves
  • Durgo, K., et al. (2012). The bioactive potential of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus L.) leaves in exhibiting cytotoxic and cytoprotective activity on human laryngeal carcinoma and colon adenocarcinoma [Abstract].
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22082102/
  • Ferlemi, A.-V., et al. (2016). Berry leaves: An alternative source of bioactive natural products of nutritional and medicinal value.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4931538/
  • Gear, K., et al. (2018). Oral lichen planus.
    https://dermnetnz.org/topics/oral-lichen-planus
  • Herbal teas during pregnancy and breastfeeding. (2021).
    https://www.pregnancybirthbaby.org.au/herbal-teas-during-pregnancy-and-breastfeeding
  • Mallory, J. (2018). Postdates Pregnancy: Red raspberry leaf.
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/red-raspberry-leaf
  • Panche, A. N., et al. (2016). Flavonoids: An overview.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5465813/
  • Rubi idaei folium. (2017).
    https://www.ema.europa.eu/en/medicines/herbal/rubi-idaei-folium
  • Vickers, E. R., et al. (2015). Raspberry leaf herbal extract significantly reduced pain and inflammation in oral lichen planus patients – A case series analysis.
    https://www.hrpub.org/download/20150930/OJDOM3-18004723.pdf
  • Vitamin E. (2021).
    https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminE-HealthProfessional/

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Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Medically reviewed by Kathy W. Warwick, R.D., CDE, Nutrition — By Sasha Santhakumar on September 26, 2021

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Red Raspberry Leaf Tea: Pregnancy, Benefits and Side Effects

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry is a plant native to Europe and parts of Asia and known for its sweet, nutritious berries.

Yet, its leaves are loaded with nutrients as well and often used to make an herbal tea that has medicinal uses.

For centuries, red raspberry leaves have been used to treat various health ailments and induce labor during pregnancy.

This article reviews the health benefits, safety and side effects of red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy and in general.

Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Red raspberry leaves are high in many nutrients and may offer health benefits for pregnant and non-pregnant women alike.

Good Source of Nutrients and Antioxidants

Red raspberry leaves are rich in vitamins and minerals.

They provide B vitamins, vitamin C and a number of minerals, including potassium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus and iron. However, their most notable contribution might be their antioxidant properties (1, 2 ).

Red raspberry leaves contain polyphenols like tannins and flavonoids, which act as antioxidants in your body and can help protect cells from damage.

In addition, the leaves contain small amounts of ellagic acids, which have been shown to neutralize carcinogens and even contribute to the self-destruction of cancer cells ( 2 , 3 ).

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While more research is needed on the cancer-fighting potential of red raspberry leaves, current results are promising.

In any case, the leaves’ nutrient profile make red raspberry leaf tea a healthy choice.

May Be Especially Beneficial for Women

Red raspberry leaf tea is especially popular due to its possible benefits for pregnant women. However, it seems to help women in general.

In fact, it’s often referred to as the woman’s herb.

Some research supports the anecdotal evidence of women saying that the leaves help relieve premenstrual symptoms (PMS), such as cramping, vomiting, nausea and diarrhea ( 2 , 4 ).

Red raspberry leaves contain fragarine, a plant compound that helps tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, which may reduce the menstrual cramping caused by the spasms of these muscles ( 4 ).

While there is currently no specific recommendation on the quantity to drink, sipping on some red raspberry leaf tea may relieve some of the discomforts of your menstrual cycle.

What’s more, one ounce (28 grams) of red raspberry leaves pack 3.3 mg of iron, which is 18% of the recommended daily intake (RDI) for women aged 19–50. Getting enough iron can combat the anemia often experienced by women with heavy menstrual cycles ( 2 , 5).

Summary

Rich in nutrients and antioxidants, red raspberry leaf tea may offer health and nutrition benefits and help relieve premenstrual symptoms.

Herbal teas have been used by midwives throughout history to help with some of the negative symptoms associated with pregnancy and labor.

One study evaluated the use of herbal remedies in 600 pregnant women. It showed that 52% of women regularly used some kind of herbal remedy and 63% of women had tried red raspberry leaf tea ( 6 ).

While red raspberry leaf tea is typically recommended for the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, some women use the herbal remedy to help with nausea and vomiting in the first trimester as well (5).

Red raspberry leaf tea has also been used to strengthen the uterus, improve labor outcome and prevent excessive bleeding after childbirth.

May Help Shorten Labor

Many women claim that red raspberry leaf tea helps shorten labor.

The fragarine compound found in red raspberry leaves is known to help tone and tighten muscles in the pelvic area, including the walls of your uterus, which can help make delivery easier ( 4 ).

A study of 108 women showed that those who drank red raspberry leaf tea in the last stage of pregnancy had a shorter first stage of labor ( 7 ).

The study was repeated a year later among 192 women. It showed that red raspberry leaf tea did not shorten the first stage of labor but did shorten the second stage by an average of 9.59 minutes ( 8 ).

Reduce Interventions and Complications of Childbirth

There is some evidence to show that drinking red raspberry leaf tea may allow for a labor with fewer complications.

One study found that women who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor ( 7 ).

Similarly, another study showed an 11% decreased use of forceps during birth for women who consumed red raspberry leaf tea in the last eight weeks of pregnancy ( 8 ).

The American Pregnancy Association also states that drinking the tea may reduce the need for interventions during childbirth (9).

It’s thought that an easier labor with fewer interventions could decrease the amount of bleeding in the postpartum state ( 4 ).

Summary

Red raspberry leaf tea may help strengthen your uterine walls, decrease labor time and reduce the use of birthing interventions.

Red raspberry leaf tea appears to be safe for most people.

When side effects appear, they tend to be mild. However, they’re still important to consider.

This herbal tea may have laxative properties and could cause loosening of stool in certain people. It may also have a mild diuretic effect and can increase urination ( 7 ).

It’s important to consult with your doctor before consuming it.

Research suggests that the most optimal time to start drinking red raspberry leaf tea is at 32 weeks gestation. One study showed that taking 2.4 mg per day of red raspberry leaf in tablet form appears to be safe. As a tea, 1–3 cups per day are appropriate ( 8 ).

It’s recommended to limit your intake to 1 cup per day if you choose to consume it earlier in pregnancy.

If you experience Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy or have spotting in the second or third trimesters, you should discontinue use.

Summary

Red raspberry leaf tea appears to be safe for most people if taken in the appropriate dose. As with any herbal remedy, you should first consult with your doctor.

Red raspberry leaf tea may strengthen the uterine walls and decrease labor time in pregnant woman and relieve premenstrual symptoms in women in general.

For most people, it appears to be safe to drink 1–3 cups per day, though intake should be limited to 1 cup during early pregnancy.

Its nutrients and antioxidants might provide a boost to health for both men and women.

While more research needs to be done to fully understand all of red raspberry leaf tea’s positive attributes, it appears to be safe for most.

If you are willing to try an herbal remedy, red raspberry leaf tea might be for you.

How we reviewed this article:

Our experts continually monitor the health and wellness space, and we update our articles when new information becomes available.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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