Latin name: Rubus idaeus
Common name(s): Raspberry, Red Raspberry
Plant Family: Rosaceae
Plant type: Shrub
Planetary Association: Venus, Moon, Water Element
Habitat: Native to Europe and northern Asia. Raspberry likes to grow in open clearings and under the tree canopy.
Parts used: Leaf & Berry. Harvest the leaves before the flowers & fruit appear.
Folklore: There are stories of Raspberry Leaf getting its name from Mount Ida- Ida was also the name of the nursemaid to Zeus. Some say that the berry used to be white in color, until Ida pricked her finger on one of the thorns; and her blood turned the berry red. The species name idaeus comes from Ida; and the latin name means “bramble bush of Ida.”
Constituents: Flavonoids (antioxidants) Quercetin & Kaempherol. Tannins, Fruit sugars, polypeptides, volatile oil, pectin. Vitamins A, B, C, E. Iron & calcium.
Leaf - Uterine tonic, Astringent, Partus preparator, Nutritive, anti-diarrheal, digestive tonic, galactagogue
Fruit - laxative, diuretic, diaphoretic
Taste: Sweet, slightly sour
The astringent action particularly affects the mucous membranes of the body. Raspberry leaf infusions and poultices can be used for various mouth complaints. From canker sores, thrush, bleeding gums, gum disease and the common cold. Using a strong tea as a mouthwash or gargle for these conditions.
Our digestive system is lined with mucous membranes. Having an intact and healthy “inner skin” is paramount to proper absorption, assimilation and gastrointestinal (GI) health. Raspberry leaf can be used when there are loose stools. The astringent action helps tighten the junction between cells, allowing the body to balance water and hold it in the tissues. This plant is especially useful for children's diarrhea, as it is gentle and nutritive. Raspberry leaf is not a herb to turn to if someone has a GI infection causing diarrhea; that is a biological purging response to get the germs out, and we want to support that process with antimicrobial herbs rather than astringents. However, Raspberry leaf is a great ally for those with IBS, chronic loose stools and as an adjuvant to leaky gut protocols.
Raspberry leaf is a uterine tonic meaning that it tones the uterus. Although there are few scientific studies backing up this claim; we do have records of traditional use dating 2000 years back. Again we see the astringent action as toning the muscles of the uterus, decreasing menstrual pain. Think of this action as “that which strengthens” & “absorbs superfluous humidity” (Tobyn et al. 2016). Astringency is not only tightening; it is helping the physical tissues of the body get stronger therefore helping the tissues keep moisture and water where it is supposed to be. In the case of menstrual cramps, toning the muscle means it is less likely to have spasmodic contractions (period cramps) during the cycle. Raspberry leaf can also be used for folks who have a heavy flow, especially when there is low iron due to the heavy bleeding. To get the most out of this plant, take it throughout the month, you will be pleasantly surprised when your moon time comes around!
People have been using Raspberry leaf to support pregnancy for millenia. Today herbalists recommend that pregnant people use Raspberry leaf in the second and third trimesters. The eclectics used Raspberry during labor frequently; they said it lessens early labor pains and it is helpful in untimely contractions, also preventing hemorrhages. Raspberry leaf is a galactagogue; meaning it stimulates the flow of milk. This can be especially useful in the early stages of breastfeeding.
Tincture - 2-4 ml three times daily (1:5 40%)
Tea - 2 tsp of herb per cup of tea, can be drunk freely (12-24g /day)
Cautions: Do not use in the first trimester of pregnancy; monitor use in the 2nd and 3rd trimester.
Energetic Signature: Affinity to the GI, uterus, mucous membranes
Traditional Ecological Knowledge: Many North American Indigenous people used Raspberry interchangeably with other brambles like Blackberry and Salmonberry. The Rubus idaeus species is much less common than other brambles in North America.
Hunter, C. (2008, October 17). Raspberry history, folklore, myth, and Magic. The Practical Herbalist. Retrieved January 13, 2023, from https://thepracticalherbalist.com/advanced-herbalism/raspberry-myth-and-magic/
Pojar, J., & MacKinnon, A. (2016). Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon, British Columbia & Alaska. Lone Pine Publishing.
Popham , S. (n.d.). School Of Evolutionary Herbalism . Lecture.
Tobyn, G., Denham, A., & Whitelegg, M. (2016). The Western Herbal Tradition: 2000 years of Medicinal Plant Knowledge. Singing Dragon.