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Health Benefits of Raspberry Leaf Tea


Raspberry leaf tea, which is made by infusing fresh or dried leaves of the red raspberry plant in hot water, has been used by folk healers and practitioners of herbal medicine to treat everything from menstrual cramps, heavy periods and fertility problems to diarrhea, fever and bleeding gums. This caffeine-free herbal infusion has also developed a reputation as a uterine relaxant, and pregnant women in some parts of Europe have been using raspberry leaf tea during their pregnancies, hoping that it will shorten labor.

In recent years, also the scientific community has begun to show interest in the potential health benefits of raspberry leaf tea, and research now suggests that some of the claims made about medicinal properties of red raspberry leaf tea may in fact have some truth to them.


Raspberry Leaf Tea as a Remedy for Diarrhea

Raspberry leaf tea has been traditionally used to treat diarrhea, dysentery and incontinence due to its purported astringent qualities, and now there seems to be at least some evidence to support the use of raspberry leaf tea to treat these ailments. A Polish study published in 2004 found that raspberry leaves are a rich source of tannins, phytochemicals that are known for their ability to treat acute diarrhea.


Use of Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy

There is a widespread belief among pregnant women that drinking raspberry leaf tea or taking raspberry leaf capsules during the third trimester of pregnancy can shorten labor and make labor easier. However, results of modern studies investigating the effects of raspberry leaf extracts on labor have been mixed: A study published in the Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health in 2001 found that women who took raspberry leaf tablets regularly towards the end of pregnancy had a shorter second stage of labor. They were also less likely to have a delivery assisted with forceps. Another study, published in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice in 2011, found a link between consumption of raspberry leaf tea and an increased risk of cesarean delivery.


Strong Antioxidant Properties

Raspberry Leaf Tea

The amazing health benefits of green tea have been largely attributed to its extremely strong antioxidant properties. But for those who try to avoid caffeine, drinking green tea may be a no go. But there's good news: raspberry leaf tea, which is naturally free of caffeine, also has very strong antioxidant properties. A study published in the Czech Journal of Food Sciences found that a water extract of raspberry leaves ranked forth out of seventeen tested herbal and berry extracts in terms of antioxidant activity, as measured by DPPH free radical scavenging ability. The antioxidant activities of the raspberry leaf extract were even stronger than those of thyme, rosehip, nettle flower, mint leaf, elderflower, linden flower, and chamomile flower extracts. They did not, however, exceed the in-vitro antioxidant powers of green tea, oregano, wild strawberry leaf and blackberry leaf extracts.


Raspberry Leaves Contain Ellagic Acid, an Anti-Cancer Compound

You may have already heard of ellagic acid, a powerful compound that has been shown to neutralize carcinogens, boost the immune system, and induce apoptosis (self-destruction) of cancerous cells. The juicy fruits of raspberry, strawberry, and blackberry plants are perhaps the most famous dietary sources of ellagic acid, but research suggests that also the leaves of these plants contain significant levels of this potent anti-cancer compound. However, clinical trials assessing the potential anti-cancer effects of raspberry leaf tea per se are still lacking.


Where to Buy Raspberry Leaf Tea

If you're lucky, you may be able to find pure raspberry leaf tea at your local supermarket. However, most of the time dried raspberry leaves are included in herbal tea blends designed for pregnant, women rather than sold unblended. If you can't find pure raspberry leaf tea in the shops in your area, or just like the convenience of online shopping, check out the assortment of herbal raspberry leaf teas on Amazon here ( if you live in the US) or here ( if you live in the UK).


References
J. Gudej and M. Tomczyk (2004). Determination of Flavonoids, Tannins, and Ellagic Acid in Leaves from Rubus L. Species. Arch Pharm Res, vol 27, No 11, 1114-1119.
M. Simpson et al (2001). Raspberry Leaf in Pregnancy: Its Safety and Efficacy in Labor. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health, 46(2), 51-59.
H. Nordeng et al (2011). Use of herbal drugs during pregnancy among 600 Norwegian women in relation to concurrent use of conventional drugs and pregnancy outcome. Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, 17(3), 147-151.
L. Burikova and Zuzana Reblova (2008). Czech Medicinal Plants as Possible Sources of Antioxidants. Czech Journal of Food Sciences, 26: 132-138.




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