Is there anything cozier than a big mug of steaming hot tea as the weather gets cooler? One thing I love about fall is that it’s a time to slow down and make room to enjoy the small, simple things like a tasty cup of tea on a cool, crisp evening. What’s not so cozy: when you get miserable menstrual cramps that show up monthly, no matter the time of year. Enter: red raspberry leaf tea. This herbal remedy has long been used in traditional medicine to help support a wide array of women’s health issues. It’s a go-to of mine and an easy one to stock in your cupboard for the next time you’re curled up in bed with cramps.
If you haven’t already, make sure you’ve downloaded my PMS Meal Plan to help with your PMS symptoms!
Here’s everything you need to know about one of my favourite herbs and cramp remedies, Red Raspberry Leaf.
What is Red Raspberry Leaf?
Like its name suggests, red raspberry leaf tea is made from the leaves of the raspberry plant. While the leaves don’t have the delicious fruity taste of the actual raspberry. They do have an impressive array of nutrients & compounds that make them super beneficial for our health. When steeped in hot water, the result is a soothing tea, similar in taste to a black tea like orange pekoe but caffeine-free and with a tangy twist.
This herb can be brewed hot or cold. It comes in loose tea as well as in tea bags – I love these tea bags from Traditional Medicinals. You can also find it at your local grocery or health food store. Always read the label to ensure that you are buying organic red raspberry leaves, and not a mixture with other herbs or additives.
The Woman’s Herb
While raspberry leaf tea can be of benefit to everybody. It has been used for thousands of years to treat female issues specifically. Also known as “the woman’s herb,” red raspberry leaf tea is naturally high in vitamins and minerals we need for female health. Nutrients including: magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, and vitamins B, A, C, and E. These vitamins and minerals are in a readily absorbable form. This makes it an incredible way to supplement a balanced diet during preconception, pregnancy and beyond. The nutritional boost that raspberry leaf tea gives you can help improve your immune system as well. Talk about plant power!
Raspberry leaf is historically known for its benefits during the last trimester of pregnancy. Its nutrient profile makes it an excellent choice for women at any stage of life as it helps support female health in many ways. Three common uses of red raspberry leaf tea include PMS & cramps, pregnancy & labour and postpartum support.
As always, if you’re adding an herb or supplement to your health routine, please talk to a qualified practitioner. Your sensitivity to certain supplements may vary. If you are currently pregnant, please avoid any herbs unless you’ve spoken to a qualified practitioner.
Red Raspberry Leaf for PMS & Cramps
The tannins in raspberry leaves, make this herb astringent, which basically means it helps to tone and tighten tissue. The toning effect of raspberry leaf tea on the uterus has been shown to help relieve cramping during menses. One study published in Planta Medica found that ingredients in red raspberry leaf, including fragarine, help to tighten muscles in the pelvic region. This results in a decreased sensation of cramps. Researchers also found that the plant may help to alleviate other menstrual symptoms including nausea.
As if that wasn’t impressive enough, the high iron content in raspberry leaves might also benefit women during their periods. Women who experience heavy periods are more susceptible to anemia, which is a condition characterized by low levels of iron. Increasing your iron intake can combat the risk of anemia and prevent side effects such as fatigue and irritability.
In addition to Red Raspberry Leaf, adjusting your diet throughout the month is another great way to help reduce PMS symptoms.
TIP: To support your menstrual health & alleviate pain from cramps, try adding in 2-3 cups of raspberry leaf tea daily while you’re bleeding.
While you’re trying out Red Raspberry Leaf Tea for your PMS, make sure you’ve also downloaded my PMS meal plan!
Final Trimester of Pregnancy & Labour
Red raspberry leaf tea is often used by midwives and other healthcare practitioners during pregnancy to strengthen and tone the uterus in your final trimester. Additionally, the high level of B vitamins present in the tea make it useful for relieving nausea, soothing leg cramps, and improving sleep – all symptoms that tend to increase during pregnancy!
Red raspberry leaf tea is also used to shorten the duration of labour. Thanks to its strengthening effect on uterus and pelvic muscles, some midwives say that it leads to shorter and easier labours. Research on this topic has shown mixed results, and more studies are needed to guarantee its effect on labour duration.
Lastly, there is research that shows drinking red raspberry leaf tea may help to decrease complications during childbirth. This herbal tea works to strengthen uterine muscles and may help prevent complications such as eclampsia. It may also 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
TIP: if you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, talk to your midwife, naturopath or holistic nutritionist about incorporating red raspberry leaf tea into your daily routine! Always consult a healthcare practitioner before consuming any herbal supplement during pregnancy. If you experience cramping or any other side effects, either discontinue use or reduce your intake.
Red Raspberry Leaf for Postpartum Support
One important area of women’s health that tends to slip through the cracks is postpartum health! Giving birth and taking care of a newborn is serious work. This is such an important transitional time in your life. Treating yourself little self-care during this time means that you’ll be better equipped to handle your little one in a healthy, positive way. Incorporating red raspberry leaf tea into your daily routine is a self-care tip worth trying. Red Raspberry Leaf has been shown to help restore your uterus, rebalance your hormones, shorten postpartum bleeding time and help bring in breast milk.
TIP: if you’re struggling with postpartum bleeding, hormonal imbalance or diminished milk stores. Talk to your healthcare practitioner about adding in a cup or two of red raspberry leaf tea into your daily routine. Take the time to prioritize YOU, because you deserve it as much as baby does too.