Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf - Benefits, how to drink, how much to drink, and more!Red Raspberry Leaf tea (Rubus idaeus) is an herbal tea made from you guessed it, the leaves of the raspberry plant. Do not confuse this with the raspberry flavored tea that you see in stores all the time; it is NOT the same. Red Raspberry Leaf has been used for centuries for many aliments but it is most known for its use by women. It’s particularly beneficial for pregnant women; however, it is also great for non-pregnant women who have heavy or irregular menstrual cycles.



Benefits for Pregnant Women:

Relieves nausea

Tones the uterus, which makes contractions more effective thus making labor easier and potentially less painful. (note: it will not induce labor. It only makes labor more effective once it has already begun)

Increases milk supply

Helps bring the uterus back to it’s usual size after delivery

Less post-partum bleeding and can help prevent hemorrhage


Benefits for Non-Pregnant Women:

Regulates menstrual cycle

Can decrease heavy cycles

Aids against PMS


Red Raspberry Leaf is high in the following nutrients:

Calcium
Iron
Magnesium
Manganese
Niacin
Selenium
Vitamin A
Vitamin C

How much to drink:

For Pregnant Women:
General rule of thumb is 1 cup a day per trimester (2 cups in the 2nd trimester, 3 cups in the third trimester) It should be noted that some believe that drinking Red Raspberry Leaf in the 1st trimester may cause miscarriage, (this is based on an old study that from what I've researched is faulty). However, to be on the safe side you can simply not drinking it until you are in your 2nd trimester. Although it also should be noted that Red Raspberry Leaf tea is also said to help prevent miscarriage and helps relieve morning sickness and is thus prescribed to many mothers in the first trimester. You will have to decide which side you lean towards reguarding RRLT safety in the first trimester. Red Raspberry Leaf is also great to drink during labor. It will not only hydrate you but it will also help keep your uterus working efficiently. Many women like to make the tea into ice chips even.

For Non-Pregnant Women:
Drink 2-3 cups a day. In 2-3 months you should see results.

Where to Buy:

There are a few forms of Red Raspberry Leaf: pre-bagged tea, loose leaf, and even capsules.

Pre-bagged:
Many grocery stores are now carrying Red Raspberry Leaf tea in their “natural” sections. Make sure that the box says Red Raspberry Leaf or Raspberry Leaf. You want the word “Leaf” if not you are probably just getting the Raspberry flavored tea, which tastes better but will not do anything. While buying from a local store is convenient it will cost you more, especially since you will be drinking a ton of this tea! So I recommend buying it online through Amazon or vitacost.com for the best price, especially if you buy it in bulk.

Loose Leaf:
Loose Leaf is by far the best way to buy tea. It is also the cheapest way. Loose Leaf you buy by the pound. 1 pound of leaves will make 100-200 cups of tea! I just bought 2 lbs (400 cups) for only $25 including shipping. There’s no way you’d get anywhere near 400 cups for that price if you were buying pre-bagged. I prefer to buy my loose leaf tea from Mountain Rose Herbs or Amazon.

Capsules:
This really just turns Red Raspberry Leaf into your “vitamin”. Buy a bottle of pills from a natural store or online and take as directed.

How to Make:

Pre-bagged: Just make as you would normal tea. Boil 1 cup water, drop in one tea bag and let steep for about 10-20 minutes.

Loose Leaf: Boil 1 cup water, add 1-2 teaspoons of leaves, and let steep for 10-20 minutes. Remove leaves by straining through muslin.

The tea can also be made in large batches so that you can have it as “iced tea”. Just multiply the recipe and once cool put the tea in the fridge.

Tips for Sweetening:

Many people can drink tea without any sweeteners, however if you are like me you will need something sweet in your tea. Since I’m drinking multiple cups of tea a day, I didn’t really want to go with my usual sugar route; that adds up to a lot of sugar for me! Here are some sweetener ideas that are a bit better for you then sugar.

Unsweetened Juice
Natural Sweeteners – Agave, Honey, Stevia
Smoothies –1-cup tea with frozen fruit blended. Doesn’t taste quite as good as a normal smoothie but it’s a great way of getting your fruit in and not using a sweetener for your tea.

Edit to add - I have now had baby #3 and I can say that my labor was definitely quicker this time. Now some of that probably has to do with the fact that this was also my second labor and not my first. However, I wasn't expecting it to be this much of an improvement! My first labor was 30 hours. Therefore I was expecting this labor to be 15 maybe 10 hours (10 if I was incredibly lucky). This time, it was only 6 hours and I only pushed for 3 minutes! Wow! Quite impressive! So will I be drinking Red Raspberry Leaf tea with my next pregnancy? You bet! Besides I've grown fond of drinking multiple cups of it everyday.

Another Edit: I have now had baby #4 and drank RRLT from the very beginning and at a higher dose (because I had never stopped drinking it after baby #3 so my body was used to multiple cups a day) Baby #4 was my first non-pitocin birth so early labor took longer but RRLT is supposedly for the active labor stage and transition. That I can attest to going very quickly! With baby # 3 (as you can see above) my active labor to birth was about 6 hours on pitocin. WIth baby #4 my active labor to birth was  4 hours, transition was only 1 of those hours and pushing was probably 3 minutes or less. Labor was very easy and "do-able".










18 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing this! My midwife just suggested I start drinking this tea, but her information wasn't this in depth. Thanks :-)

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  2. Thanks to your post, I recently bought a box of this to try and will be buying a bagged of the loose leaf tea soon. I got a box of the Yogi brand - do you think the loose leaf you bought tastes fairly similar to bagged? (I'm asking after seeing some reviews for the loose leaf on vitacost saying it had a lot of twigs, etc, in it...) I also got a box for a neighbor who has very heavy and problematic periods, so hopefully it will help some w/ her, too. (And thanks for your vitacost referral!)

    I'm curious if you can tell me where to find more info about using it (or not) in the first trimester. We've been TTC and actually just had a miscarriage this past week, unfortunately. I had the tea already but was *not* drinking it yet b/c you mentioned that some think it can cause/encourage miscarriage in the first trimester. I just want to look into that a bit more. I'm drinking some now while we're waiting to try again, though. (My 12-y-o son tried some last night when he saw me drinking it, and he loved it. It was kind of funny telling him what it was for.. Ha. But he didn't mind and just wanted to keep drinking my tea!) Thanks for this post. I've also shared your post w/ an ICAN yahoo group I'm in after someone asked about drinking it to help w/ her upcoming VBAC. Great information!

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    Replies
    1. Daisy - First off, I am so sorry you had a miscarriage. That is something nobody should have to go through.

      Yogi was what I bought as my "trial" tea when I first started RRLT. As long as you get red raspberry leaf (as opposed to just red raspberry) it all tastes the same - bagged or loose. Loose leaf does tend to have a few stems and twigs thrown in but pre-bagged probably does as well, it's just that pre-bagged is a finer grind. In any, case it doesn't effect the taste, least not that I can notice.

      As for more info on the 1st trimester and RRLT...I'll have to get back to you. I'm just about to head out the door and I want to be able to give you all the info I have. :) I personally, have come to believe that it's safe during 1st trimester (given that the person is not prone to uterine issues) if you start out slowly. No body should start chugging 3 cups a day from the get go but especially in the 1st trimester I think. I know my OB recommends RRLT for morning sickness (and that is obviously in the 1st trimester) so she has come to believe it safe enough. Even my old prenatal had RRLT in them. :) But of course, you don't just want to go by what others do, so I'll dig up that info for you and post back in a day or so.

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    2. Here's on site that I found helpful:http://dherbs.com/articles/red-raspberry-leaf-pregnancy-392.html

      To be honest with you, I keep looking for sites with any sort of studies, proof, anything other then just the "it's been said to..." on RRLT causing miscarriages and I can't find any.

      I think if, IF there is any link to RRLT and miscarriages it would be that RRLT doesn't cause them but IF they do happen that RRLT helps them go quicker and with less bleeding. Here is a link that mentions why the notion of RRLT and miscarriage is out there and why it is faulty: http://www.motherandchildhealth.com/Prenatal/raspberry.html

      RRLT doesn't cause contractions which is why it's never recommended as a labor inducer so I can't see why it would cause a miscarriage.

      Oddly I did come across a few sites stating that RRLT helps prevent miscarriage. (but of course as I'm typing this now, I can't find them..but maybe it's just too late for my brain to remember where they are)

      Hope this helps you.

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    3. Brittany - Thank you so much for all of the information and links. (My mom came to visit us for a while after the MS, and I have just taken "time off" from most things for the last couple weeks, so I haven't been online much to reply sooner.) I'll be checking it all out asap, but it does seem like it should be fine to drink earlier on. I do recall now seeing that my prenatals have some RRL in them, too - just hadn't thought about that and connected the two. ;) I've been drinking a cup a day since the MS and am about to place an order for a bag of loose leaf b/c I need more!! Thanks again - for the info and for your kind words. I really appreciate it!!

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  3. Am I able to dehydrate the leaves off of my raspberry bushes and get the same results or is this a special raspberry? :)

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    1. Amy - You can definitely dehydrate your own raspberry leaves! You might want to do a bit of research as I feel like somewhere I read about when the best time is to harvest the leaves but otherwise it's just picking, washing, and dehydrating. Of course, make sure you do not use any pesticide or chemicals on your raspberry bushes. You wouldn't want to make chemical RRLT.

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  4. Awesome! Thanks for the info! :)

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  5. oh my gosh - awesome. I would really love to avoid pushing for 4 hours next time I have a baby - so I'm definitely going to look into this!
    -Arielle

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    1. It's great stuff Arielle. It's particularly best for the second stage of labor (not so much for the early stuff from what I hear, although I'm sure it still helps) I love the tea! I kept drinking after #3 and so I'm just continuing on (although I eased up on the amount of cups I was drinking in the 1st trimester) for baby #4. :)

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  7. Have you heard about this not being good to drink while breastfeeding? I seem to remember seeing this somewhere. But recently it seems that it is being recommended in general . . .

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    1. Sara - Yes I have heard some say that it isn't good fro breastfeeding but that seems to be more of an anomaly. If I remember right it has to do with some women not responding well to the astringent properties while breastfeeding..something like that. Although I can't find any info on it being bad for breastfeeding now...so I have no idea where I originally saw that! I actually struggle with low milk supply and I know that RRLT only helped my supply and didn't cause issues. :)

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  8. Wow, love this! We've been trying to conceive for 5 years with no luck, but I also have long/abnormal menstrual cycles! I'll have to try this and see if it helps!

    Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link Up! I hope you'll come back next week!

    Christie
    http://satisfactionthroughchrist.blogspot.com

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  9. I love RRL tea! Thanks for sharing this information.

    Thanks also for linking up at The Tuesday Baby Link Up! Hope to see you there again next week!

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  10. I grow raspberries and take the leaves. You can just let them dry. No need to dehydrate.

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    Replies
    1. So cool! I hope to be able to grow raspberries someday soon.

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  11. I didn't know to drink RRL tea during my pregnancy, but I think I will try it the next time around. Thanks for the info!
    Thanks for linking up with the Tuesday Baby Link Up!

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