Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Why Every Woman Should Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

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.

Why Pregnant Women Should Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea:


  • 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

Why Non-Pregnant Women Should Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea:


  • 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 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.

Why Every Woman Should Drink Red Raspberry Leaf

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 or cheesecloth.

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 the 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 – 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".









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