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Friday, September 1, 2023

The Medicinal Uses of Red Raspberry

Disclaimer. I am not a licensed health practitioner. This is just another post on an item you might wish to have available if needed so that a physician can treat you and your family as best as possible. No medication, including those available over the counter, should be taken without consulting a physician. Information shared here is for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not medical advice nor a substitute for licensed medical care. A qualified, licensed physician or other medical provider should be consulted before beginning any herbal or conventional treatment.

When my family and I talk about the five years that we lived in Missouri, we usually mention the only three good things about our time there, the three F's: friends (a few great friends), fireflies (who doesn't love them?), and fireworks (the most phenomenal displays I ever saw were put on by a lawyer friend from church--nothing at Disneyland, or at city/county Fourth of July events, or even Michael Milken's personal event at Lake Tahoe--no, we weren't his guests, just on a neighboring section of the beach--could come close to this lawyer's show). But as I begin this post on raspberries, I remember how prolific the raspberries in my garden there were. I spent a couple of hours three times each week during harvest season to pick them. Wow, I miss those raspberries.

And as delicious and desirable as those raspberries were, the true treasure was in the leaves. Little did I know then. Raspberry leaves are loaded with vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, C, and E, as well as the essential minerals iron (one ounce of raspberry leaves yields 18% of the RDA for iron), magnesium, potassium, zinc, and calcium. For this reason alone you are really going to want these gems growing on your property in addition to being able to find them elsewhere.

Time to harvest: Raspberry leaves should be harvested in the summer, rinsed, and dried well in a dehydrator or in the shade. Insufficiently dried leaves can become toxic.

Fortunately, raspberry leaves are very easy to use. Their active constituents are, in contrast to many other herbal remedies, extracted with water. No alcohol involved.

Infusion: One to two teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water. Let steep for fifteen minutes. Drink three to four cups per day for treating diarrhea, incontinence, PMS symptoms, leg cramps, gout, and arthritis. It is particularly useful for easing painful menstrual cramps and regulating menstrual flow, especially when taken regularly. Historically, raspberry leaf tea was used to ease labor pains, improve the quality of contractions, and help build a good supply of breast milk. Though some sources suggest it can be used for treating morning sickness and nausea, it should be used with caution and only under the direction of a licensed medical practitioner during the first and second trimester of pregnancy.

Decoction: Steep five tablespoons of raspberry leaves in one quart of water for fifteen minutes. Use as a rinse or gargle to treat tonsillitis, canker sores, cold sores, gingivitis, and sore throat. This same decoction can be used for treating eczema, acne, dermatitis, and itching of the skin. The cooled and filtered decoction is used to treat conjunctivitis of the eyes.

Poultice: Dip a clean cloth into the decoction above and apply to minor wounds, varicose veins, and minor burns like a sunburn.

Contraindications: Raspberry leaf is not for internal use in people with gastritis or peptic ulcer, or those with uterine fibroids, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, or endometriosis.

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