Over the years I have heard many different ideas about Raspberry leaf, many women have started using the tea or tablets when they are overdue or ‘ready to labour’. I decided to put this together to give women more information about Raspberry leaf and how it should be used and it’s indications.
Firstly the safety profile of Raspberry leaf is classed as a Category A in pregnancy meaning drugs which have been taken by a large number of pregnant women and women of childbearing age without any proven increase in the frequency of malformations or other direct or indirect harmful effects on the fetus having been observed.
Clinical trials (retrospective, controlled, randomised double blind placebo controlled trial) have found that raspberry leaf use in pregnancy may shorten labour (second stage) and reducing the need for medical intervention. In 1999 a study found that women who consumed Raspberry leaf were less likely to have their membranes prematurely ruptured, have forceps or a vacuum used and less required a caesarean.
How does it work?
- How Raspberry leaf works is by promoting regular contractions by stimulating and relaxing the uterine muscle
- Raspberry leaf has been used for many centuries as a partus preparatus
- Raspberry leaf also is used after birth and is thought to assist with the involution of the uterus and to assist with breast milk production and maintenance.
When should you start taking Raspberry leaf and what form is best to use?
Raspberry leaf is recommended to be taken in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy, however some suggest using in the last 5 months pregnancy.
Raspberry leaf comes in dried teas, liquid tinctures and tablets/capsules. The majority of studies used Raspberry leaf in a tea or tincture.
How much should you use?
The dosage suggested is 4-8g per day in divided doses.
Initially start with 1 teaspoon of dried herb per cup of water per day then gradually increase to 2 cups per day then by 34 weeks aim to be drinking 3 cups per day.
Note: please ensure that you source an organic Raspberry leaf tea to avoid any chemicals that may have been sprayed on non organic teas.
Caution use in pregnancy
Raspberry leaf contains tannins and is suggested to be carfeful or avoided in constipation.
Due to the tannin content in Raspberry leaf it is important to avoid taking supplements containing iron, calcium and magnesium at the same time as the tea as it will reduce the absorption of these minerals, to avoid this interaction separate the minerals and Raspberry leaf by 2 hours.
Braun L & Cohen M. 2007 “Herbs & Natural Supplements: an evidence-based guide 2nd edition” Elsevier, Australia.
Mills S & Bone K. 2005 “The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety” Elsevier, USA.
Parsons M, Simpson M & Ponton T. 1999. “Raspberry leaf and it’s effect on labour: safety and efficacy” Aust Coll Midwives Inc J 12(3): 20-5.
Trickey R. 2001 “Womens, Hormones & the Menstrual Cycle” Melbourne Holistic Health Group, Melbourne.