Red raspberry leaf tea has long been taken as a herbal remedy by pregnant women to speed up labour and make for an easier birth.
The tea is made from an infusion of the red raspberry leaf, not the raspberry fruit itself. The active ingredient in the leaf is an alkaloid called fragine.
DO NOT TAKE IT EARLY IN PREGNANCY OR IF YOU SUSPECT YOU MIGHT BE PREGNANT
It is said to improve uterine and perineal muscle tone and therefore improves the efficiency of each contraction making birth shorter and less painful, with an added benefit of reduced risk of tearing during childbirth.
It has been used for centuries in many countries without any reported harmful effects. Many old wives tales abound regarding its usefulness in pregnancy advocating that it really does help ‘tone the uterus’ and help prevent tears to the perineum.
From the few scientific trials that have been done, none were conclusive about its value; but that is so often the case with evaluation of the worthiness of herbal remedies.
The dose is difficult to assess too. There are plenty of red raspberry leaf tea products available in herbal stockists but unfortunately their strength varies. It is really difficult to begin to know how much should be used for best effect, or indeed if overdoing it might actually be harmful.
The infusion is not a particularly pleasant flavour, my recommendation would be to double-bag your raspberry leaf tea with a fruit tea bag so that you can enjoy it as drink rather than a medicine! I personally didn't find it too unpleasant - had the taste of aspirin I thought, but possibly because you're expecting 'raspberry' you would find that awful.
Because raspberry leaf is also said to be an abortifactant it is therefore unwise to take it in the first two trimesters of pregnancy. It should only be taken in the final month of pregnancy after 36 weeks, just in case it should bring on premature labour.
Many expectant women drink raspberry leaf tea or take red raspberry leaf in tablet form in the hope that they can make their birth journey an easier one! Talk it over with your midwife. There doesn’t seem to be any reported negative side effects to mother or baby – so many feel it is worth giving it a try.
There are some great reusable gizmos if you're making herbal tea. It's best to buy your own herb material or grow it yourself if you can.
That means you're going to have loose tea of course and bits floating on the top are an irritation. Herb tea is supposed to be relaxing!
So, one of these tea infusers or a special pot will save you the problems.
More herbal remedies on these pagesThe Herb Guide › Herbal Remedies › Red Raspberry Leaf Tea