The taste and fragrance of raspberry leaf tea is quite an experience and one that most drinkers don’t see coming. The tea is made from the leaves of raspberry plant (of which there over hundreds of species) and has a taste and smell that isn’t even remotely like the tangy fruit plucked from the same plant.
Consumed for it medicinal benefits, raspberry leaf tea is popular with pregnant women, a demographic that seemingly can’t get enough of this tea. So just what is attracting these women to raspberry leaf tea, what are the health benefits of it, and what are the benefits and side effects of drinking raspberry leaf when pregnant?
Raspberry Leaf Benefits
The vast majority of people reading this article will be doing so because they are contemplating using raspberry leaf while pregnant. That is why we have devoted pretty much all of this article to such benefits, risks and other information. If that’s your goal, then skip to the next section.
But raspberry leaf tea can help in other ways and may be beneficial to people who are not pregnant. It is claimed that it can help with everything from skin complaints to constipation, acne, high blood pressure, and colds and flu. It is the usual list of herbal tea health benefits and while there isn’t a great deal of evidence to back most of these clams up, some of them certainly seem to be have a foundation in truth.
It does have a lot of antioxidants, and there are many minerals and vitamins here as well, but they are not in a high enough concentration to be noteworthy, or to compare to other types of tea. In other words, while it is a somewhat healthy and beneficial tea, it pales in comparison to other teas.
If you’re drinking it because you like the taste, because you’re working it into a tea blend or because you believe it can help with pregnancy, then those antioxidants/minerals are just added extras, as are the other potentially beneficial compounds. But if you’re looking for a super-potent, all-healing herbal tea, this is probably not it.
Raspberry Leaf Benefits During Pregnancy and Labor
Raspberry leaf tea is said to be able to induce labor, which we will discuss shortly, but the purported benefits go deeper than that. According to the fans of this beverage, raspberry leaf tea can:
- Reduce morning sickness
- Reduce labour pains
- Balance hormones postpartum
- Improve mineral levels in breast milk
There are also suggestions that raspberry leaf tea can help during menstruation. However, it’s important to note that this tea is not free from side effects or risk and many of the apparent health benefits have not been backed up by science. That is often the case with herbal teas even when the anecdotal evidence is vast.
However, it seems even more heavily weighted against raspberry leaf tea, because unlike camomile, lavender, linden tea, Greek mountain tea and many others, there is minimal—if any at all—evidence to backup these claims.
Raspberry Leaf to Induce Labor
Raspberry leaf tea is recommended to pregnant women during the last two months of pregnancy as it’s supposed to induce labor. This advice is handed out by midwives and by experienced medical practitioners, but there is very little actual evidence backing it up. In fact, the studies on whether raspberry leaf tea can help in this regard have been thus far inconclusive.
Of course, that doesn’t definitively mean that raspberry leaf tea won’t induce labor and won’t help with the process in anyway. And if it is safe, as it is believed to be, then there is no harm in trying it. However, there are some conditions under which it should be consumed and a failure to pay attention to these could result in problems.
Safety of Red Raspberry Leaf Tea During Pregnancy
This tea is thought to have a toning effect on the muscles of the uterus, which, in theory, is what helps to induce the labor and to generally make it more bearable. But you should not consume it if you have had a caesarean section or a premature labour in the past, and you should also avoid if previous labours lasted only a couple hours, there is a family history of complicated births, you are expecting a breech baby or twins, or you experienced vaginal bleeding during the second half of your pregnancy.
It sounds like a long and complicated checklist but really it’s a recommendation to limit the risk you are exposing yourself and your baby to.
Experts who recommend the consumption of raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy don’t recommend that you consume any during the first trimester. The risk of uterine contractions are higher during this time and there is a concern that it may trigger a miscarriage. The risk seems to be minimal, but it’s a risk you will want to avoid anyway.
This is when you should start to consume raspberry leaf tea if you do indeed wish to use this tea to help make your pregnancy and birth more comfortable. Experts recommend that you begin small, consuming less than the dose stated on the pack, and then build up gradually from there.
Monitor yourself every step of the way and stop immediately if you experience any issues. Again, such issues are rare, but it’s all about taking steps to be as cautious as possible for your health and that of your unborn baby.
Can Raspberry Leaf Tea Help with Fertility?
You have to take certain health benefit claims in good faith. Anecdotal evidence is definitely worth looking into when there is so much of it and that is the case with raspberry leaf tea for inducing labour, but when it comes to using this tea for fertility, it’s very thin.
There are claims and many actually consume it for this reason, believing it to be true. But it’s hard to pinpoint where such beliefs came from and even harder to find any concrete evidence to back them up. There are even suggestions that it could have the opposite effect.
What Does Raspberry Leaf Tea Taste Like?
If you’re expecting a sweet, tangy raspberry-like drink, then prepare to be disappointed. However, if you like black tea and are willing to sweeten this drink a little, then it will not be disappointing at all. It’s not quite as delicious as black tea, contrary to what many drinkers like to claim, but it’s certainly closer to it in taste than it is to raspberries.
In fact, there are millions of things it is closer to in taste than raspberries, so that doesn’t really tell you much.