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Should You Drink Red Raspberry Leaf Tea? When?

Does red raspberry leaf tea (RRL) work to induce labor? If it can start labor, should you be really careful about when you drink it for the first time in order to time your birth? Read on to get all your questions on RRL answered!


red raspberry tea leaves used in pregnancy and postpartum for easier labor

I've met lots of people who are scared of red raspberry leaf tea. Many of my clients have heard that they should drink RRL to induce labor. In fact, I gift each client beautiful loose leaf RRL and sometimes they are too scared to drink it or tell me that they want to save it for 39 weeks.


History

RRL is native to North America and Eurasia, and it has been cultivated and valued in Chinese medicine for at least 2,000 years. Many indigenous populations throughout the world valued RRL, but it wasn't until about the 1940s that white people got interested. Today, over 60% of all midwives recommend RRL to their pregnancy patients.


Herbal Components and Uses

RRL is considered a fertility boosting herb and is high in calcium. For pregnancy, it is the most widely used and considered by many herbalists to be the safest herb for labor preparation. I personally think that nettle is an excellent and safe herb for pregnancy, but it's just not quite as linked to pelvic health specifically. It contains an alkaloid (fragarine) that tones the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus. In addition, it is filled with vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to pregnancy: vitamins B, C, and E, calcium, and iron, plus phosphorus and potassium.


Uses:

  • Boost fertility in all bodies, combine with red clover

  • Reduce excessive menstruation

  • Ease morning sickness and diarrhea

  • Toning the uterine muscles (it does not strengthen contractions; allows muscles to work more effectively)

  • Shorten labor

  • May help lower hypertension and blood sugar, but always consult with your provider

  • May increase and enrich the flow of milk, but as an astringent, variation from person to person

  • Prevent excessive bleeding after birth


When to start drinking?

Herbalists regularly recommend this herb for all nine months of pregnancy. It is considered safe and nutritive. Because RRL is known to increase fertility, you could begin taking it while trying to conceive and then continue up to -and through- your birth. Some people stop drinking it during the first few weeks of pregnancy out of an abundance of caution, but I cannot find a single herbalist who recommends stopping.


Does it work?

RRL is nutritive and very easy to drink, with no bitter or strong flavor. I personally have never met anyone who has managed to induce their labor with RRL.


How to Prepare

To make an herbal infusion of RRL, boil water and pour over the leaves. I usually suggest about a tablespoon per 8oz of water. For all infusions, you'll want to cover the cup with a lid to trap in the oils that are released in the steam, that's where the medicine is. Let the infusion sit for 4 hours or up to 24 hours before straining and drinking. Drink 1-3 cups per day. I know many pregnant people who make a large 16oz jar and then refrigerate it to drink throughout the following day.


If you are going to drink RRL, I recommend sourcing loose lead from a farm both because you will get more tea for your money and because it will be fresh. Plants lose their viability over time so age matters. I often source from Foster Farm Botanicals.


Sources

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