Black Raspberry, Rubus occidentalis
Members of the Rosaceae family, black raspberry and red raspberry have similar medicinal properties. Traditionally the fruit, leaf and root have all been used medicinally. The fruit is antioxidant rich containing minerals, vitamins A, B, C and E, sugars and volatile oils, is a diuretic, diaphoretic, cleanser and laxative, not to mention delicious! The fruit has also been used for indigestion and rheumatism. The roots and leaves both contain tannins, lending to their astringent qualities. The roots have been used for dysentery, diarrhea, stomach pain, gonorrhea, back pain, hemorrhaging, and hemophilia.
The leaves are perhaps the most commonly used part of the black and red raspberry shrub. Black and red raspberry leaves contain fragarine, tannins, polypeptides, flavonoids, vitamins A,B, and C, and minerals including iron, manganese, magnesium, and selenium. Due to their astringing action, the leaves are used as a tonic for strengthening the uterus during the menstrual years as well as during the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy in preparation for childbirth, to prevent miscarriage, relieve morning sickness, and reduce labor pains. Used during labor, raspberry leaf helps stimulate labor. Other uses for the leaves include use in treating diarrhea, as a rub for bee stings, as a wash for wounds, as a mouthwash for inflamed mouths, sore throats and mouth ulcers, as an eye wash for conjunctivitis, as a tonic for the prostate gland, and as part of rheumatic remedies as a cleansing diuretic.
Raspberry leaf makes a multipurpose tea or long steeped infusion which may either be drunk or used as a wash for wounds or conjunctivitis. It may also be made into a tincture or vinegar, which is great at extracting mineral content.
As a tonic for the menstrual cycle try the following tea: equal parts red or black raspberry leaf, oats, nettles, and red clover.
Cautions/Contraindications: The leaves are stimulating to the uterus, so avoid high doses during pregnancy.
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