Today I gathered Wild Raspberry Leaf. This is widely known as a herb to take during pregnancy in order to tone the uterus and help strengthen the efficiency of contractions during labour. Rich in iron, it is excellent as a tonic to the expectant mother, whilst its astringency helps to reduce haemorrhage. If you continue to drink Raspberry leaf tea after the birth, it will help to encourage milk production and reduce the severity of after pains.
Raspberry leaf’s astringency is also very useful to help reduce excessive menstrual bleeding. This probably how I most use Raspberry leaf in my clinic. I combine it with other herbs depending on the individual circumstances of the case, and it plays its part very well.
It is not surprising then that Raspberry Leaf is considered to be under the dominion of Venus. It is generally known as a herb for women’s issues.
If you look at Raspberry leaf you will see that the undersides of the leaves are very pale, and this helps to distinguish the plant from its close relative the Blackberry. On a moonlit night you will notice that Wild Raspberry seems to glow compared to the surrounding vegetation. You could rationalise this and say that this is entirely due to the pale undersides to the leaves, but I can’t help having more fanciful notions to do with the moon, and Venus and the Doctrine of Signatures. Mugwort also has this moonlit glow and this is another herb under the dominion of Venus.
Raspberry leaf is not just for women though. It is a very good astringent so it can be used to help ease diarrhoea or soothe inflammation. I am a big fan of using Raspberry leaf to reduce pain and inflammation in the throat. Just sipping the tea or taking the tincture will bring almost instant relief, even in tonsillitis. This property has saved the day more than once for patients who are professional singers, and closer to home when my children were in the village pantomime and needed to sing their hearts out several nights in a row.
If you are gathering Raspberry leaf you need to be sure that you have identified it and are not confusing it with Blackberry. Although Blackberry can be used for the same purpose, Raspberry is generally more effective. Look for upright stems and leaves with a pronounced point at the end. The young stems are pale with rosy coloured prickles, and then there are those pale leaf undersides.
I gather Wild Raspberry every year and it is a very important part of my dispensary. I recommend that if you are interested in foraging you get some in as well and dry it for use in teas throughout the year.
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