You don’t need to be pregnant to find Raspberry Leaf Tea beneficial, but for all the positive uses, it might be helpful to have a uterus. The number one ingredient in commercially available pregnancy teas is raspberry leaf, followed by nettles (which I also have in abundance). One of the reasons that I waited till my 9th month to start using the tea is because the leaves on my raspberry plants have finally started to flourish.
Before writing this post I wanted to do some research about which was better; using fresh leaves or dried leaves. For any and all answers for food science related questions, I turn to the bible of food science; On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. What I found was that fresh and dried herbs contain roughly 1% of essential oils depending on the quality and the age of the herb. With fresh herbs you have the high water content of almost 90% by weight and for the dried herbs, during the drying process, you not only lose the water, but the essential volatile oils as well. If you think about it logically, the distilled essential oils might offer you the most benefit, when added to your choice of beverage, but since there is no definitive research on specific quantity recommendations, I feel safe with the infused fresh herbal teas. I use the leaves immediately after picking. The first few batches I made were rather weak, so I added more roughly chopped leaves. When you chop the leaves you expose more of the surface area, so you can extract the maximum benefits.
Some benefits include: Courtesy of Pregnancy.com.au
- Relax the smooth muscles of the uterus when it is contracting.
- Assist with the birth of the baby and the placenta.
- Calm cramping of the uterus.
- To promote a plentiful supply of breast milk.
- Provide a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium content is especially helpful in strengthening the uterine muscles. Raspberry leaf also contains vitamins B1, B3 and E which are valuable in pregnancy.
I used about 25g (1oz) of fresh chopped raspberry leaves from young stalks and about 1 liter (32oz) of not quite boiling water. I let it seep for 15 – 20 minutes; this length is good for herbal teas of this sort to strengthen the brew. I like my teas sweetened with raw honey, which has health benefits all its own. My recipe might not work for everyone, since some people might not have access to a raspberry bramble in their yard, but if you are considering using raspberry leaf tea and have the chance for fresh leaves go for it.
I was a little torn about writing this post because I can’t really tell what the immediate effects of the tea are. I would like to have this baby this week or next weeks, but it doesn’t really work like that. What I am hoping to get from this tea is vitamins and minerals essential for uterine health to ease delivery and recovery. Has anyone had any experiences with raspberry leaf tea, good, bad or other? Please share!