Red raspberry leaf tea is rich in antioxidants and is sometimes used to ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. It may also offer benefits during pregnancy, but more research is needed.
Red raspberry is a plant native to Europe and parts of Asia and known for its sweet, nutritious berries.
Yet, its leaves are loaded with nutrients as well and often used to make an herbal tea that has medicinal uses.
For centuries, red raspberry leaves have been used to treat various health ailments and induce labor during pregnancy.
This article reviews the health benefits, safety, and side effects of red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy and in general.
Red raspberry leaves are high in many nutrients and may offer several health benefits.
Good source of antioxidants
Red raspberry leaves are a good source of antioxidants.
In particular, they are rich in antioxidant compounds like ellagitannins, hydroxybenzoic acids, and anthocyanins (
Antioxidants can help neutralize harmful free radicals and protect against inflammation and chronic disease (
In addition, the leaves contain small amounts of ellagic acids, which have been shown to have anti-cancer effects in some test-tube studies (
While more research is needed on the cancer-fighting potential of red raspberry leaves, current results are promising.
May ease symptoms of premenstrual syndrome
Red raspberry leaf tea is especially popular due to its possible benefits for pregnant people. However, it also seems to help people who menstruate as well.
Some people use red raspberry leaf tea to treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS), such as cramping, vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. However, this is mostly supported by anecdotal evidence.
While more research is needed and there is currently no specific recommendation on the quantity to drink, sipping on some red raspberry leaf tea may relieve some of the discomforts of your menstrual cycle.
Red raspberry leaf tea is rich in antioxidants, which may have anti-cancer properties. Some anecdotal reports claim that it can also help relieve symptoms of PMS, but more research is needed.
Herbal teas have been used by midwives throughout history to help with some of the negative symptoms associated with pregnancy and labor.
Interestingly, one study in 121 pregnant people found that 38% reported using red raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy (
While red raspberry leaf tea is typically used to facilitate labor and birth during pregnancy, some people use the herbal remedy to help with nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy as well (
Although more research is needed, some claim that raspberry leaf tea can help strengthen the uterus, improve labor outcome, and prevent excessive bleeding after childbirth.
May help shorten labor
Many people claim that red raspberry leaf tea helps shorten labor.
One study showed that raspberry leaf tablets did not shorten the first stage of labor. Though it did shorten the second stage by an average of 9.59 minutes, this was not statistically significant (
Another older observational study showed that those who drank red raspberry leaf tea in the last stage of pregnancy had a shorter first stage of labor. However, more high quality research is needed, as the difference was not significant (
Reduce interventions and complications of childbirth
There is some evidence to show that drinking red raspberry leaf tea may allow for a labor with fewer complications.
One older study found that people who drank red raspberry leaf tea later in pregnancy had reduced use of forceps and other interventions, as well as a reduction in the likelihood of pre- and post-term labor. However, keep in mind that these results were not statistically significant (
Similarly, other older research has found an 11% decreased use of forceps during birth for people who consumed red raspberry leaf tea in the last 8 weeks of pregnancy, though this was also not significant (
While more high quality, recent research is needed, it’s thought that an easier labor with fewer interventions could decrease the amount of bleeding in the postpartum state (
Some research suggests that red raspberry leaf tea could help decrease labor time and reduce the use of birthing interventions. However, more high quality studies are needed.
Red raspberry leaf tea appears to be safe for most people.
When side effects appear, they tend to be mild. However, they’re still important to consider.
According to some anecdotal reports, red raspberry leaf tea tea may have laxative properties and could cause loosening of stool in certain people.
It’s important to consult with a doctor before consuming it and discontinue use if you experience any adverse side effects, including spotting or Braxton Hicks contractions during pregnancy.
Though there are no official recommendations for how much you should drink, most online sources recommend sticking to 1 cup, or 237 milliliters (mL), per day during the first trimester and 1–3 cups (237–710 mL) per day during the second and third trimesters (9).
Red raspberry leaf tea appears to be safe for most people if taken in the appropriate dose. As with any herbal remedy, you should first consult with a doctor.
Red raspberry leaf tea is often claimed to help decrease labor time, strengthen the uterus, and improve labor outcomes in people who are pregnant.
For most people, it’s generally recommended to drink 1–3 cups (237–710 mL) per day, though intake should be limited during early pregnancy.
It’s rich in antioxidants and is believed to offer other anecdotal benefits, including relief from PMS symptoms.
Still, more research needs to be done to fully understand all of red raspberry leaf tea’s positive attributes.