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Raspberry, Rubus strigosus
Raspberry, Rubus strigosus

by Ellen Evert Hopman

Raspberry bushes are cultivated in most areas of the United States and can sometimes be found growing wild in loamy soils.

 The European Raspberry, Rubus idaeus, is a native of the forests of Europe and has stems with few or no thorns. Rubus strigosus is the native North American variety which is often found at the edges of fields and thickets. Both varieties produce white, cup shaped flowers in spring and summer, followed by edible, red fruits.

Raspberry leaves were used by Native American herbalists as a tonic for the female tract, especially for conditions involving the uterus. Raspberry leaf tea is a classic remedy for painful menstruation and can be taken daily throughout a pregnancy to help with morning sickness. It prepares the uterus for delivery by stimulating contractions while inducing relaxation between them and later can be used as an after-birth tonic. It is said to reduce labor pains and helps to bring in breast milk. Raspberry leaf has also been shown to help prevent miscarriage and is used to tone the uterus after abortions.

Raspberry leaf tea is slightly astringent making it a good remedy for diarrhea. It makes a good gargle and mouth wash as well as a wash for wounds and skin rashes. The infusion of the leaf is used to induce sweating in cases of fever.

To make the tea steep four teaspoons of the leaves in a cup of freshly boiled water and allow them to steep for about half an hour in a tightly covered non aluminum pot. The dose is one quarter cup taken four times a day, not with meals.Raspberry leaves are also available in tablet form from herbalists,which may be a more convenient solution for busy mothers and those who work outside of the home.

According to the Doctrine of Signatures, a Medieval system of plant classification, red fruits help to build the blood. The ancient Chinese system of medicine called The Five Element Theory also classifies red fruits and herbs as blood building and regulating substances and as remedies for the heart. It should come as no surprise then that the red fruits of the raspberry are medicinal and can be used to fortify the blood and when made into a syrup with red wine vinegar and a little honey or sugar they are said to strengthen the heart.

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Ellen Evert Hopman - Master Herbalist, Druid Priestess, Author

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