As seen in: Issue 35

Not Just A Sweet Treat: The Medicinal Benefits Of Wild Raspberries

A few scratches on our hands and forearms are worth it when enjoying sweet and juicy wild raspberries. Incredibly fragrant and tasty, these plants produce abundant harvests of bright red berries from about mid-summer to the first frost.

Wild raspberry, also known as Rubus idaeus, grows in many different soil conditions and can be found in woodlands, along roadsides, or beside the garden. But despite being a delicious treat, many gardeners consider the raspberry canes to be pesky weeds. The plant propagates quickly, and suckers begin to spread. Flowerbeds and vegetable patches can easily be overcome by it.

From Invader To Medicine

Although invasive, it’s not such a bad idea to find some space for wild raspberry plants. The sweet flavor of the delicious fruits and the countless number of recipes we can include them in is reason enough, but wild raspberries also offer many medicinal benefits.

Food that grows in the wild is rich in nutrients and tends to be more flavourful than what you find at the supermarket. Wild raspberries are no exception and are rich in vitamin C, minerals, and fiber. The nutritious berries help boost the immune system, nourish the blood, and protect against heart disease and various cancers thanks to their many antioxidants, phenolic acids, and anthocyanins.

A Long History

The wild red raspberry plant is a precious medicine long appreciated in herbalism and folk medicine. Indigenous people foraged the fruit for both food and medicine immediately after the ice age!

Dried leaves, picked before the flowers bloom, are delicious when made as tea. A high tannin content makes the brew similar to black tea but without caffeine. A wild raspberry infusion contains many vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, and vitamins B, C, and E. The concoction can help build healthy bones and teeth or can be taken after an illness to help with recovery.

A tea made with raspberry leaves is easy to make! Use up to two tablespoons of dried herb and steep in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. Add a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup, if desired.

The raspberry leaves are astringent and anti-inflammatory. These two herbal actions can help to slow diarrhea and tighten mucosal tissue in leaky gut syndrome or general intestinal inflammation. The astringency will help heal wounds and sore eyes. Eye drops made from a cooled, filtered decoction of raspberry leaves have been used as a treatment for conjunctivitis. A mouth wash from the tea will help with bleeding gums, mouth sores, or mouth inflammation.

A Woman’s Best Friend

The wild raspberry plant has been used for centuries to support reproductive health in women, and the gentle herb can ease menstrual pain. Although herbal medicines are often discouraged for expecting mothers, raspberry leaves have long been used by midwives to help women through their pregnancies and prepare them for childbirth. A herbal infusion made with the leaves nourishes the body and strengthens and tones uterine muscles, which can help reduce labor pains and their duration.

The infusion also helps increase a mother’s milk, relieves nausea, and the high iron content prepares the body for blood loss during childbirth. The uterine tonic made with red raspberry leaves also helps tighten and tone the womb.

Despite being safe for pregnant women, wait until the second or third trimesters before drinking a wild raspberry tea. There is some concern that the drink may stimulate the uterus and potentially cause a miscarriage.

Disclaimer:

While raspberry leaves are a nourishing food that is safe to eat, always check with a health practitioner before enjoying the benefits associated with any medicinal herb.

More from this series

Mugwort: A Magical and Medicinal Weed

Tall and robust with dark green lobes for leaves, mugwort, or Artemisia Vulgaris, is a weed that has many wonderful …

The Mighty Burdock Weed: A Cornucopia of Virtues

Many people are already familiar with burdock. It’s tall and robust, but what makes it stand out the most is …

The Health And Medicinal Properties Of Common Garden Weeds

There is nothing more satisfying than succeeding in bringing the perfect garden to life! But the path to “garden perfection” …

Medicinal Weeds: Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica) has an impressive defense system. The stems, leaves, and flowers are covered with tiny hairs called spicules. These spicules, made from minuscule silica needles, are similar to sharp glass; they puncture the skin and cause painful irritation.

Plantain: The Overlooked Medicinal Weed

Sometimes, we cannot see wonderful things that are right under our noses. Many gardeners are looking for plants that are …

Dandelions: Medicinal Weeds of Gold

With many of us now aware of declining bee populations, dandelions are making a remarkable comeback. Their yellow blooms are …

Medicinal Weeds: The Many Benefits Of Wild Violets

Wild violets are some of the first flowers to bloom in the spring, covering lawns with tiny lilac and white …

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Author

A therapist and healer for over 15 years, Caroline’s passion for medicinal plants only began after leaving the city for the quiet country life in Quebec, Canada. Eager to learn, she’s never looked back, using forests and wildflower fields as her classroom ever since. In a time where reconnecting with plants and nature is badly needed, she spreads her love for herbalism by holding teaching workshops about the powers of medicinal herbs and natural remedies.