Raspberry: A Pregnancy Workhorse and Lifelong Friend to Women

Raspberry was the underdog of the herbal remedy world until the 1940s when it rose in fame above its super popular cousin, the blackberry, due to its many uses for complaints of pregnancy.  We do know that Nicholas Culpeper, renowned English herbalist recommended raspberry leaf as “‘very binding (astringent), … putrid sores of the mouth and secret parts (genitals)…piles (hemorrhoids), …. And too much flowing of women’s courses (heavy menstrual flow).’” Modern research also shows that the herb is a powerful antioxidant, offering added benefit to women during and far after pregnancy.  

So what is it used for in pregnancy?  Some of the worst symptoms, such as morning sickness, including nausea and vomiting, hemorrhoids, and diarrhea can be relieved by this wonderful plant.  It is also a popular herb for women who have previously experienced miscarriage, as it is believed to have a quality of pregnancy preservation.  

Here’s a deeper dive into the research.  The Lancet, a British medical journal, published an animal study in 1941, which stated raspberry contains a “uterine relaxant principle.” There are also claims that this herb eases labor pains.  While the pain-relieving aspects are mostly anecdotal (and not necessarily untrue), an Australian study asked “192 women pregnant with their first child to take either a placebo or raspberry (1.2 grams of leaf twice a day from 32 weeks gestation to delivery).”  They found the second stage of labor, you know… the part where you “push,” was shortened!  It also “reduced the need for forceps delivery” by 30 percent.  Another animal study found that glucose levels are reduced with the use of daily raspberry, which is another benefit for women with gestational diabetes.