My favorite time comes around late Spring till midways through Summer. Why? My husband takes us up to his secret Raspberry patch that grows wild in the mountains. He picks the berries so I can have one of my favorite summertime treats—Raspberries and Vanilla ice cream. Okay, it’s not all about me. He knows that if he picks enough, I make him some homemade Jam.
While he is pickin’, though, I am snappin’ off Leaves. Those, to me, are a girl’s best friend. Mind you, not just a cure for women. If you keep readin’, you will see that these leaves have a way of fixin’ quite a few other things as well. But first, let’s get some of the technical stuff out of the way. Shall we?
The raspberry doesn’t get very creative where Folk Names are concerned. It’s called either European Raspberry or Red Raspberry. No creative tongue- twisters there. And as far as Mountain Lore goes, it wasn’t nothin’ to bat an eye at if you happened to see a Granny Woman or Mountain Momma hang a few of the branches along the doorways or windows. This meant a death had come and with all that sittin’ up with the Dead stuff and the coverin’ of mirrors, no one wanted to see a “Spirit” re-enter a home. That’s where the branches came into play. Protection.
It came as no surprise to me when I read that Raspberry leaves were carried by women to relieve them of some of the pain and discomfort durin’ pregnancy. From a medicine standpoint, Raspberries and the Leaves have quite a bit of an affect on women. But before we get to that, let’s throw one more fact out there. Most people don’t know it but the raspberry is actually part of the “Rose” Family. The leaves from this shrub can help with a good many things—intestinal problems such as diarrhea, sore throats, menstrual cramps and problems…even bronchitis. The tea can also ease flu symptoms, tonsillitis, strengthen gums, stomach upset and nausea.
The best way to preserve the leaves is by drying. Once dried, for use in a tea, simply crush and soak them in cold water. (1 tsp. per cup). Let it soak for a few hours and then boil for ten minutes. Strain and drink.
Never drink the tea while pregnant.
This is one of the reasons the ol’ wives tale of carryin’ the leaves while pregnant to relieve some of the pain during pregnancy was interestin’ to me. Seems the more and more I dig into Mountain Lore, the more linked it is to actual medicine—in some way or another. Could it be, women carried the leaves in case Contractions began? See, the leaves are said to stimulate the uterus and bring about labor. One may use the tea once contractions begin but only under a Doctor’s supervision. 1 cup.
That being said, was that the real reason women carried the leaves and not because of some superstition? Or did the medical aspect become hidden within’ silly, superstitious lore? I often wonder about that. History cries endless and unknowable numbers of the horrific murders of women, who were punished for things like witchcraft. When in truth, they simply had a knowledge to use the things in Nature many overlooked in order to heal. In certain communities, like those of the Appalachian Mountains, how many would have died if it were not for these Mountain Crones or Granny Women and their knowledge of plants? Doctors were not fallin’ from the sky in abundant buckets. They were few and far between. And with so many women burned, drowned or tortured for their “knowin’ of things” did they protect that knowledge by camafluagin’ it with silly little absurd things like carryin’ a leaf in one’s pocket? Just a thought.
Raspberry leaves have been used in medicine as far back as 37 A.D. Written documents date all the way back to Rome.
Raspberry leaves have something in them called Tannins. Tannins are pretty cool things and can be found in most vegetables and fruit. The leaves, when dried, are when Tannins pack a punch. By definition, Tannins are various complex phenolic substances of plant origin; used both in tanning and in medicine. The Tannin in Raspberry leaves have astringent effects – as do most tanins elsewhere. It’s the astringent that aids in the antidiarrheal and anti-inflammatory super-powers of the leaves. Did you know it can also help stop bleeding? Who knew all that existed beyond what we normally focus on—the sweet, delicious berry?
Raspberry Leaves contain Potassium, Vitamins A & C, Phosphorus and Calcium.
So, let’s get down to the healing section, shall we?
By drinking the tea, in cases of Diarrhea, it’s the astringents which aid the most. They relieve the irritation on the intestinal walls, which means they help with the irritation brought on by the diarrhea. You must make sure the tea is super-packed with tannins, though, for this to work, which means, soak the leaves in water for at least 10 minutes. For cramps that sometimes come with diarrhea, use 2 oz. of the Leaves and 1 1/2 oz. of Peppermint.
Heavy Menstrual Bleeding
- 2/3 oz. Raspberry Leaves
- 2/3 oz. Oak Bark
- 1/3 oz. Yarrow
- 2/3 oz. Wild Strawberry Leaves
Use 1 tsp. of this mixture per cup of hot water or hip bath. It is supposed to normalize bleeding and the leaves may also help with cramps.
Wash face with 3 tbsp. of leaves that has been added to 1 quart of water and boiled for 10 minutes. (Allow to cool of course) and then wash area several times a day. The tannins are said to shrink blood vessels and prevent bacterial infections. Can also stimulate skin regeneration.
1 tsp. of raspberry leaves to 1 cup of water. Let steep ten minutes. Gargle several times a day. Add calendula flowers and sage leaves to pack an extra punch.
Eliminate Toxins from the body
Equal mixture of Dandelion Root, Raspberry Leaves and Fumitory green parts. Add one tsp. to 1 cup of boiling water – steep 10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day.
Disclaimer: I am not a Doctor nor do I have any training as such. I simply combine information I have researched based on Herbs, Herbalists, and Lore. I am not advising anyone to use anything. If one does, they do so at their own risk.