What is Red Raspberry Leaf?
With a taste much like black tea, red raspberry leaves are among one of the most pleasant tasting herbs. Raspberries were supposedly discovered by the Greek gods while searching for berries on Mount Ida. However, historical records show that this luscious herb is indigenous to Turkey and North America. The raspberry plant belongs to the rose family. It grows wild and in abundance, and the leaves are green on top and silvery white on the underside.
Right before raspberries bloom, the dried leaves of the plant are gathered as this is when the highest antioxidant content is obtained so that it can be used for its medicinal properties. Red raspberry leaf’s relaxing, restorative and astringent effects are helpful in treating women during pregnancy to support uncomplicated deliveries. Chinese medicine also uses the herb for its tonifying effects to strengthen the kidneys and treat incontinence. Several studies have also indicated a tremendous reduction colorectal inflammation and colon cancer risk when using red raspberry leaf.
How Does Red Raspberry Reduce Colorectal Inflammation and Stop Cancer?
Studies have proven that consuming vegetables and fruits reduce the risk of cancer, particularly cancer of the digestive tract. The anti-cancer activity is due to the antioxidants in these specific foods which help prevent or stop cell damage caused by free radicals. Also rich in antioxidants are raspberries as they contain polyphenols, anthocyanins, and ellagitannins.
In a recent laboratory study published in The Journal of Nutrition, red raspberry supplementation reduced disease activity and damage in colitis which is a chronic, inflammatory bowel disease. It also reduced the risk of developing colorectal cancer. According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the ellagitannins in red raspberry contain several biological activities, including anticancer properties. The study in the publication stated the red raspberry extract is powerful enough to induce apoptosis (cell death) of human colon adenocarcinoma cells.
Another study published in Nutrition Research assessed the roles of low pH and high antioxidant levels in killing three types of cancer. Stomach, colon, and breast cancer cells were treated with either a red raspberry extract or a hydrochloric acid (HCL) and ascorbic acid solution with the same pH. The berry extract killed more than 90 percent of the cancer cells, while the HCL and ascorbic acid solution killed only 10 percent of these cells. For these cells, approximately 50 percent of the killing is attributed to the antioxidant effects of red raspberry.
How Much Red Raspberry Should I Take?
Red raspberry is usually taken as dried leaves, liquid herbal extract, or capsules. The leaves are used to make tea for a refreshing beverage.
Red Raspberry Tea
Add one cup of boiling water over one to two teaspoons of dried leaves. Cover the pot and allow to steep for 10 minutes before drinking. When looking for red raspberry leaf tea, choose certified organic to avoid harmful chemicals that are sprayed on plants by commercial producers.
Red Raspberry Liquid Herbal Extract
As an herbal dietary supplement, red raspberry extract can be taken two to three times per day. For best absorption and therapeutic effect, take it on an empty stomach (about 15 to 30 minutes prior to or an hour after eating). Always shake the bottle well, and put it in a little warm water before drinking it. Follow the dosage directions on the bottle, or see your naturopathic or herbal practitioner for a specific dose for your condition.
Red Raspberry Leaf Capsules
While red raspberry leaf comes in capsule form, it is rare to find a quality brand that supplies it. If you choose to take this form, follow the directions on the bottle.
Is Red Raspberry Safe?
Used for centuries, red raspberry leaf has no record of unsafe side effects. It is safe to use during pregnancy, though medical doctors recommend limiting it during the first trimester just to be absolutely safe.
Where Can I Buy Red Raspberry?
Red raspberry leaf can be purchased at your local supplement store. For my clients, I recommend the brand Herb Pharm® as they have high standards when it comes to processing herbal liquid extracts from seed to shelf. Their products are pure, safe, and as potent as possible. Following are a couple of versions that they supply. Just click the link for more information.