3 Raspberry Leaf Benefits: Dosage & Safety

Raspberry leaf has a long traditional use in women’s health. In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of raspberry leaf, as well as its safety and recommended dosages. …

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Medical Review by: Daniel Powers, MS
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Raspberry leaf has a long traditional use in women’s health. In this article, we will discuss the health benefits of raspberry leaf, as well as its safety and recommended dosages.

raspberry leaf benefits

What is Raspberry Leaf?

Raspberry leaf is a perennial plant that has been used medicinally for centuries. It is native to Europe, Asia, and North America. It can be seen growing in woodland areas, meadows, and lakeshores.

The plant’s Latin name is Rubus idaeus, while its common names include red raspberry leaf, common red raspberry, and European red raspberry.

Raspberry leaf is an herb with a history of supporting women’s health, similar to herbs such as fenugreek, vitex, and red clover. Raspberry leaf is commonly used in traditional medicine to ease premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms and support labor and childbirth.

There are several major bioactive constituents and nutrients found in raspberry leaves, including (4):

  • Flavonoids (anthocyanins, glycosides, kaempferol, quercetin)
  • Fragarine
  • Tannins
  • Volatile oil
  • Pectin
  • Ellagic acid
  • Citric acid
  • Malic acid
  • Vitamins C & E

Health Benefits of Raspberry Leaf:

Below are the well-known health benefits of raspberry leaf:

raspberry leaf for PMS, menstrual support & healthy menstruation

1. May Help Manage Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) occurs prior to the start of a woman’s menstrual cycle and consists of a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, including:

  • Cramping/Abdominal pain
  • Digestion discomfort
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue

Raspberry leaves contains a high content of tannins and these compounds have a toning effect on the uterus, which in turn helps relieve menstrual cramps and pain (1).

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) states that raspberry leaf can be used for the relief of menstrual period spasms and diarrhea.

Several herbal practitioners have reported supporting the use of raspberry leaf for the menstrual cycle:

Women’s health expert and herbalist, Dr. Aviva Romm notes that raspberry leaf acts as a uterotonic and can be used as a treatment for alleviating menstrual period pain and cramping (5).

Herbalist, Judith Berger indicates that raspberry leaf can help strengthen the endocrine system and balance hormones, which can improve and assist in regulating the menstrual cycle (2).

In addition, herbalist, Robin Rose Bennett states raspberry leaf can reduce menstrual cramping and lessen heavy menstrual bleeding due to its astringency action and direct effect on the body’s smooth tissue muscle (1).


Traditional herbalists note that raspberry leaf may work to reduce symptoms associated with Premenstrual Syndrome symptoms (PMS).
raspberry leaf to induce labor & benefit pregnant women

2. May Support Labor & Childbirth

Some research suggests that raspberry leaf can be consumed during pregnancy to support childbirth and labor outcomes.

It has been shown that raspberry leaf can shorten labor, decrease the likelihood of pre and post-term pregnancy, and decrease the use of labor medical interventions such as membrane rupture, forceps or vacuum-assisted birth, or cesarean delivery. There were no reports of adverse effects for the mother or baby.

Dr. Aviva Romm states that raspberry leaf can be used during pregnancy to strengthen the uterus, improve labor outcomes, and prevent excessive bleeding post-birth (5).

Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett adds that the plant’s fragarine compound acts directly on smooth muscle, which helps the uterus contract more smoothly (1). 


Both research and traditional herbalism state that raspberry leaf may have the ability to benefit childbirth and improve labor outcome.
potential health benefits of raspberry leaf

3. Other Potential Health Benefits:

  • May Treat Oral Inflammation: The European Medicines Agency’s Committee of Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) also states that raspberry leaf can be used for treating inflammation of the mouth or throat.
  • A Rich Source of Antioxidants: Research has shown that raspberry leaves are an excellent source of antioxidants due to several of its bioactive constituents. Antioxidants are anti-inflammatory and can help fight against harmful free radicals, oxidative stress, and chronic diseases. Raspberry leaf’s strong antioxidant content may be due to the plant’s high number of polyphenols and flavonoids.
  • May Act as a Relaxant: Raspberry leaf has been shown to have a relaxant effect on the gastrointestinal tract in an animal study.
  • May Help Pelvic Pain: Dr. Romm suggests that raspberry leaf may be used to treat chronic pelvic pain or pelvic congestion syndrome (5).


Raspberry leaf has been tied to a wide variety of health benefits. Human clinical trials are needed to verify these findings.

Raspberry Leaf Safety:

Safety Class: 1

Interaction Class: A

Raspberry leaf is considered a safe, well-tolerated herb.

The safety class of 1 indicates that raspberry leaves can be safely consumed when used appropriately (3).

The interaction class of A suggests that no clinical interactions are expected when using this herb appropriately (3).

There are no known drug interactions or contraindications, however, due to the herb’s high tannin content, it may interfere with nutrient absorption such as iron when taken in high doses for an extended period (5).

Pregnancy & Lactation:

Research has shown no adverse effects of raspberry leaf on fetal or maternal health with doses of 2.4 grams daily or one to six cups of tea daily from gestational week 32 until birth (3).

There is limited information on the safety of raspberry leaf during lactation, therefore, the safety has not been conclusively established (3).


The following are the recommended dosages for adults:

By herbalist, David Hoffman (4):

  • Tincture (1:5, 40%): Take 2 to 4 mL 3x per day
  • Tea (infusion): Add 1 cup of hot water to 2 tsp. of dried raspberry leaves. Infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink freely.

By the USP (4):

By women’s health expert and herbalist, Dr. Aviva Romm (5):

  • Tea (infusion): Drink 1 to 3 cups per day


Raspberry leaf is not on the United Plant Saver’s “species-at-risk” list of plants that are sensitive to the impact of human activities.

Naming & Taxonomy:

The herb’s scientific name is Rubus idaeus. It belongs to the Rosaceae (rose) family of plants.

The plant grows to about 3 to 9 feet tall. The leaves and fruits of the plant are commonly used medicinally.

The genus name Rubus is the Latin name for brambles (raspberry and blackberry shrubs).

The species name idaeus means “of Mount Ida,” which references the belief that the raspberry leaf plant was first discovered on Mount Ida in Greece.

red raspberry leaf (rubus idaeus)

History & Traditional Use:

Raspberry leaf has an extensive traditional use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the uterus (4). It’s one of the most historically respected herbal uterine tonics (3).

For centuries, midwives have been using raspberry leaf along with other herbs to support pregnancy and childbirth. Raspberry leaf has been used medicinally as early as the sixth century.

Native Americans used raspberry leaf as a tonic during pregnancy.

In folk medicine, raspberry leaves, berries, and young shoots have been used to treat the common cold, fever, gastrointestinal issues, and menstrual cramps, and to stimulate labor.

It has been noted that “…the raspberry leaf herb is the best known and oldest of all the herb infusions and is included as a proven aid in maternity in the most ancient of herbal books.”


Even though there may be limited research on the use of raspberry leaf, it has long traditional use. Raspberry leaf may be helpful in easing symptoms of PMS, strengthening the uterus, and shortening labor. More human clinical studies are needed to confirm these traditional uses.

As always, it is recommended to consult with a qualified health practitioner before adding raspberry leaf to your regimen, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have an existing medical condition.

Bennett, R. R. (2014). The gift of healing herbs. North Atlantic Books: Berkeley, CA.

Berger, J. (1998). Herbal rituals. St. Martin’s Press: New York, NY.

Gardner, Z. & McGuffin, M. (2013). Botanical safety handbook (2nd ed.). American Herbal Products Association.

Hoffman, D. (2003). Medical herbalism: The science and practice of herbal medicine. Healing Arts Press: Rochester, VT.

Romm, Aviva. (2018). Botanical medicine for women’s health (2nd ed.). Elsevier, Inc: St. Louis, MO.

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About Tara Bassi, MS, CNS, LDN

Tara is a Licensed Nutritionist and Clinical Herbalist, specializing in women’s health. She has a Master’s of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Herbal Medicine from Maryland University of Integrative Health and is a Board Certified Nutrition Specialist (CNS®).