Thursday, 22 March 2012

Leaves? Anyone? Raspberry leaves?......

For some, this is not breaking news.

For some, it may be life changing.

For some, it already HAS changed their lives.

REALLY? Life-changing?

Ohhhhhh yes!

Now, I am not the world's top promoter of all things "natural" or "herbal".

I certainly don't want to get into a debate about such things!

(As a slight aside, one of my top tips is Arnica cream, for bumps and bruises.)

However, that is not the main theme of this post.

It's raspberries.

Well, not ACTUALLY much as I love them...

 (I had to scroll down quite a way, having googled "picture of raspberries", to find one with cream and chocolate! *whistles* )

As much as raspberries are good, it's the LEAVES I am about to wax lyrical about!

"sorry, did I hear you correctly?...LEAVES?"   I may hear you ask...


It still amazes me how many ladies have not heard of using such a thing.  You can have it in tea form, or if you find herbal teas rather vile (*bleugh*), you can take it in capsule form.

So, why on EARTH would I suggest you take raspberry leaf?

Well, I should really have started by saying that this post is for those who are still having menstrual cycles, or for those who are pregnant.

So, off you toddle, you men who read my blog....(well, I certainly know of ONE man that does...he may have already decided this one wasn't for know who you are....).

All other ladies, stay - you may have someone you can tell about this, and help them immensely in the process!

I didn't really know much about this until my 5th pregnancy.  I had heard a little, but not really taken it regularly, so it didn't do much.  But, with my 5th, I tried to take it regularly.

Why?  Well, it's supposed to tone your uterus, and help with the 2nd stage of labour. It is also supposed to help the uterus reduce after giving birth and help with after pains as well.

So, less pushing...less bulgy tummy...less pain when feeding...

Sound good?

Read on!

The thing is, there isn't a lot of research on the matter...only a LOT of ladies who can tell you that it made a difference to them.

With my 5th baby, I didn't get the chance to see if it worked as I had an emergency c-section!  But, I do know I got to 7cm dilation with no pain relief, and coping well between contractions!

Baby number 6, I started taking the tablets at 34 weeks. I  started off taking 3 a day (400mg, I think), and increased it to 6 for the last few weeks.  I was very careful to take them every day, and not be lazy with it.

I then followed the advice of this article...

"The Raspberry Leaf Tea Story

Tea made from raspberry leaves is the best-known herbal aid in pregnancy. Rather than go into all the traditional lore about this herb, we present the following lengthy account, because it is both contemporaneous and highly specific.

"My mother was born and raised in Scotland, coming to america at the age of 26. Whenever a member of her family became ill or had a health problem, her mother had consulted an herbalist or herb doctor. As a result of this, I was treated with herbs as a child.
"Mother had always told me that red raspberry leaf tea would prevent miscarriage and was excellent for pregnany and chilbirth. When I became pregnant, I immediately sent for some raspberry leaf tea and began taking one cup of it each day, made from one teaspoon of dried leaves added to one cup of boiling water and steeped for 15 minutes. I had a very normal pregnancy. Then I went into labor, I truly expected to have an easy labor and delivery because I had faithfully taken the tea. While it is true that I did not have a complicated or extremely difficult time, it was not by any means easy. The tea had not lived up to my expectations.
"It was not until sometimes after the birth of my daughter that I read a book my mother had brought with her from Scotland entitled Dragged to Light by W.H. Box of Plymouth, England. In it I found the secret of just how to take the tea so it would truly work wonders during labor and delivery. Box said, 'On one ounce of raspberry leaves pour one pint of boiling water, cover and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain, and when the time for delivery is approaching drink the whole as hot as possible.'
"There were a number of testimonials in the book written by women who had used this herb. Several took the strong solution over a period of time before going into labor. They were instructed in that case to take a wineglassful three times a day. They had 'only two stiff pains and it was all over' or 'no after pains and very slight before.' They never made it out of the house. Box's instructions were, 'But those who take the tea considerably before the time should not leave the house when the time is approaching as many mothers are delivered almost suddenly when at their work, to the great veaxtion of doctors and nurses.'
"When I became pregnant again I was determined to try it that way. I still took a cup a day as I had before. but this time when I went into labor I made a strong solution of it as I had read in the book. I put it in a container and took it to the hospital with me. I wasn't sure how quickly it would work and I didn't want to have the baby in the car. I didn't think they'd allow me to drink it in the hospital so I drank half of it in the parking lot. I was afraid to drink all of it as it was so strong and I didn't personally know anyone who had taken it this strong before. I had been having strong contractions but by the time I registered and was taken up to the labor room the contractions were so mild I hardly felt them. Upon examination they said I was ready to deliver and would not even give me an enema. In the delivery room I was quite comfortable and hardly felt anything. One hour after entering the hospital my son was born.
"In the recovery room there were several other young women who had just given birth also. They were moaning abd groaning. I couldn't imagine what they were making a fuss about as I felt like I could have gotten up and gone home. I had always read and heard about women getting after-pains with a second child. I never had even one. This was also the testimony of a number of women who were treated with the tea by Box.
"Later I thought I would have had an easy time anyway since it was my second child. I was anxious for someon else to try it. A friend of mine was expection a baby in a few weeks and she had been taking a cup of the tea daily and was also goig to take the strong solution when she went into labor. She had had two previous pregnancies and both times nearly miscarried and had to take drugs and be in bed a good deal of the time. Both deliveries were extremely difficult. When she became pregnant this time she began spotting and it looked like she would have to go through the same kind of trouble she had before. Having used an herb I had given her for another problem, with success, she asked if there was an herb for this problem and I recommended raspberry leaf tea.
"She started taking it and the spotting stopped immediately and she had a normal pregnancy, much to the amazement of her family who remembered her difficulties in the past. When she went into labor she took the tea as I had and told me she had only 25 minutes of hard labor before her baby was born.
"I have told a number of women about this amazing herb through the years, but no one else seemed interested enough to try it. However, 1978 my daughter became pregnant and she was very much interested in having an easy delivery. She took the tea each day and had a normal pregnancy. She, too, took the strong solution of the tea with her to the hospital and also being a little wary drank only half of it. When the doctor examined her, it was late in the evening. He said the baby wouldn't be born until six o'clock in the the morning so he went hime. She was having hard contractions at this time and I was very disappointed and felt the tea hadn't worked. An hour and a half later we recieved a call from our son-in-law saying we had a little grandson. The tea started working and the doctor had no sooner reached his home when he had to turn around and come right back to the hospital. My daughter said the next time she is going to drink all of the tea." -- I.A., Utah "

(I found this article here )

So, as I take the tablets, not the tea, when I knew I was in labour with Elijah, I downed about 10 tablets in one "sitting"! *gasps*

I carried on to have the best labour I have ever had!  Had I not been continuously monitored (medics being paranoid about me having a VBAC!....*rolls eyes*), which slowed my labour down whilst I lay on the bed, then I believe I would have delivered even quicker!

All my other babies - number 1-4 - I had to push for over 2 hours, 3 out of 4 resulting in assisted deliveries as I just couldn't push them out. I never felt a proper urge to push, as everyone said should happen.

But, baby 6...totally different story! Within about 30-40 minutes of being allowed back up on my feet again after monitoring, I felt the overwhelming urge to push!!! It was the first time for me! And, with no more than about half an hour of pushing (and that wasn't constant....I remember only about 10 decent pushes?), he was born!!!! I felt amazingly better than I ever had straight after giving birth...I even cut his cord myself, as I was alert enough to do it! Normally I would be exhausted ad hardly aware of being handed a baby!  I was amazed at the difference!

The after pains were not as bad as with the others, either.

So, needless to say, I am taking it again, with determined regularity!

What of helping those with painful periods?

I have heard, just recently, of a young girl who was passing out, vomiting and in terrible pain, with every cycle.  She started taking a cup of the tea every day...and when the next cycle came around, she had virtually NO symptoms at all.

Now, again, I cannot give you lots of research on the matter, but I hold a lot to experience! If lots of people can tell you it helped THEM, then it's worth a whirl!

The only research I found, certainly said there is no harm in taking it.

So, there is my experience with it.  I will take the big dose again when I am in labour, and maybe if I don't get strapped to a monitor, things will be even quicker?!

This is the recommended doses I found for pregnancy...

The following guidelines on consuming raspberry leaf during pregnancy have been taken from Parsons (1999):
Tablets - Take two 300mg or 400mg tablets with each meal (three times a day) from 32 weeks.
Teabags - 1st trimester- one cup per day -2nd trimester - two cups per day -3rd trimester - up to 4 to 5 teabag cups throughout the day.
Loose leaf tea - Bring one cup of water to the boil. Remove from heat and add one teaspoon of the herb. Stir, cover and let sit for ten minutes (do not boil the herb), strain and sip. Adding sugar or honey many improve the taste. 2 to 3 cups per day is often recommended especially after 28 weeks of pregnancy.

And the article further up tells you about the concentrated dose for during labour.  

I am not sure about how much to take for helping with period pains, other my friend's daughter taking a cup a day.  It may be a case of just trying it and seeing what works.

Please share if you have found it has helped you!

And, watch this space to see if I have a better labour this time! *grin*  Not much longer now - my due date is 13th of April! :-)


  1. I've already sent for the tablets for C .... I'll let you know if we see any improvement. I sure hope so, poor girl :)

  2. I tried the tea with pregnancy number 4 but ended up being one of my hardest births, due to a constant urge to push! But may try it again if I am blessed with another pregnancy