When I was pregnant with my 6th child, I used a midwife instead of an OB. My midwife introduced me to raspberry leaf tea as a beneficial pregnancy herb tea, particularly during the final 2 trimesters. Prior to this, I had never even heard of raspberry leaf tea. My only exposure to anything similar was herbal raspberry tea and I quickly learned that this was not the same thing.
Raspberry leaf tea is just that: tea made from the dried leaves of the red raspberry plant (rubus idaeus). The raspberry plant is rich in vitamin A, C, E and some B complex. Increased vitamin A can help aid the mother’s immune system and help the growth of healthy skin and bone development in the baby. Vitamin E helps with blood circulation, which is crucial for a pregnant mother. (Did you know that a pregnant mother’s blood volume increases 50% during pregnancy?)
Red raspberry leaf also contains high amounts of phosphorous and potassium which are easily metabolized into calcium. An increased availability of calcium is important because calcium helps control nerve response to pain during labor. I don’t know about you, but that’s important to me.
The biggest benefit for pregnancy that is associated with raspberry leaf pregnancy herb tea is that it is known to be a great tonic for toning and strengthening the uterus. This is the reason it’s been used for centuries by pregnant women. This benefit is due to the content of “fragrine,” which is an alkaloid that helps your uterus produce more powerful and effective contractions. This means achieving your goal of holding your new baby that much sooner. No use in going through the pain of contractions that are not doing the job of opening up our cervix, right?
Prior to going into labor, most of us experience those practice contractions, known as “Braxton Hicks.” They can be irritating at best. But with the help of raspberry leaf pregnancy herb tea, those Braxton Hicks contractions could actually be helping to prepare our uterus for labor, not just remind us that it is coming.
The benefits of the tea do not stop during labor, but have also been known to continue to work after we give birth. Once our uterus has contracted enough to open up our cervix and we push that baby out, it then has to continue working to contract back down to its normal size. Because of the richness of vitamins and minerals, it can also help your milk supply to be plentiful and come in quickly.
You can now find different sorts of pre-packaged pregnancy tea that contains raspberry leaf and other herbs that are safe in pregnancy. But, I still prefer the loose leaf variety. My midwife always had bags on hand for her clients. Now that I am pregnant with my 7th child and in my 3rd trimester, all of the benefits of raspberry leaf tea are my focus again. Unfortunately, I live in a different part of the country than my former midwife, so I have had to come up with my own recipe for raspberry leaf tea. All of these ingredients can be ordered online or purchased at your local co-op or health food store.
Pregnancy Herb Tea Recipe
8 parts red raspberry leaf
3 parts alfalfa (Alfalfa is high in Vitamin A and K which help with blood clotting)
3 parts peppermint leaf (Peppermint goes a long way to help flavor the tea. It has also widely been used to help with digestion and relaxation)
2 parts nettle leaf (Nettle leaf is known as a blood purifier)
2 parts dandelion (This is optional. The benefits of dandelion are to help purify the blood, and it is particularly good for anemic moms. The other benefit is that it helps to purify the liver. The benefit of adding this is to help prevent jaundice in your newborn.)
If you want just 1 cup of hot tea, add 1-2 tsp of the mixture to 1 c boiling water. Let it steep and then strain for 5-10 minutes. You can sweeten as desired. It’s great with honey!
My favorite way to drink it is iced. I like to make a big pitcher and store it in my fridge.
To make a pitcher: Use 4 T of the mixture to 8 c of boiling water. I like to let mine steep as long as I can (usually 1-2 hours.) Strain it into your pitcher. If you find it too strong, add water as desired. You can pre-sweeten the whole thing, or just sweeten it cup by cup. Serve over ice and enjoy.
This is a great way to keep your water intake up, as well. To be sure you’re getting the recommended amount of water per day – in pregnancy – double your weight and that’s how many ounces/day you should be drinking. (Yes, that much!) Because Pregnancy Herb Tea is herbal and non-caffeinated, you can substitute it for water.
That reminds me, I need to brew another pot of Raspberry Leaf Pregnancy Herb Tea. I hope you will, too!
**Disclaimer: Because of the sensitive nature of the pregnant mother’s body, and the risks at stake, please know that the FDA of the United States government has neither endorsed nor substantiated any of these claims. Before drinking this pregnancy herb tea or changing your diet while pregnant, do consult with your health care professional before partaking, for your own safety and your baby’s.**
By: Tasha Hussey
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