Natural health: Raspberry leaf tea benefits

Q. I still have raspberry leaf tea left over from my pregnancy, I used it to help during the third trimester, and I was wondering if it is useful to keep drinking it now?

A. The short answer is a resounding yes. Red Raspberry Leaf (Rubus idaeus) has been used for centuries for a number of conditions — and not all pregnancy-related either. 

Raspberry leaf is rich in vitamins and minerals, and is a wonderful tonic post-partum, not only to help heal and tone the uterus after childbirth, but also to enrich the quality and quantity of breastmilk while nursing your baby. It is high in organic iron, easily assimilated and utilised, which is often in short supply after a pregnancy.

One of the reasons why this plant has been indicated widely for female reproductive health is because it contains oestrogen-like compounds that support and balance the hormones without harmful side-effects. 

Obviously this is a herbal remedy that is closely linked with pregnancy, in particular the third trimester when the mother is doing all that she can to prepare the uterus for the birthing process. 

It has been used historically throughout the entirety of pregnancy, particularly to help with nausea in the early stages, however there have been concerns that this many encourage contractions and increase the risk of miscarriage when taken before 36 weeks.

While there is no direct indication that raspberry leaf tea will trigger a miscarriage — it is used in many cultures to lower the risk of spontaneous abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy — any woman who is concerned should not use it until the last month or so of pregnancy to be on the safe side.

Besides female reproductive health, raspberry leaf is wonderful for thyroid regulation, balancing blood sugar levels, improving the condition of skin, hair, and nails, and as an effective cold and flu remedy. However, you need to begin taking it as soon as you notice the onset of cold and flu symptoms.

Q. My grandmother is always saying “rosemary to remember” — is there any truth in this? Or is this just an old wives’ tale?

A. Scientists have actually discovered more than 20 different antioxidants in rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), which will certainly help to neutralise free-radicals and toxins in our bodies.

The antioxidant profile of this hardy perennial means that rosemary is a wonderful tonic herb with rejuvenating properties, good for sharpening the mind and slowing the effects of ageing on the body. 

You can take it as an infusion (made with 1 teaspoon dry herb, or 1-2 teaspoons fresh herb, to one cup of water) to improve concentration, memory, and protect the brain from degeneration. Take up to three cups daily.

Rosemary is also a wonderful herb for pain relief, as it is both warming and invigorating. It helps to improve circulation, both as a tea and as a herbal poultice or rub. 

When taken internally, these stimulating properties benefit digestion and help optimise the digestion and absorption of nutrients while facilitating the removal of toxins from the body.

Rosemary is a well-known addition to many foods — and it goes well with rich or starchy foods since it functions as a digestive aid.

Externally, rosemary tea can be used to reduce bags under the eyes and is said to reduce wrinkles. Chewing the fresh leaves sweetens the breath and helps to fight and prevent bacterial infection in the mouth.

The fresh leaves crushed and rubbed on the temples and nape of the neck can do wonders for tension headaches — and if you are finding yourself fighting mid-afternoon drowsiness, take a rosemary sprig to work and crush it between your fingertips to awaken your mind.

If your child suffers bad dreams or frequent night terrors, a sprig of rosemary under the pillow can work wonders. Don’t put it inside the pillowcase on the top side though, or you could have a highly alert child on your hands.


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