Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
Alkalis, alpha-carotene, alpha-tocopherol, anthocyanin, aronia berry, ascorbic acid, berry phenolics, beta-carotene, calcium, casuarictin, copper, ellagic acid, ellagitannins, epicuticular wax, flavonoids, flavonol, framboise (French), furanones, hydroxycinnamate, iron, kaempferol, kaempferol 3-glucosides, linolenic acid, loratadine, lutein, magnesium, manganese, methyl gallate, miskominaga wunj (Ojibwe), omega 3, oo na joo kwa (Mohawk), omega 3, phosphorus, phytochemicals, phytonutrients, polyphenolic components, quercetin, quercetin glycosides, raspberry ketone, raspberry seeds oil, raspberry leaf, raspberry leaf tea, red raspberry, resveratrol, Rosaceae (family), Rubus, Rubus arcticus, Rubus arizonensis, Rubus deliciosus, Rubus discolor, Rubus idaeus, Rubus idaeus ssp. Strigosus, Rubus laciniatus, Rubus leucodermis, Rubus neomexicanus, Rubus occidentalis, Rubus parviflorus, Rubus spectabilis, Rubus strigosus, Rubus ursinus, salicylates, sanguin H6, tannins, vitamin B, vitamin B1, vitamin C, vitamin E, volatile compounds, western blackberry, xylitol, xyloside, zinc.
Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is cultivated and grows wild throughout temperate climates, including North America and Europe. For several centuries, midwives have used raspberry leaf to stimulate and ease labor. Tea made from raspberry leaves has been used for centuries as a folk medicine to treat wounds, diarrhea, colic pain and as a uterine relaxant. In Bulgaria, the leaves were used for stomach bleeds, diarrhea, vomiting, menstrual problems, and respiratory diseases. In traditional Tibetan medical practices, the fruit and leaves of raspberry are made into an extract or decoction and used as a cure for emotional disturbances, exhaustion, irritability, and chronic infections.
The raspberry fruit is also commonly used as a flavoring, coloring, or food, either fresh or processed into cordials, jams, or preserves. The fruit is also commonly consumed for its antioxidants. Raspberry flowers have also been used for pimples, hemorrhoids, malaria, and as a poultice for eye inflammations.
Raspberry leaf is used during pregnancy and labor today, but there are few studies supporting this use. Raspberry may also be useful in cancer treatment or prevention, or as an antimicrobial. More research is needed to confirm these findings.
In the early 1990s, raspberries imported to the United States from Guatamala were infected with the Cyclospora parasite, which caused adverse effects such as fatigue, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea. Periodic outbreaks of the Cyclosporia parasite from imported raspberries continued throughout the next decade. In response to outbreaks, the Centers for Disease Control placed periodic bans on imported raspberries.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Antioxidant (free radical scavenging)
Raspberry contains antioxidants and has antioxidant activity. Raspberry juice may have beneficial effects on exercise recovery. Additional study is needed to make a firm recommendation.
Raspberry leaf has been traditionally used during pregnancy and childbirth to improve labor. Early study shows that raspberry leaf may be safe for both mother and child. More studies are needed to make a firm recommendation.
*Key to grades:A: Strong scientific evidence for this use; B: Good scientific evidence for this use; C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use; D: Fair scientific evidence against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.
Acne, aging, alcohol intoxication (recovery), analgesic (pain reliever), anemia, antimutagenic (inhibiting mutations), antibacterial/antifungal, antiviral, anxiety, asthma, astringent, atherosclerosis, bile flow stimulation, bowel disorders (laxity), burns, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disorders, cleanser (blood), colic, diaphoretic (induces sweating), diarrhea, digestion, digestive disorders, diuretic, dysentery, dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation), exhaustion, expectorant, eye inflammation, fertility, fetal development (birth defects), fever, flavoring agent, food uses, galactagogue (promotes the flow of milk), gastric disorders (bleeding), gum disease, Helicobacter pylori infection, hemorrhage, herpes virus, inflammation, influenza, infections (chronic), irritability, laxative, malaria, measles, menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding), menstrual cramps, menstrual problems, mental health, mental illness (neurosis), miscarriage prevention, muscle relaxant, nausea, nausea/vomiting (pregnancy), neurasthenia (nervous exhaustion), nutrition supplementation, obesity, osteoporosis prevention, pain, respiratory disease, respiratory disorders, rheumatism (chronic), sedative, skin inflammation, skin rash, snake bites, snoring, sore throat, stimulant, stomachache, thirst, urinary tract disorders, uterine tonic, varicose veins, viral infection (febrile stages), vomiting, weight loss, wounds.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
Adults (18 years and older)
Based on scientific evidence, raspberry leaf tablets (2 x 1.2 grams per day) from 32 weeks gestation until labor has been used, and appears safe for childbirth. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before making decisions about dosing.
Traditionally, raspberry leaf tea (1 ounce of the dried leaves infused in a pint of boiling water) and gargled has been used for sore mouth, sore throat or wounds. Dehydrated raspberry fruit, crushed and made into a tea, has also been taken for viral infections. For diarrhea or dysentery, 1 cup of strong tea of raspberry leaves or root at body temperature ingested every hour until symptoms decrease has been used.
Children (under 18 years old)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for raspberry, and use in children is not recommended.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy to raspberry (Rubusidaeus). Occupational asthma (hay fever symptoms, wheezing, and shortness of breath) occurred in a 35 year-old, after chewing gum coated with raspberry powder. Use cautiously in patients with asthma.
Side Effects and Warnings
Side effects of raspberry appear to be minimal, although the lack of clinical trials investigating raspberry makes it difficult to assess its safety. Raspberries are likely safe when used in amounts normally found in food in healthy individuals.
Most adverse effects appear to arise from contaminated fruits, which can cause gastrointestinal upset, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, paralyzing fatigue, and fever. Symptoms appear to come on suddenly, last up to a month, and resemble signs of severe stomach influenza. Cyclosporiasis associated with contaminated raspberries has been reported. Always thoroughly wash raspberries before ingestion.
Contaminated raspberries may also carry Norwalk-like viruses (NLVs), estimated to be the most common causes of foodborne disease in the United States and accounting for two-thirds of all food-related illnesses. NLVs are a principal cause of outbreaks of acute onset vomiting and diarrhea in all age groups.
Raspberry roots and leaves may be mild laxatives. They may also increase urine flow or have sedative effects. Methadone diluted with contaminated raspberry syrup may be a potential source of candidiasis in drug abusers.
Raspberry leaf may induce labor. However, a clinical trial using raspberry leaf tablets reported no adverse effects.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Raspberry leaf may induce labor. However, a clinical trial using raspberry leaf tablets reported no adverse effects. More study is needed in this area before a recommendation can be made.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.
Interactions with Drugs
Raspberry may have antibiotic activity and interact additively with clarithromycin. Caution is advised. Consult with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, before combining therapies.
Raspberry contains antioxidants. Use with caution when taking other medications that also have antioxidant effects.
Raspberry roots and leaves may be a mild diuretic, and increase the flow of urine. Patients taking medications that increase the flow of urine, such as bumetanide (Bumex®) or chlorothiazide (Diuril®), should use raspberry with caution. Raspberry may also have laxative properties, and care should be taken when using with other laxatives.
Certain extracts of dried raspberry leaves may relax muscles. Use caution in patients taking medications that may have sedative, relaxing, or antispasmotic effects.
Raspberries may contain salicylates. Caution is advised when taking medications that contain high amounts of salicylates, such as aspirin.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Raspberry may have antibiotic activity. Raspberry also contains antioxidants. In theory, raspberry may interact additively with herbs and supplements that also have antibiotic or antioxidant effects. Caution is advised.
Raspberry roots and leaves may be a mild diuretic, and increase the flow of urine. Patients taking herbs and supplements that increase the flow of urine should use raspberry with caution. Raspberry may also have laxative properties, and care should be taken with other herbs and supplement with these effects, such as psyllium.
Certain extracts of dried raspberry leaves may relax muscles. Use caution in patients taking other herbs and supplements that may have sedative, relaxing, or antispasmotic effects.
Raspberries may contain salicylates. Caution is advised when taking herbs and supplements that contain high amounts of salicylates, such as willow bark.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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Beekwilder J, Jonker H, Meesters P, et al. Antioxidants in raspberry: on-line analysis links antioxidant activity to a diversity of individual metabolites. J Agric.Food Chem 5-4-2005;53(9):3313-3320. View Abstract
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Mullen W, Lean ME, Crozier A. Rapid characterization of anthocyanins in red raspberry fruit by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to single quadrupole mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr.A 8-9-2002;966(1-2):63-70. View Abstract
Nohynek LJ, Alakomi HL, Kahkonen MP, et al. Berry phenolics: antimicrobial properties and mechanisms of action against severe human pathogens. Nutr Cancer 2006;54(1):18-32. View Abstract
Proteggente AR, Pannala AS, Paganga G, et al. The antioxidant activity of regularly consumed fruit and vegetables reflects their phenolic and vitamin C composition. Free Radic.Res 2002;36(2):217-233. View Abstract
Puupponen-Pimia R, Nohynek L, Hartmann-Schmidlin S, et al. Berry phenolics selectively inhibit the growth of intestinal pathogens. J Appl.Microbiol. 2005;98(4):991-1000. View Abstract
Rice-Evans. The Antioxidant Activity of Regularly Consumed Fruit and Vegetables Reflects their Phenolic and Vitamin C Composition. Free Radical Research 2002;36(2):217-233.
Wang SY, Lin HS. Antioxidant activity in fruits and leaves of blackberry, raspberry, and strawberry varies with cultivar and developmental stage. J Agric.Food Chem 2000;48(2):140-146. View Abstract
Zafrilla P, Ferreres F, Tomas-Barberan FA. Effect of processing and storage on the antioxidant ellagic acid derivatives and flavonoids of red raspberry (Rubus idaeus) jams. J Agric.Food Chem. 2001;49(8):3651-3655. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.
March 22, 2017