Miss Raspberry! Please tell me, why O why are you so prickly yet so tasty! Miss Strawberry doesn’t behave like you, she is so bountiful and she doesn’t be so prickly. “Please understand kind person,” said Miss Raspberry, “I may be pretty, but I don’t come cheap.”
It is frankly no surprise that raspberries have been used for so long for so many purposes, for a start, its fruit is a treat to your taste buds, a melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness that nobody can deny.
It is also no surprise to find out that the ancient Chinese, Greeks, native American Indians and Indian ayurvedics all have used raspberry in the treating of many conditions over thousands of years. Over its history, it has been used in the same manner as blackberry, and in ‘general’ can be used interchangably too. In many ways, Miss Raspberry lived in Blackberry’s shadow, but in modern times she has come out to stand rightfully on her own.
Also, in the ancient times the raspberry bush grew abundantly on Mount Ida – Kazdağı, in Turkey and from here it gained its Latin name, Rubus idaeus – ‘Rubus’ coming from the Latin to mean ‘bramble’, and ‘idaeus’ because it came from Mt. Ida.
Raspberry – Rubus idaeus, part of the rose family, is a native of the northern hemisphere and is well known for its wonderful and most delicious fruit, ranging from pink to red cone shaped fruits that have tremendous flavour. Yes I know, I keep raving about the flavour, BUT, it also has a wonderful ability to add colour, texture and richness to any dessert, drink, smoothie or beverage, and a few other interesting meals if your daring enough. I have heard of omelettes.
Raspberries have so many culinary uses, and as discussed earlier they are fantastic in desserts and drinks of all sorts, adding good nutrition to your diet. So I have decided here, not to suggest any cooking recipes as there are just so many in books and on the internet, that I didn’t feel it was necessary to share any.
Raspberry Herbal tea
Raspberry tea can be drunk just for the pleasure of it, but it can also be used medicinally internally for diarrhoea, menstrual issues, gargles and nausea, and when cooled, externally on burns, wound and as a wash for sore and tired eyes.
- Place 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh finely chopped raspberry leaf in to cup
- Pour in boiling hot water
- Allow to steep for 3 to 4 minutes
- Strain out the leaf
- Add some sweetner if needed such as honey, stevia or erythritol
- And enjoy
This vinegar preserves the vitamin C and other constituents found in the fruit. Drinking a little during cold and flu season may help prevent them, and can also be used as a gargle and mouthwash.
- Gather enough bought or fresh organic raspberries to fill your chosen glass bottle
- Fill and cover with a cider vinegar
- Seal and store in a cool place for about three to four days
- Give a little shake each day
- Strain and reseal into a suitable sized glass bottle
- Label and store in a cool dark place
- For prevention of winter chills, take 1 to 2 teaspoons with some warm water each day
- For a gargle or mouthwash: prepare a mix of 3 parts water and 1 part raspberry vinegar. You can drink at this concentration if you already have a cold or flu too.
A Perfect Lady’s Herb
Apart from every girl loving raspberries, raspberry is a herb made in heaven for the women of this world, as it is up there with Chaste tree, Peony root, Cramp bark and Shatavari and oils like Evening primrose oil. Apart from weddings there isn’t a more stressful time than becoming a mother and then the baby arrives! No wonder so many women hit a wall when they become a first time mum, they are not weak, its just so much. Not to mention hormones, and everybody’s an expert too.
A little Story
Having kids can be rough; when my wife became a first time mum it really hit her, There I was at work, welding up farming equipment in the middle of the day and all of a sudden the wife of the manager of the firm comes and tells me that I need to go home. Why? Because my wife had just rang her in tears, totally distraught, so upset that her baby boy just wouldn’t stop crying. So off I went, and even though I couldn’t do much, at least I was there to support her, and at least it wasn’t serious, — she cried because she cared. (By the way, they gave me the rest of the day off with pay. (Thanks Irene and Ian.)
Sometimes women don’t want answers, mostly just a listening ear and to care.
Tears are more precious than makeup, that’s why they shine through –Herbal Panda
Raspberry Leaf or Fruit
When it comes to being ‘therapetic’, that is, having an affect on a person, it is the leaf that is most important, yes, the fruit does have benefits, but if you really want to make something happen, it is the leaf we need. Thankfully the leaf of the bush is available most of the time, that is, more than the fruit. Both fresh or dried leaf can be used in teas or decoctions and tinctures, plus, you can take the powder in capsules or mixed into smoothies.
Raspberry leaf for Women
Raspberry leaf is great for ‘that time of the month’, as it is said that it helps to decrease a profuse menstrual flow as well as reducing painful menstruation and helps to regulate its flow as well. Raspberry leaf has a high iron content, therefore helping during iron loss.
Raspberry leaf for Childbirth
The suggestions given below are NOT medical advice, you should always check with your health care professional first. If you have had serious issues before with pregnancies, then you may be best to avoid it altogether. It is only given as educational and for informational purposes only.
Now getting back to the point of the story I was eluding to earlier, I believe that raspberry leaf can be used quite regularly by women for their benefit, but when is it the most helpful for motherhood? I would say from one to two months before attemping to conceive, “Skipping the first trimester” then right through to one to two months after birth.
The Mum to be, can take one to three cups a day of raspberry leaf tea, right up until conception. Always have this confirmed by a Medical Health Professional.
Conception to the Second Trimester
Completely avoid raspberry leaf in any form in the first trimester. Only use raspberry during the first trimester under strict guidance of a good health care professional never self treat.
From the Second Trimester to Third Trimester
During the second trimester, only take one cup on two different days of the week, for example, one on a Monday and one on a Thursday, it doesn’t have to be those days of course, so long as you keep them a couple days apart.
Third trimester to the last week before expected Birth
When you have reached the beginning of your third trimester, then you can have two cups of raspberry leaf tea per day. Take this until the last week ‘before’ the expected birth. You can add nettles to the tea if you are anaemic.
The Last week before Birth
Only in the last week before birth add two to three cloves to each cup of tea. Do not take cloves during the pregnancy, except for the ‘last week’.
Have a large flask of raspberry leaf tea ready, and during the labour process you can drink freely. (It is your birthing, not the hospital’s, you have the right to have it as you like!) This can be mixed with any of your favourite relaxing herbs, such as Chamomile, Lemon balm or Linden flowers. (Some people are allergic to linden.)
Add Fennel seeds to the raspberry leaf tea as this helps with milk production, amongst other things. If your milk production is sufficient, then you should stop, retake if you are dropping off again and you still want to keep feeding. You also add: Goat’s rue and Fenugreek too.
How to Grow Raspberry
Raspberry is a perennial that is decidious, that produces delicious fruit in the summer into autumn. It can be a rather vigorous and invasive plant and can grow into a dense spreading mass, and at times possibly considered impenetrable, if let go. Grow it in full sun in well-draining, loamy, rich and loose soil, and add either plenty of compost or mulch to the surface. Avoid clay and salty soils. Be aware, that ‘Primocane’ stems can pop out all over the place, but these are the best to take cuttings and root stock from not the floricanes, although they do work.
Apart from growing heaps of delicious fruit that you can just eat straight off the bush, making wonderful dishes and desserts, drinks and beverages, the raspberry bush can be trained up trellises, over pergolas and other structures to act as wind breaks, sun shades and visual screens to gain privacy from neighbours, and have that secluded spot to rest. Also if placed carefully, trained and pruned well, they can be a thing of beauty, both in large pots and in garden. You could plant it in a spot to ‘intentionally’ let go wild, therefore making a hard to climb through hedge or barrier.
- Sow seeds in a pot in mid- winter and keep indoors if you are in very cold climates, but not in snow or frozen ground of course
- make holes in the mix about 2.5cm /1″ deep
- Put one to two seeds into each hole
- Cover and fill in with sand
- Cover with a hessian bag or similar and put in cool place e.g. in the shade
- Keep soil moist but not wet
- In about a month and a half you should see leaves
- When thy ehave at least four leaves transplant them into separate pots
- When about 30cm / 1′ high transplant them into the ground
- Water them in well and mulch to 7.5cm / 3″ deep
- Train the branches as they grow
From Root Stock
- If your root stock is dry, soak them for a couple of hours before planting
- Plant about 8cm / 3″ below the soil
- Plant the root stock about 60cm / 2′ apart
- If planting in rows, keep the rows about 2.4 to 3.6m / 8′ to 12′ apart
- Back fill each root stock and well water in, not flood in
- Train as they grow
You can progagate from first year canes by fixing the ends into the ground via a tent peg or similar.
Good companions to raspberries are garlic, tansy, rue, turnip, marigold and even pine trees due to their pine needles helping to acidify the soil, as raspberries like a pH of 5.5 to 6.5.
Bad companions are members of the deadly nightshade family, such as, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplant, peppers, also they are not good neighbours to strawberries and fennel doesn’t seem to like anybody much except for Dill.
Raspberry Pests are Aphids, Raspberry fruit worms and Raspberry beetle, Red-necked cane borers, Raspberry cane borer, Raspberry crown borer, Japanese beetles, Spider mites, Tarnished plant bugs, Thrips, Squash bugs (rare), Vinegar flies and Birds, which can be avoided by covering with mesh. Otherwise encouarge preditory insects, such as lady bugs, green lacewings, wasps, dragonflies, spiders and birds when there is no fruit, or spray with a neem oil/water mix if getting out of control.
Some diseases are: Sooty mould, Raspberry mosaic virus, Cane blight, Spur blight, Fire blight, Gray mould, Raspberry leaf spot, Yellow rust, Phytophthora root rot, Verticillium wilt, Raspberry ring spot, and Leaf curl. Generally these can be avoided by hygenic pruning, good ventilation, plenty of sunlight, good trellising and well-draining soil and just enough water to the ground.
Pick the fruit during mid-summer onwards into early autumn and during the mornings and only pick fruit that comes off easily with a very light tug. If selling, protect greatly against damage due to handling and stacking and rough transport, and keep cool and sell quickly as they don’t keep very long.
Leaves can be picked anytime, but may be better just before blossoming, as this would collect the energy before it is directed into the flowers and then steer the energy into the flowers and then fruit, collecting the energy before it shifts into the reproduction process. Make sure you are collecting healthy leaves that are of similar colour, and after all the moisture has dried off, cut with snips or a sharp knife or carefully pick off with your fingers, don’t strip the plant of its leaves. Make sure that there are no defects, from insect damage, discolouration, fungi damage, and free from insects, such as spiders and aphids and insect eggs.
Simply place the leaves on clean paper towelling or on clean dry kitchen towels in a well ventilated room until brittle.
The fruit does not store for long, unless using a freezer, so you may be better off just eating them off the bush or follow the raspberry vinegar mentioned above.
When thoroughly dry and feel brittle, place them into sealable airtight glass jars, label and date, and store in a cool, dry and dark place.
The information below is for informational and education purposes only. So please do not “self-treat”. When seeking any ‘therapeutic’ advice always see a Qualified Health Care Professional first.
Raspberry, European wild raspberry, American red raspberry, Bramble of Mt. Ida, Hindberry, common or Red raspberry
Mostly the leaf, but the fruit can be used and sometimes the root
Daily minimum to maximum dosage: 2.0 – 6.0 grams
Astringent, febrifuge, partus preparator, uterine tonic, smooth muscle stimulant, parturifacient, refrigerant, anti-spasmodic, alterative and antidiarrhoeal
Preparation for labour, dysmenorrhoea, morning sickness – second trimester, acute diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, diarrhoea, stomatitis. Topically for: inflammation of the throat and mouth, tonsillitis, conjunctivitis, and pharyngitis. Plus, Uterine prolapse, uterine haemorrhage, and gastrointestinal bleeding
Flavonoids – rutin and quercetin, tannins – gallotannins and dimeric ellagitannins, volatile oils, vitamin C and organic acids – gallic acid
DO NOT use in first trimester, use only in second and third trimesters. Don’t use with mineral supplements or with constipation
Has been confused with bramble or blackberry leaf
Please remember, this blog cannot and should not replace a health care professional, and is for informational and educational purposes only and is not for medical advice or treatment, and no cure is implied in anyway. If you have a known serious condition, or are pregnant, please consult your health care professional, before use.
Russell a.k.a Herbal Panda