What do we know about raspberry leaf?

  • Bowman R
  • Davis D
  • Ferguson S
  • et al.
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Background: Midwives and women have been using raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) to help birth since at least the 6th Century. Recent surveys tell us that raspberry leaf use is still prevalent all over the world. Research from Melbourne identified that over a third of Australian women are taking herbal supplements to help their birth, with the most common being Raspberry Leaf. While there is a long history of anecdotal use, women are taking Raspberry Leaf in their pregnancy without any clinical evidence for efficacy or safety. Objective(s): This integrative review aims to examine the potential pharmaceutical properties of raspberry leaf and the diversity of its use with an emphasis on pregnancy. Method(s): An integrative review of the available research was conducted. Five databases were explored - Scopus, CINAHL Plus, Medline, Cochrane Library and Web of Science using the search terms raspberry leaf, pregnant, labour, labor, uterus, uterine, birth. Traditional herbal texts, a bibliographic search of retrieved reports, and an analysis of citations of retrieved refences were also included. Articles included in this integrative review were assessed using validated tools. Finding(s): While there was no high-level evidence for raspberry leaf influencing women's birth outcomes, there is some evidence of an effect in animals. This included both uterine contraction and effect on offspring. There is a diverse variety of regimes being used by both women and midwives in the prescription of raspberry leaf use. There is also a theoretical basis upon which to suspect raspberry leaf may influence iron absorption and other pregnancy related conditions. Conclusion(s): These findings are important to women, midwives, practitioners, policy makers, governing bodies and researchers, providing a clearer understanding of the potential of raspberry leaf to influence pregnancy. This may provide perspective to current debates regarding the regulation, education and funding given to research on raspberry leaf use in pregnancy.Copyright © 2019




Bowman, R., Davis, D., Ferguson, S., & Taylor, J. (2019). What do we know about raspberry leaf? Women and Birth, 32, S26. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wombi.2019.07.225

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