Using Red Raspberry Leaf Tea To Improve Fertility
Red raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus) has been used as a natural remedy for hundreds of years. It has many benefits, both internally and externally. Many women will have used it in late pregnancy as it is supposed to ease labour. What is less known is its function in helping to improve fertility in the first place.
The red raspberry is native to Europe, Asia and North America. The fruit itself is delicious and a good source of vitamin C, but it is the leaves that are important here.
Properties Of The Red Raspberry Leaves
Despite its humble appearance, the leaf of the red raspberry hides a multitude of benefits. It contains high levels of minerals, including iron, magnesium and potassium. Vitamins A, C and E are also present, along with some B vitamins.
Although not scientifically proven, red raspberry leaves (RRL) are thought to have many medicinal properties. The leaves are believed to be;
· alterative - substance that restores to normal health
· antispasmodic - prevents/stops muscle spasms
· astringent - restricts secretions of fluids, shrinks/constricts body tissues
· hemostatic - stops bleeding
· stimulant - substance that increases physiological activity
Red Raspberry is also a source of a chemical compound called fragrine, which is supposed to be the "active ingredient" that tones the muscles of the pelvic region, including the uterus.
Helping Your Fertility
After reading Taking Charge of your Fertility by Toni Weschler, I decided to take charge! At this stage my partner and I had been trying to conceive for eight months, without success. Reading the book, I was surprised by how much I didn't know about my own body. I started recording my temperatures and other signs to help me understand my cycle. I found that;
- I have a short luteal phase (This is the period between ovulation and the first day of your period. If it is less than 10 days, it is unlikely that a fertilised ovum will successfully implant in the uterus
- I spot too much, especially before the start of my period. This can be a sign of low progesterone levels
Because at that stage we had been trying to conceive for less than a year, I thought I would try some natural remedies first. Through internet research I learned that a lot of women use RRL to regulate their periods, stop spotting and lengthen their luteal phase. I also read The Fertility Plan by Jill Blakeway and Dr. Sami S. David. In this book, RRL is recommended as it improves blood flow to the uterus and tones the uterus in preparation for pregnancy.
Now, most of the evidence I have found is anecdotal. There have been no major studies (as far as I am aware) that either prove or disprove the claims many people make about RRL. I can only go on my own experience.I have been drinking RRL tea for about 6 months now. I have noticed an improvement in how I feel before my period. I don't suffer as many cramps (Is that the antispasmodic effect?) and I don’t spot as much. My luteal phase has increased by two days but is still a little short. We haven’t conceived yet. Unfortunately, there may be other factors that are affecting our ability to conceive.
I will continue to drink RRL tea as it has helped to regulate my periods and I like the taste. You can also get RRL in tincture and capsule form if you’re not a tea drinker. There seems to be quite a big demand for it as I have seen it on display even in the smallest health food shops. I drink between 3 and 4 cups a day.
Essential reading for any woman who wants to gain better control of her cycle and understand the Fertility Awareness Method in order to achieve pregnancy.
The Fertility Plan combines the best of western and eastern medicine to create a plan for anyone who wants to conceive as naturally as possible.
A Cautionary Word About RRL
Many women use it in the last few weeks of pregnancy as it strengthens the muscles of the uterus in readiness for birth. Some women take it throughout pregnancy. However,in "The Fertility Plan" (Blakeway et David, 2009), it is recommended that you stop taking red raspberry leaf as soon as pregnancy is achieved. This is because some experts believe that red raspberry leaf can induce labour. So if you are not in the last few weeks of your pregnancy it could cause a miscarriage or premature birth. I am not a medical practitioner and therefore I cannot comment on this. In my opinion, it is best to talk to your midwife or doctor if you want to take RRL during pregnancy.
Blakeway, Jill and David, Sami S. "The Fertility Plan" Virago Press, 2009
Weschler, Toni “Taking Charge of your Fertility” Vermiliion, 2003
Cointreau, Maya "Equine Herbs & Healing: An Earth Lodge Guide to Horse Wellness", Earth Lodge, 2005
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