Friday, 12 December 2008

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without Labour

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourWe all know about raspberries, as I cast my mind back to having many a feast of raspberry vines in the garden. The red stained hands and the seeds used to get stuck in our teeth, and still do. Never for a moment did we ever consider the use for the raspberry leaf herb. These were always left to drop of in the autumn and rot back into the ground. The leaves have a wide range of medicinal benefits and can be used fresh or dried in herbal and medicinal teas and as an alcoholic drink.

The leaves of the raspberry plant have been used as a medicinal herb going back many centuries. It is now known to have many beneficial properties including a tonic for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. It is believed that if the raspberry leaves tonic is taken daily in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy it will help to prepare the uterine muscles for labour and thereby make the process of childbirth a little easier.

Other areas of pregnancy reap the benefits of raspberry leaves as it can help ease the symptoms of morning sickness, sooth and reduce the bleeding of gums, a common ailment with pregnant women. It produces a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium factor is the key element to helping with pregnancy labour process. Raspberry leaf also possesses vitamins B1, B3 and E which all benefit and aid pregnancy.

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourPregnancy aside, raspberry leaves can also bring relief to sore throats and reduce fever. Commercially you can get raspberry leaves in tablet form, loose tea leave and in teabags. There are also commercially produced alcoholic tinctures which contain the raspberry leaf herb

The raspberry plant is generally bought or planted from propagating the suckers. If you want o grow some yo need to put the the plants about two hand spans apart and form rows. You should plant the rows around 1 1/2 to 2 metres apart as if too close the fruit won't be as good.

A good strong loam soil is ideal as raspberries don't like light soil. Cut down all the old wood that has produced fruit in October and shorten the young shoots to about 1/2 metre in height. The between between the rows should be dug up well and a little fertiliser added. No further care is needed other than a little weeding in the summer. Replace plantations every four years to get the best crops.

It is always my view that growing and making your own herbs and tonics is far better than spending gross amounts of money for commercially produced ones. Your own raspberry leaf herbs can easily be dried yourself and turned into a herbal tea. Raspberry tea actually tastes a bit like conventional black tea, not raspberries, but smells fresher. The other advantage is that there is no caffeine.

Try to pick young fresh raspberry leaves and any sprouts that you see appearing. If you leave them in a sunny position for a few days your leaves will have dried and ready for use.

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourLike any herb tea, the process is the same one teaspoon of dried raspberry leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 - 15 minutes, strain and add a sweetener can be sugar or honey. Your homemade dried raspberry leaves will keep in fine condition is in an airtight container and should see you through to the next season where you repeat the process - Oh the beauty of nature and the cycle of seasons!

Just a last suggestion is to try experimenting with other dried herbs as a mix with the dried raspberry leaves, you may come up with a unique tea to your own taste. I have tried raspberry and mint and added a touch of lemon to the finished tea - it was a great surprise.

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