Herb: Raspberry


Latin name: Rubus idaeus


Family: Rosaceae (Rose Family)



Medicinal use of Raspberry:

Antiemetic. The leaves and roots are anti-inflammatory, astringent, decongestant, ophthalmic, oxytocic and stimulant. A tea made from them is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, as a tonic for the uterus to strengthen pregnant women, and as an aid in childbirth. The tea has also been shown as effective in relieving painful menstrual cramps. The active ingredients both stimulate and relax the uterus. They can be used during the last three months of pregnancy and during childbirth, but should not be used earlier. Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use. The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Deciduous
Shrub

Height:
2 m
(6 1/2 foot)

Flovering:
June to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Moist neglected land, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Edible parts of Raspberry:

Fruit - raw or cooked. Delicious when eaten out of hand, the fruit is also used in pies, preserves etc. Root - cooked. The root, which should be neither too young nor too old, requires a lot of boiling. Young shoots - peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring and whilst they are still tender. A herb tea is made from the dried leaves. Another report says that a type of tea made from raspberry and blackberry leaves is an excellent coffee substitute.

Other uses of the herb:

A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. A fibre obtained from the stems is used in making paper. The stems are harvested in the summer after the fruit has been eaten, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then hand beaten with mallets or ball milled for 3 hours. The paper is light brown in colour. A decongestant face-mask made from the fruit is used cosmetically to soothe reddened skin.

Propagation of Raspberry:

Seed - requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3C and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist neglected land, hedgerows and woodland edges.

Known hazards of Rubus idaeus:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.