Wednesday, November 18, 2015

How to Harvest & Preserve Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

When I planted raspberries (Rubus idaeus) on the property back in 2010 it was for the delicious fruit. It was years later while researching natural remedies to ease my menstrual symptoms that I discovered that red raspberry leaf tea is a natural remedy for conditions involving the uterus, including menstrual support and menopause (Native American Medicinal Plants).

Red raspberry leaves have also been used as medicine for centuries for pregnancy and childbirth, astringent for skin irritations, gargle for sore throats, and for diarrhea. Raspberry leaf tea has no known side effects or drug interactions, but it can lower blood sugar and impede with the absorption of some vitamins (Healing Herbs A to Z).

It is not known precisely why Raspberry Leaf tea is so effective for uterine health. Herbalists believe that the presence of tannins and the alkaloid fragarine combined with other nutrients, including calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin B, C, and E help tone and relax the pelvic and uterine muscles (Herbal Healing for Women).

After researching, I felt pretty confident in trying red raspberry leaf tea for my menstrual discomforts, and I had plenty of access to leaves to harvest. After drinking raspberry tea for several months, it relieved a lot of my symptoms, including headache, cramps, and overall energy level and moodiness during that time of the month.

I wasn’t completely convinced until I casually remarked to Kevin that I thought the raspberry leaf tea was helping. The next thing I knew, he was outside in the raspberry patch harvesting more raspberry leaves for me to use. Hmmm….

How to Harvest Raspberry Leaves

Collect raspberry leaves before the plant blooms. Harvest mid-morning after the dew has evaporated and before it the sun is hot to preserve the oils and flavor. Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect yourself from the thorns. Select young, healthy leaves that have not been treated with chemicals and clip them from the cane.

I grow Heritage Raspberries, an everbearing variety that produces two crops each season, a light crop in July followed by a heavy crop in fall. I allow the canes to begin leafing out before pruning the raspberry patch in the spring. I cut whole canes and trim the young leaves off into a bowl as I prune.

How to Dry Raspberry Leaves

Wash leaves and drain or pat dry. Spread the leaves out on a screen and allow them to dry naturally away from dust and sunlight. Or you can gather the leaves by their stems, tie the ends, and hang them to dry. Depending on the humidity, drying usually takes 1-2 weeks. The quickest way to dry Raspberry Leaves is by using a dehydrator. Spread the leaves out on the screens and dry at a low temperature. Check every 30-minutes until completely dry. You can tell when the leaves are dry, by crushing a leaf or two. It should crumble easily. Once dry, store leaves lightly packed in a glass jar away from direct sunlight. Try not to crush them to reserve the flavor until you are ready to brew your tea.

How to Make Red Raspberry Leaf Tea

Raspberry Leaf Tea tastes like a mild green tea, but without the caffeine. To make tea, use about 1-teaspoon of crushed, dried raspberry leaves per 8-ounce cup of boiling water. Steep for at least 5 minutes and drink like regular tea.


Learn more about raspberry leaf tea raspberry leaf tea pregnancy

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