In case you couldn’t tell from the title, this is a period post. If you’re not into it, look away now. As for the rest of you beautiful souls, let’s talk PMS. As women, we all experience the time of the month that can bring along some unpleasant side effects. For myself, this has included some serious mood swings, food cravings, tender breasts, and cramping.
Once I hit my twenties (and unsurprisingly- once I cleaned up my diet) many of the side effects of my menses simply stopped occurring (yay!). Temporarily loath me if you will, but stick with me. This is gonna get good. One symptom that I continued to experience was, of course, the dreaded cramps. The day before, the first day of, and sometimes the second day of my period, I would experience the familiar aching and uncomfortable cramping that left me wanting to stay in bed, in my stretched out jogging pants, for the entire day. Enter red raspberry, or should I say, it’s leaves.
In herbal medicine, red raspberry is known as a uterine tonic, which means it tones and strengthens the uterus. Uterine tonics have the beautiful property of adapting to meet the body’s needs. Red raspberry may aid cases of dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation) by strengthening the smooth muscle layer of the uterus (regulating contractions and decreasing spasms).* Further, this herb is high in minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium, which may also help tonify smooth muscle.
The part of the herb used are the leaves. Suggested dosage is an infusion (tea) of 2 tsp dried red raspberry leaves in 1 cup of boiling water covered and steeped 10-15 minutes, three to six cups a day* (that’s a lot of tea!). However, I myself only consumed one infusion per day, approximately four or five days a week. See more on that below.
My proof that red raspberry leaf tea would ease my cramps came about somewhat accidentally. Here’s how it happened. I had particularly bad cramps during my menses one month. Feeling frustrated, I went out and purchased organic red raspberry leaf tea, with the intention of toning my uterus (ha). As I mentioned, I drank the tea when I remembered and when I felt like it, which only ended up being about three to five times a week. A month later, my period came and went like a ship in the night. Huh? I mean to say, I literally had no cramping and my period days passed like a breeze. Easy peasy. Considering I hadn’t made any dramatic changes to my diet or lifestyle, I attributed it to the red raspberry.
Here’s where it gets interesting… Next month- life/school/work, got hectic and tea was the last thing on my mind. I all but forgot about my precious red raspberry leaves, sitting sadly in my pantry (oops!). Period time that month = cramps were back. Ugh! Now I knew the opportunity for experimentation was upon me, and for the following month, I again consumed my tea, about five times a week. Menstruation struck and… again, zero cramping! I knew I had found my remedy.
Friend, please avoid red raspberry leaf during pregnancy. And of course, check with your healthcare provider before adding any herbal remedies into your diet, especially if you are taking pharmaceuticals. While red raspberry leaf is safe for long term use, it is indicated for heavy menses and cramping, and not recommended for very light to no menses.
Note, while red raspberry leaf worked great for me, it may not work for everyone. All bodies are different. In fact, change in diet and hormone balancing will often put an end to menopausal woes. However, if you’ve tried these things already and still have symptoms, dried red raspberry leaf is a relatively inexpensive and readily available herb. Hey, it might just be worth a try. Happy menses!
P.s. This blog has me excited to talk periods. I’m super excited to share more with you about natural ways to regulate hormones, and, my personal favorite, menstrual cups! Check out the blog post now 😉
*Source: Botanical Medicine by Dr. Marisa Marciano & Dr. Nikita A. Vizniak.
**As a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, I help women relieve PMS symptoms through dietary & lifestyle changes, and hormone balancing. If you are struggling with PMS symptoms, I would be happy to chat with you about how I can help. Contact me here.