Raspberry (Fu Pen Zi)
Latin Name: Western – Rubus idaeus. Eastern – Fructus Rubi chingii (Palmleaf Rasberry Fruit).
Raspberry leaf is well known for its benefits during pregnancy, but it is also beneficial for women of all ages and stages of life. Raspberries are known for their antioxidant and high vitamin C levels. Native Americans used raspberry’s as a medicine and for its protective properties. Raspberry leaves make a wonderful gargle and help heal wounds and varicose veins.
Below is an overview of Raspberry (Fu Pen Zi), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Raspberry (Fu Pen Zi).
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Western Name: Raspberry
Also Known As: Red Raspberry, Raspberry Leaf
Organs/Systems: Intestines, Uterus, Liver
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Astringing, Antioxidant, Anti-Cancer, Anti-inflammatory, Emmenagogue.
Pin Yin: Fu Pen Zi
Also Known As: Shan Mei
Meridians: Liver, Kidney
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Stabilizes and Binds/Tonifies the Kidney/Supports Jing (Bind Essence): impotence, bed wetting, frequent urination, premature ejaculation, incontinence. Builds Kidney and Liver Qi: improves eyesight, clears blurred vision, low back pain. Infertility due to cold, nocturnal emissions, premature greying of hair, thin leuchorrhea.
Raspberries are a number of the genus Rubus of the rose family. They are perennials with woody stems. The plants propagate using basal shoots, known as suckers, that extend underground developing roots and new plants. Indigenous to Asia Minor and North America. Raspberries love moisture and are widely grown in temperate regions all over the world. Wild raspberries typically grow in forests or under tree canopy’s.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Raspberry Fruit, Leaf
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Astringing, Slightly Warm
Caution: Considered safe. Traditional lore suggests that pregnant women can use raspberry leaf tea to aid delivery.
History/Folklore: The tannins in raspberry leaves give it its astringing properties that help sooth internal and external conditions from sunburns to gum disease.
In Ancient Greece, raspberries were linked to fertility and were said to be discovered by the Olympian gods. During the European Middle Ages raspberries were a favorite women’s tonic, used to sooth complaints around fertility. The wealthy used it as a food and pigment. In early Christian artwork raspberry juice was used in paintings and the fine art of illuminations as a symbol of kindness, with the red juice being a symbol of blood. In Germany, raspberries were used to bewitch horses by tying a bit of the cane to the horse’s body. In England, King Edward the 1st (1272-1307) was said to be the first to suggest mass cultivation of the plants.
Native American Cherokee, Iroquois and Mohawk tribes used the leaves to treat female disorders.
The Journal of Midwifery and Woman’s Health found in 2001 that women who drank raspberry leaf tea during pregnancy experienced shorter and easier labor and delivery.
Research is showing signs of the plant being able to protect the liver, whiten skin and play a possible minor role in fighting stomach and colon cancers.
The ellagic acid found in the plant’s berries are known to be chemo-preventative with anti-inflammatory properties.
The berries are popular for their nutritional and antioxidant properties. They can be eaten raw, in jams and jellies, or juiced.
Loganberries are a hybrid of raspberries, boysenberries are too.
Raspberry leaves must be completely dry before using or they can upset your stomach.
The flowers are a major nectar source for honeybees and other pollinators. The plants can be invasive. The plants should not be planted where potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants or bulbs have previously been grown before as these crops can be hosts for a fungus that stays in the soil for many years and can infest raspberry crops.
In China, the Chinese Raspberry Fruit (Fu Pen Zi/Fructus Rubi chingii) is used. The green fruit is plucked in early summer, then dipped in boiling water and sun-dried. The best quality is whole, green-yellow and sour. Recommended dosage is from 5-10grams in decoction, pills or powder.
Studies in China indicate that Chinese raspberries may have estrogen-like effects.
Tannins, High levels of Vitamin C, Quercetin, Galic acid, Ellagic acid, Manganese, Pantothenic acid, Biotin, Vitamin E, Magnesium, Folate, Omega-3 fatty acids, Potassium, Flavonoids.
Caffeine Free Tea
Raspberry leaf tea has a similar taste to black tea, but without the caffeine. Many teas use raspberry leaves to help “stabilize” other ingredients.
Encourages Shorter Labor
Raspberry strengthens the uterus and pelvic muscles helping to encourage shorter and easier labors.
4 parts raspberry leaf with 1 part nettle leaf and 1 part peppermint leaf makes a wonderful hot tea for winter or summer iced tea.