Raspberry: safe in pregnancy.

Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Raspberry leaf and miscarriage?
From: tdoran.sciborg.uwaterloo.ca (Tim Doran)
Date: Tue, 6 Dec 1994 19:18:06 GMT

ROBIN F HOWARD (oatstraw.twain.ucs.umass.edu) wrote:
: Has anyone out there heard about raspberry leaf tea inducing miscarriage? In my several years studying herbs, I've never heard such a thing, but I'm now catching grief on the misc.kids.pregnancy newsgroup about it. What I'm looking for mostly are specific references rather than just "my doctor said..." etc. I have 7 herbal books that say "use throughout the entire pregnancy," but apparently there's SOMETHING out there saying the contrary, and I want to find it to see exactly what it says.

Raspberry's historical and clinical reputation is clearly one for nourishing and harmonizing efffects on uterus function and has been used since ancient times as a 'toner' of the uterus and an aid in checking hemmorhage. As a matter of fact, it is one of the few herbs whose action is almost exlusively on the uterus. Raspberry is considered universally in all of the literature I have read to be one of the few herbs known that can be safely used at any point in a pregancy and the resulting effects are both gentle and beneficial. Although the exact mechanism of the effects of raspberry leaf on the uterus are not fully understood, the action on the uterus has been attributed to fragrine, a water soluable, oxytonic chemical which acts on the mothers pelvic muscles to promote labour and relieve uterine pains (Dejay, 1979) Some studeis feel that there are definitely two priniples contained within fragrine, one that stimulates the uterus and one that relaxes the uterus, giving a regulating effect. One study showed that if the smooth muscle of the uterus was "in tone", the extract of raspberry leaf relaxed it and if the muscle was relaxed the herb could cause contractions (Mowrey, 1986). This implies the existance of a normalizing effect of the herb.

What is interesting to note, and I think that a lot of people may be getting these two herbs mixed up is that strawberry (not a relative of raspberry) is known to cause contractions and fetal restlessness.

Raspberry, even taken in large doses has never posed a danger to premature delivery or miscarriage. As a matter of fact, it is one of the herbs recommended for preterm labour because of its normalizing and regulating effects.

Constituents of raspberry leaf: tannin with gallic and ellagic acids, bernstein and lactic acids, alkaloids fragrine, flavone, farfarin, vitamin C and A, clacium, phosphorus, iron and trace minerals. The tannins of raspberry leaf are fashioned around gallic and ellagic acids in the free and combined forms. The show little evidence of hepatoxoxicity. Tannins ingested remain unabsorbed but a variable portion reaches the body fluids
as soluable tannate and is excreated by the kidney.

Hope this helps, I also have a list of drug interactions if you need them, e-mail me. I also caught the discussion in alt.kids.pregnancy and I think that somewhere along the line someone may have noticed that fragrine is oxytocic and therefore assumed that raspberry would of course lead to miscarriage. They missed the regualting factors involved with using the whole herb and that is the important point. If raspberry does cause miscarriages I would love to see a study or even one refference in any of the herbal literature to that. As far as everything Ihave read, raspberry is very safe in pregnancy and leads to shorter, more effective labours for the women who use it.

Lisa Doran