Raspberry – yammi!

Raspberry may be a delicate and quite expensive fruit but their nutritional value and fiber content makes them desirable herbal medicine. Some of the fiber in raspberry fruit is soluble fiber with pectin which lowers cholesterol. The phytochemical if raspberry is comprised of cancer-fighters such as beta-carotene, ellagic acid, catechins and monoterpenes. The fruit is a good source of Vitamin C also. Raspberry has long been used as a household remedy. This practice has been going on for centuries now. The green leaves of raspberry shrub (Rubus idaeus) in dried and fresh forms has been used for year by traditional healers due to its therapeutic value particularly the astringent tannins and other key nutrients. The most popular raspberry variety is red. But there are other varieties too such as yellow, apricot, amber and purple (or ‘black’) which are all similar in flavor and texture.

Raspberry varieties are available from midsummer to late summer in Northeastern United States. From California, raspberry fruits are sold from June through October. Raspberry is one of the most perishable fruits there is. It can turn soft and moldy within 24 hours. Once it reaches the market, it has a shelf life of a day or two. You can freeze berries to increase their shelf life. Just rinse and drain raspberries using the sink sprayer so as to prevent the strong flow of water to bruise them. Spread in a single layer in a cookie sheet and freeze until solidly frozen. Transfer the frozen berries to a heavy plastic bag. They could last for 10 months to a year.

Image courtesy of adamr / freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of adamr / freedigitalphotos.net

The high tannin content in raspberry leaf tea is considered helpful in treating ailments that cause intestinal inflammation and discomfort such as diarrhea. Tannins decreases swelling by tiny blood vessels call capillaries as a result prevents leaking of fluids in the intestines. The astringent property of the herb is also effective in soothing canker sores and sore throats in the form of raspberry leaf tea mouthwash and gargle. Some herbalists recommend raspberry tea for pregnant women because it is helpful in treating morning sickness and for ‘stabilizing’ the uterus, especially women who have the tendency to miscarriage. But the scientific evidence for the benefits of raspberry during pregnancy is still not sufficient. Clinical studies have yet to confirm its effects on pregnancy.

If you buy raspberry tea in tea bag make sure that the raspberry leaf is the main ingredient. Some teas use raspberry essence. Although these products are tastier, they do not necessarily have much therapeutic value. There are no known drugs or nutrient interactions that are linked with raspberry preparations. If sipped in moderation as a tea, raspberry is relatively safe to use for everyone. Although it’s medicinal value during pregnancy is still subject to more studies.

To treat diarrhea, take 1 cup of raspberry tea up to 6 times a day. Use 1 tablespoon of leaves per cup of hot water and soak for 15 minutes. Or, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid extract to a cup of warm water.

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