Habitat: Europe, including Britain, from Iceland south and east to Spain and temperate Asia. Cultivated in most temperate countries. Moist neglected land, hedgerows and woodland edges.
Raspberry has a long tradition of use as a medicinal herb. The leaves and roots are anti-inflammatory of Raspberry, astringent, decongestant, ophthalmic, oxytocic and stimulant. Raspberry Leaf Tea made from them is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, as a tonic for the uterus to strengthen pregnant women, and as an aid in childbirth. The tea has also been shown as effective in relieving painful menstrual cramps. The active ingredients both stimulate and relax the uterus. They can be used during the last three months of pregnancy and during childbirth, but should not be used earlier. Externally, the leaves and roots are used as a gargle to treat tonsillitis and mouth inflammations, as a poultice and wash to treat sores, conjunctivitis, minor wounds, burns and varicose ulcers. The fruit is antiscorbutic and diuretic. Fresh raspberry juice, mixed with a little honey, makes an excellent refrigerant beverage to be taken in the heat of a fever. Made into a syrup, it is said to have a beneficial effect on the heart.
Description of Raspberry:
Rubus idaeus; Raspberry, is a deciduous Shrub growing to 2 m (6ft) by 1.5 m (5ft).
It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in leaf 11-Apr It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, flies, self.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation of Raspberry:
Prefers a good deep well-drained loamy soil on the acid side. Dislikes very heavy soils, light soils and alkaline soils. Prefers an open position but tolerates some shade. Plants crop less well when grown in the shade of trees though they do well in the open on a north-facing slope. Requires a position sheltered from strong winds. Prefers a pH between 6 and 6.5. Raspberries are frequently cultivated in temperate regions of the world, both in the garden and commercially, for their edible fruit. There are many named varieties able to supply fresh fruit from mid-summer to the autumn. High costs of picking the fruit means that little is actually sold fresh, most of the commercially cultivated crops either being used for preserves or grown for the ‘Pick Your Own’ trade. All the cultivars are self-fertile. This species has biennial stems, it produces a number of new stems each year from the perennial rootstock, these stems fruit in their second year and then die. Plants in this genus are notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Companion plant: It is best not to grow raspberries near blackberries or potatoes.
Propagation of Raspberry:
Seed – requires stratification and is best sown in early autumn in a cold frame. Stored seed requires one month stratification at about 3°c and is best sown as early as possible in the year. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and grow on in a cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring of the following year. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, July/August in a frame. Tip layering in July. Plant out in autumn. Division in early spring or just before leaf-fall in the autumn.
Collection: The leaves may be collected throughout the growing season.Dry slowly in a well-ventilated area to ensure proper preservation of properties. The leaves are harvested in the summer and dried for later use.
Culinary uses of Raspberry:
Edible Parts: Fruit; Root; Stem.
Edible Uses: Coffee; Tea.
Fruit – raw or cooked. Delicious when eaten out of hand, the fruit is also used in pies, preserves etc. Root – cooked. The root, which should be neither too young nor too old, requires a lot of boiling. Young shoots – peeled and eaten raw or cooked like asparagus. They are harvested as they emerge through the ground in the spring and whilst they are still tender. A herb tea is made from the dried leaves. Another report says that a type of tea made from raspberry and blackberry leaves is an excellent coffee substitute.
Actions: Astringent, tonic, parturient.
Part Used: Leaves and fruit.
Indications: Raspberry leaves have a long tradition of use in pregnancy to strengthen and tone the tissue of the womb, assisting contractions and checking any haemorrhage during labour. As an astringent it may be used in a wide range of cases, including diarrhoea, leucorrhoea and other loose conditions. It is valuable in the easing of mouth problems such as mouth ulcers, bleeding gums and inflammations. As a gargle it will help sore throats. Raspberry is also very rich in iron and calcium.
Preparations & Dosage of Raspberry:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This may be drunk freely.
Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Other uses of Raspberry:
Cosmetic, Dye, Paper.
A purple to dull blue dye is obtained from the fruit. A fibre obtained from the stems is used in making paper. The stems are harvested in the summer after the fruit has been eaten, the leaves are removed and the stems are steamed until the fibres can be stripped. The fibres are cooked for 2 hours with lye and then hand beaten with mallets or ball milled for 3 hours. The paper is light brown in colour. A decongestant face-mask made from the fruit is used cosmetically to soothe reddened skin.
Esoteric uses of Raspberry:
Used for healing, protection, love. Raspberry leaves are carried (NOT EATEN) by pregnant women to reduce the pain involved in pregnancy & childbirth. Bathe in an infusion of raspberry to keep your current love relationship alive.
- Flavonoids, mainly glycosides of kaempferol and quercitin.
- Fruit sugar
- Volatile oil
- Citric acid
- Malic acid.