Raspberry

Raspberries are one of nature's functional fruits. With a myriad of nutritional benefits and traditional medicinal uses, it is a popular and widely-consumed plant.

Quick Facts
General Information
  • Common name(s)Red raspberry, raspberry
  • Scientific nameRubus idaeus
  • Plant typeShrub
  • Native regionAmericas, Eastern or Central Europe, Central Asia
  • Main producer(s)Russia
  • Main Economic UseMedicinal, Food industry, Cosmetics, Culinary
Raspberry

The raspberry, a pinkish-red fruit that grows naturally in Europe, Asia, and North America, is widely consumed and cultivated for its delicious fruit. Although both the berry and its juice are very popular, less is known about the nutritional benefits of raspberry leaves. It is now cultivated worldwide due to its popularity.

Medicinal and Nutritional Information

Quick Facts (Medicinal and Nutritional Information)
  • Medicinal actionAntioxidant, Astringent
  • Key constituentsTannins, flavonoids, raspberry ketones
  • Ways to useCapsules, Hot infusions/tisanes, Food
  • Medicinal rating(3) Reasonably useful plant
  • Safety rankingSafe

Health Benefits of Raspberry

Using raspberry as a medicine mainly involves the leaves. Their astringent and uterotonic properties have found several medicinal uses:

  • Treating diarrhea
  • Relieving iron deficiency anemia
  • Treating throat and mouth infections
  • Easing delivery and reducing pain in labor

How It Works

The astringent and antidiarrheal effects can be attributed to the tannins that are prevalent in the leaf. This part of the raspberry plant also contains flavonoids, which are widely recognized for their natural antioxidant activity.

The vitamins and minerals in raspberry include flu- and fever-fighting compounds, such as vitamin C (ascorbic acid), fiber, potassium, and magnesium, making the raspberry a highly nourishing herb.

RASPBERRY LEAVES CONTAIN POLYPEPTIDES, WHICH ARE COMPRISED OF AMINO ACIDS ESSENTIAL FOR MUSCLE GROWTH.

How to Consume Raspberry

Main preparations: Tea, capsules

Raspberry's medicinal benefits are primarily derived from the leaves. Infusions are the most common way to take raspberry, though capsules are also available.

Raspberry Contraindications

Medicinal preparations of raspberry should not be consumed by pregnant women, especially during the first trimester.

Culinary Information

Raspberries are an incredibly sweet fruit, making them a popular ingredient in many desserts, including puddings, ice cream, brownies, cakes, and trifles. They are also often used as an ingredient in jam, as well as a flavoring agent for many beverages, including smoothies, juices, and lemonades.

Other Uses

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, RASPBERRIES WERE USED TO MANUFACTURE PIGMENTS FOR OIL PAINTS.

The raspberry ketone is the compound that gives raspberries their appealing aroma and is used industrially as a flavoring and coloring in various foods and cosmetics.

Buying

Raw and Simply Processed Raspberry

While the leaf is generally prepared as an infusion, wild raspberries are often found growing along edges of woods and forests, so the easiest way to eat them is straight from the bush. They are also readily available in most grocery stores and supermarkets.

Raspberry Supplements

For people who either do not like the taste of raspberry leaf tea, or perhaps lack the spare time to prepare or drink it, it is possible to buy raspberry leaf tea supplements, which are generally easy to come by in pharmacies or online.

It is also possible to buy raspberry ketone supplements, which purportedly promote weight loss. However, because of the lack of research into potential side effects of the supplement (which has a chemical makeup similar to stimulants and could therefore cause jitteriness and high blood pressure), it is recommended to just avoid them altogether and reap the benefits of the raspberry plant directly from the berry or the leaf itself. Although these supplements are available online, they have been banned in several countries - such as the U.K. - so it is important to check local laws.

Plant Biology

Classification

Rubus idaeus, also known as red raspberry, is a member of the Rosaceae (rose) plant family. It is a perennial wild shrub that can grow up to 5 - 6 feet (1.5 - 2 m) tall.

Varieties and Subspecies of Raspberry

The red raspberry has many cultivated and wild cousins of different colors, namely yellow, purple, and black. R. idaeus is divided into two subspecies, idaeus and strigosus. A black raspberry is not to be confused with a blackberry (Rubus fruticosus), which is a close relative and even comes from the same genus as the raspberry, but there are subtle differences between the two fruits. They are, however, mostly all very similar in look and taste.

Growing

Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsLeaves, Fruit
  • Light requirementsFull sun

Wild raspberry shrubs are often found growing along the edges of woods and forests but can be cultivated at home, and they possess quite a hardy nature. They are a perennial plant and, depending on when they are planted, can be harvested any time between June and October. They should be planted in a sheltered, sunny position, as they dislike soggy or shallow, chalky soil. In addition, they will need to be trained with either fence or wire.

Additional Information

Quick Facts (Additional Information)
  • Other usesCosmetics

Historical Information

The history of raspberry is mainly focused on the wild fruits, with archaeological evidence showing it has been eaten since Paleolithic times, and raspberries were also associated with fertility in Greek mythology - it was said that Ida, one of Zeus' wet nurses, was responsible for their bright red color. The first detailed written information about raspberry appears in Europe in the 16th century, when it first started being cultivated, but not in America until 1771.

Economic Data

Worldwide, around 600,000 tonnes of raspberries are yielded every year, with Russia contributing a massive 133,000 to this figure. Raspberry production has grown six-fold in the last 50 years, and now plays a huge part in the food production industry, as well as in the medicinal and cosmetic sectors.


Bibliography