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

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.

Raspberry Medicinal Properties

Quick Facts (Medicinal Properties)
  • Medicinal actionAntioxidant, Astringent
  • Key constituentsTannins, flavonoids, raspberry ketones
  • Ways to useCapsules, Hot infusions/tisanes, Liquid extracts, Food, Tincture, Powder, Essential oil, Dried
  • 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:

  • Relieving diarrhea. The astringent and properties of raspberry make it effective for relieving diarrhea.

  • Treating infections. Raspberries are particularly beneficial for treating throat and mouth infections, as well as flu and fever.

Raspberries have also been suggested to aid weight loss and supplements are popularly marketed for that specific purpose; however, studies are limited to rodents, and further research is necessary to validate this claim.

Additionally, raspberry nutritional content can help treat iron deficiency anemia, and it is thought to easy delivery by reducing pain during 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.

Ketones are major aromatic compounds in red raspberries, with a structure similar to the one of capsaicin and synephrine, compounds known for aiding weight loss. Raspberry ketone has been shown to alter lipid metabolism in rodents, preventing the accumulation of tryglicerids and helping reduce both liver and visceral fat. However, further studies are necessary to corroborate these findings in humans.


Raspberry Cautions

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

How to Consume Raspberry

Quick Facts (How to Consume)
  • Edible partsFruit, Leaves
  • Edible usesFlavoring, Beverage, Sweetener
  • TasteSweet

Raspberries are a popular ingredient in many sweet recipes. They are also often used as an ingredient in ice cream, jam, as well as a flavoring agent for many beverages, including smoothies, juices, and lemonades.

The fresh berries are filled with nutrients; however, raspberry's medicinal benefits are primarily derived from the leaves. Infusions are the most common way to take raspberry, though capsules are also available.

Natural Forms

  • Raw. Fresh raspberries are not only delicious but are also filled with nutritional benefits. They are mainly consumed alone, as well as in smoothies and fruit salads.

  • Dried. With a longer shelf-life, dried raspberries are a great source of fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. They can be eaten as a snack or used as an ingredient for baked goods, such as muffins, pancakes, and cakes.

  • Powder. Raspberry fruits are dried and finely ground to obtain a powder that concentrates their nutritional and medicinal benefits. They can be added to smoothies and juices for digestive support.

  • Infusion. Raspberry dried leaves can be steeped in hot water to reap their antioxidant, astringent benefits.

Herbal Remedies & Supplements

  • Liquid extracts. Raspberry fruit and leaf extracts are alcohol free and concentrates the medicinal properties of the herb. Extracts need to be diluted in water before consumption.

  • Tincture. This concentrated form of raspberry is obtained by macerating the fruits or leaves in alcohol. In the same way as the liquid extract, few drops need to be diluted in a glass of water.

  • Essential oil. This preparation is obtained from raspberry seeds, and it  is used topically, as a facial moisturizer and antioxidant agent for the skin. It also repairs broken skin due to sun, cold, or wind exposure.

  • Capsules. The antioxidant power of raspberries, as well as its nutrient-rich content, can be obtained by taking standardized daily doses. In this supplemental form. raspberries are marketed as a weight loss aid; however, there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.


Quick Facts (Buying)
  • Where to buySupermarkets, Big online retailers, Farmers' markets, Specialized health stores, Organic markets

Natural Forms

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 - fresh or dried -in most grocery stores and supermarkets. Raspberry tea and powder can be easily purchased online.

Herbal Remedies & 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 supplements, which are generally easy to come by in pharmacies or online.

Raspberry remedies, such as liquid extract, tincture, and essential oil, can be purchased in specialized health stores, and through online retailers.


Quick Facts (Growing)
  • Life cyclePerennial
  • Harvested partsLeaves, Fruit
  • Light requirementsFull sun
  • SoilWell-drained
  • Soil pH6.1 – 6.5 (Slightly acidic)
  • Growing habitatCool temperate regions
  • USDA Plant Hardiness Zones4a (From −34.4 °C (−30 °F) to −31.7 °C (−25 °F)), 4b (From −31.7 °C (−25 °F) to −28.9 °C (−20 °F)), 5a (From −28.9 °C (−20 °F) to −26.1 °C (−15 °F)), 5b (From −26.1 °C (−15 °F) to −23.3 °C (−10 °F)), 6a (From −23.3 °C (−10 °F) to −20.6 °C (−5 °F)), 6b (From −20.6 °C (−5 °F) to −17.8 °C (0 °F)), 7a (From −17.8 °C (0 °F) to −15 °C (5 °F)), 7b (From −15 °C (5 °F) to −12.2 °C (10 °F)), 8a (From −12.2 °C (10 °F) to −9.4 °C (15 °F)), 8b (From −9.4 °C (15 °F) to −6.7 °C (20 °F))
  • Plant spacing average0.6 m (1.97 ft)
  • Potential insect pestsBeetles, Bugs
  • Potential diseasesRoot rot, Viruses, Bacterial blight, Fruit rots, Powdery mildew, Verticillium wilt

Wild raspberry shrubs are perennials often found growing along the edges of woods and forests but can be cultivated at home, and they possess quite a hardy nature.

Growing Guidelines

  • Raspberries grow best on sunny sites with well-drained soil, with a pH of 6.0-6.5. It is advised to test the soil in the fall and improve its quality, if necessary, before planting in spring.

  • Red and yellow raspberries are the most cold hardy types. Some cultivars tolerate winter temperatures of -25 to -30°F (-30 to -34°C), and many are hardy to -20°F (-29°C).

  • Raspberry plants are usually propagated from new shoots from the roots, which are called suckers.

  • The best time to plant raspberry plants is in May, after the danger of frost has passed, in elevated areas away from trees and buildings. Raised beds are recommended if soils are wet or heavy.

  • The suckers are planted 24 inches (61 cm) apart. If planting in rows, these should be spaced 8-12 feet (20-30 cm) apart.

  • Four inches (10 cm) of clean straw mulch should be applied around the plants immediately after planting.

  • This shrubs will need to be trained with either fence or wire.

  • Raspberry plants require one to two inches (2.5-5 cm) of water per week, as well as drip irrigation during summer in order to prevent wetting of the foliage, flowers and fruit.

  • Rasperries are usually harvested in mid-summer, but some varieties can produce fruit in early September.

  • Summer-bearing raspberry cultivars must be pruned by hand during the dormant season.

  • Raspberries are susceptible to verticillium wilt, which can be avoided by planting raspberries where eggplants, tomatoes, strawberries, and potatoes have not been grown for the last five years.

Additional Information

Plant Biology

Raspberry is a perennial, wild shrub that can grow up to 5 - 6 feet (1.5 - 2 m) tall.

Raspberries have perennial roots and crowns, but their canes (branches) are biennial. During the first year, the new green cane grows vegetatively and develops a brown bark, which is dormant in winter, and during the second growing season is called a floricane. The floricane produces fruit in early to mid summer and then dies. New canes are grown each year, and fruit production continues every summer.

  • Classification

    Rubus idaeus, also known as red raspberry, is a member of the Rosaceae, or rose family, which encompasses about 5,000 species and 91 genera of flowering plants, many of them staple cultivars such as peach, plum, apple, pear, strawberry, and almond.

    Raspberries belong to a large group of fruits known as brambles, all in the plant genus Rubus, which comprises over 250 species across 12 subgenera, being the most economically important raspberries, blackberries, Artic raspberries, and flowering raspberries.

Yellow raspberries are red raspberries that don't make red pigment.
  • Varieties, Subspecies, and Related Species of Raspberry

    Three main varieties of raspberries that can be grown in the home garden are red, black, and purple. The most economically important raspberry species are red raspberries, which are divided into two subspecies, R. idaeus subsp. idaeus, or European red raspberry, native to the Old Continent; and R. idaeus subsp. strigosus, or American red raspberry, which is native to most parts of North America.

    The black raspberry (R. occidentalis) is not to be confused with a blackberry (R. fruticosus), which is a close relative and even comes from the same genus, but there are subtle differences between the two fruits. They are, however, mostly all very similar in look and taste.

Historical Information

The history of raspberry is mainly focused on the wild fruits, with archaeological evidence showing it has been eaten since Paleolithic times. 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.

Popular Beliefs

Raspberries were associated with fertility in Greek mythology - it was said that Ida, one of Zeus' wet nurses, was responsible for their bright red color.

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.

Other Uses

Raspberry ketones, the compounds that give these berries their appealing aroma, it is used industrially as a flavoring and coloring in various foods and cosmetics.