The berry of this biennial bush is commonly used in gourmet desserts, but herbalists value the leaves. These have high concentrations of tannin, a chemical that herbalists believe is effective in treating diarrhea, nausea, vomiting and morning sickness in pregnancy. It is also thought that tannin, an astringent substance, helps prevent miscarriages and, during labor, strengthens contractions, checks hemorrhaging and reduces labor pains; you should not, however, use red raspberry for this purpose at home. Red raspberry leaves are included in several herbal pregnancy formulas sold in the United States. The herb is also used as a gargle for sore throats.
Over the counter:
Red raspberry is available as dried leaves or berries, and as a tincture.
Infusion: 1 to 2 tsp. dried leaves or berries per cup of boiling water steeped for 10 to 15 minutes. During pregnancy, 1/2 oz. dried leaves with 1 pint boiling water steepedfor 3 to 5 minutes and drink warm, 1 pint per day. For children, the infusion should be diluted with more water.