Raspberry – Rubus occidentalis

raspberry leaves
raspberry leaves

Botanical: Rubus occidentalis

Family: Rosaceae

Parts Used: leaves and root
Actions: Astringent, tonic, parturient
Common Names: American Black Raspberry, Blackcap, Black Raspberry, Purple Raspberry, Scotch Cap, Framboise Noire, Framboise Sauvage, Framboisier Noir, Framboisier de Virginie, Frambuesa Negra, Ronce, Ronce d’Occident, Ronce Occidentale, Thimbleberry, and Virginia Raspberry

Black Raspberry is an arching, erect, deciduous, armed shrub that grows about 6 to 9 feet tall with stems rooting at the tips. The plant is found growing in openings in deciduous woodlands, woodland borders, thickets, fence rows, overgrown vacant lots, power-line clearances in wooded areas, and partially shaded areas along buildings. The plant thrives best on deep, rich, well drained, sandy-loam soils well supplied with organic matter and with high moisture holding capacity.

The white flowers of the black raspberry have five petals and five sepals with several stamens and many pistils. Flowers are distinct in having long, slender sepals 6–8 mm long, more than twice as long as the petals. Each pollinates pistil turns into a fruitlet on the receptacle. This type of fruit is called an aggregate fruit. Fruits are round-shaped and are a 12–15 mm diameter clump of drupelets. It is edible, and has a high content of anthocyanins and ellagic acid. Fruit are yellowish white to red and purplish-black when ripe. Raspberries have the most ellagic acid compared to other foods.

They have a hollow center and the typical conical shape but are normally smaller than other colored raspberries. An occasional white bloom appears on the berries’ surface, but easily wipes away. Their deep purple almost black pigmentation is occasionally scattered with a touch of red. They are often more tart than sweet, and have a slight note of earth in their flavoring. Once ripe, they have a highly perishable shelf-life. Its delicious fruit is commonly used for making jam and pie, as well as providing cover and food for many species of animals.

Raspberry plants are easy to find in the wild. Gather the young leaves before the plant begins to flower or fruit.

Historically, raspberry leaf herbal cigarettes were introduced by the Indians. In addition to treatment, herbal cigarettes were also used in religious rituals and certain events. Raspberry leaf does not contain nicotine so it can be used as an alternative for those who want to stop smoking.

Traditional uses and benefits of Black Raspberry

  • Black raspberry root tea was also part of the traditional pharmacopeia for treatment of hemorrhaging and hemophilia.
  • Blackberry tea was mixed with whiskey to expel gas in South USA.
  • Juice of raspberry fruits was used to flavor medicines.
  • Tea from the roots to treat stomach ache in Kiowa and Apache Indians.
  • Roots are cathartic.
  • Decoction of the roots has been used as a remedy for gonorrhea, diarrhea and dysentery.
  • Root has been chewed in the treatment of coughs and toothache.
  • An infusion of the roots has been used as a wash for sore eyes.
  • Root has been used, combined with Hypericum spp, to treat the early stages of consumption.
  • Decoction of the roots, stems and leaves has been used to treat whooping cough.
  • Leaves are highly astringent.
  • Decoction is used in the treatment of bowel complaints.
  • Tea made from the leaves is administered as a wash for old and foul sores, ulcers and boils.
  • An infusion of the astringent root bark is used in the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery.
  • Decoction of the roots, stems and leaves has been used in the treatment of whooping cough.

Culinary Uses for Raspberry

Black raspberry is extremely nutritious. Simply eating the fruit raw or in smoothies of a bowl of oatmeal is a delicious treat, but

Nourishing herbs are considered by herbalists as a healthful food source. Herbs such as nettle, dandelion leaf, chickweed, and oatstraw have a high content of many nutritive vitamins and minerals. Raspberry leaf (Rubus occidentalis, Rubus idaeus, R. strigosus, R. parviflorus) is no exception! This herb, when eaten or made into teas and infusions, have many nutrients that are made easily available to our bodies. [1]

Like a loaded baked potato, black raspberry contains a loaded nutrient list… calcium, iron, and magnesium found in raspberry leaf are nutrients most women’s bodies need. In addition there is an impressive list of vitamins and minerals present in raspberry leaves including vitamins A, B1, B2, and B3 as well as vitamins C and E, manganese, niacin, and selenium.

Nutrient content of some of the nutrients found in one ounce of raspberry leaf: [2]

  • 408 mg calcium
  • 446 mg potassium
  • 106 mg magnesium
  • 3.3 mg iron
  • 4 mg manganese

Using Raspberry to Support Health

  • An alternative for those who want to stop smoking
  • Neutralize poison that had been caused by the nicotine content in tobacco
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Reduce pain in childbirth
  • Increases the fertility for men and women
  • Tighten the skin
  • Sedative and muscle relaxant

Preparations & Dosage:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This may be drunk freely.
Tincture: take 3-5 ml of a 1:5 tincture 3x/day.


  • Do not drink raspberry or blackberry leaf tea if you are in the first 32 weeks of pregnancy, as it may induce premature labor.

“Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and other varieties have anthocyanins that can help reverse some loss of balance and memory associated with aging.” ~ David H. Murdock

black raspberry plant

Works Cited:

  1. Angela Justis 3 Raspberry Leaf Benefits For Women February 15 2016
  2. Bergner, Paul. (2001). Folk remedies database. Boulder, CO: Bergner Communications.
  3. Gladstar, Rosemary. (2001). Rosemary Gladstar’s Family Herbal. North Adams, MA: Storey Books.

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson