Balancing Your Hormones and Eliminating Anxiety with Red Raspberry Leaf

Image by Zaqqy J.

For a few weeks now, I’ve been trying to work towards balancing my hormones.  I’ve been trying to do this since Jacob was born, but it became even more important recently as some mild to moderate anxiety overcame me right around when I got my period back.  That’s not so fun — it hits in the evening and I just feel so emotionally bad.  Luckily, I have found a simple, natural way to control it.

Anxiety?

I have had anxiety at various points in my life, but never consistently.  Then suddenly it was every night.

We’d had a rough month from mid-Feb. to mid-March, where it seemed like someone threw up or was otherwise sick every 3 – 4 days.  It was not fun.  My anxiety centered around that.  Every night I was sure someone was going to wake up sick.  Every time someone was fussy, didn’t want to eat, struggled with going to bed, or anything, I worried.  Frankly, even if they were silent, I worried, because I wondered, what next?  When I started to change things because of my fears — I didn’t want to schedule playdates in case they got sick while we were there, or give them too much to eat so they wouldn’t make such a mess if they did get sick — I realized I had to do something.

I was able to think through it and realize that it was hormonal.  It had coincided with the return of my period.  I’m not entirely sure why it has manifested as anxiety, but it has.  I needed a solution that would be gentle, natural, safe for breastfeeding, and help to actually correct the underlying problem.

My solution was red raspberry leaf.

Benefits of Red Raspberry Leaf

Red raspberry leaf contains: Carotenoids, citric acid, fragrine, pectin, tannins and vitamins A, B complex, C, D and E. An easily assimilated form of calcium; manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, silicon and sulfur.

It has been used for years for uterine toning and throughout pregnancy.  It is good to alleviate morning sickness, prevent miscarriage, provide energy, make labor faster and easier, reduce hemorrhage, and increase milk supply.

It is also useful for nausea, diarrhea, bleeding gums, mouth sores, and may be useful in regulating blood sugar.

It is also known for regulating the menstrual cycle and alleviating cramps.

Because red raspberry leaf is rich in B-complex vitamins (which are water-soluble), it may be useful for anxiety.  B-vitamins are known to help reduce stress.  The tannins in the tea are also known to help relax muscles in the body and can soothe stomach aches and other manifestations of stress.  It is a combination of these and the hormone-balancing properties that I was looking for.

This tea is safe for women, men, and children, and due to the B-complex may help men too.

Preparing and Consuming Red Raspberry Leaf

I have tried this a few different ways but have found this is most effective:

  • Scoop about 1/3 to 1/2 c. of the loose, dried leaves into a quart-sized glass mason jar
  • Cover with boiling water and put a lid on
  • Allow to steep at least 12 hours
  • Strain, then add raw honey to taste
  • Drink several hours prior to when anxiety would begin

So, for me, I make this infusion before I go to bed.  After breakfast, I strain it and add my honey and drink it through the late morning and early afternoon.

I have found if I forget to make it and I steep it in the morning for a shorter time, and/or delay consuming the infusion until mid to late afternoon, it is not as effective.  It still helps, but it does not prevent anxiety if I wait to drink it until the problem has already started.  As long as I drink it early in the day, though, I feel completely normal.

*I am not suggesting that this will work for you.  I am sharing my experience in hopes that it might help someone else.  You may find that a different combination of herbs is more effective for you.  I encourage you to do your own research and try some infusions to see what works best for you, and to seek the advice of a qualified medical practitioner if you are suffering from severe anxiety or are unable to find what works for you.

Check Your Temperature

Something else I did during this time (both prior to starting the infusions and for a week or so after) was check my basal body temperature.  I noted that it was all over the place!  Some days it was around 97.2 (which was “normal” for me a couple years ago), but other days it was as low as 95.8!  It did seem to be affected by the temperature of the room I was in, where my temperature was lower if I felt cool when I woke vs. if I felt warm.

What it told me was that my hormones weren’t at all balanced.  My chart looked like a zig-zag.  There was clearly no ovulation happening.  Something was not right.  I kept my track of my temperature each day with software like Fertility Flower.

I began drinking the tea what should have been roughly mid-cycle.  I plan to start checking my temperatures again now, a couple weeks in.  It has so far had the effective of stopping my period from returning.  I’m not sure why that is, but something’s going on hormonally.  I will continue to drink the infusions because they are helping to slowly balance my hormones again (hence why I feel better) and I will chart my temperature again to see if that is evening out.  And then we will see where I am.

I encourage everyone to check your temperature, too, to see if you find the same pattern I did — perhaps there is something hormonal going on that you are not yet aware of.  Fertility Flower is a great tool for doing this.  You can enter your temperature each day as well as any other symptoms you are having, so that you can keep track of what is going on.  It also has a neat “diet” checklist (that is in line with traditional foods).  This is a great place to start if you are having any issues that could be hormonal (which, frankly, is most things).

Balance Your Body

Finding out what’s going on with temperature and then using nourishing herbs to balance your body may help alleviate many problems, including anxiety, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, depression, fatigue, and lots more.

Other herbs which may help include:

There are others which may help.  Look for “adaptogenic” herbs, which are nourishing, toning, and help to balance the body without producing specific side effects.  These herbs are gentle enough to be used daily without issue.

Please note that I did say where I know that the herb should not be used by pregnant/nursing women, but that does not mean all the others are safe.  If I was unsure, I did not say either way.  Please research for yourself before choosing any particular herb.  (I also know that nettle and oatstraw are safe for pregnant/nursing women.)

Check out my herbal multivitamin recipe if you’re interested in another way to use these herbs.

**This post sponsored by Fertility Flower.  Which is still a really good idea.**

Have you suffered from anxiety or hormonal imbalances?  What has helped you?

Comments

  1. HG says

    I had a postpartum traumatic situation (hemorrhage) after my most recent baby’s birth. I spent weeks in bed recovering. The event itself combined with bedrest triggered anxiety in me. I found what helped the most of all (it was a combined effort including prayer!) was my homeopath. I also used a special vitamin complex (natural) developed by someone locally. I altered my diet and when it was the worst right after the baby was born, I took my day in increments with a list of the things I wanted to do. It got much better, thank G-d. I had always been a more anxious person, due to my childhood :( , but able to deal with it. This trauma really exacerbated the anxiety and took some time, love, and patience to overcome. I am so happy you posted, because I too noticed with the return of my cycle combined with exhaustion and a bunch of stressful occurances clustered together (including one of my children choking which thank G-d, she is fine…I remembered the Heimlich and it worked thank G-d) that it again was somewhat exacerbated, although nothing like right after the birth which was both due to the trauma and physiological from the sudden anemia. I was happy to read this, and have the tea from Traditional Medicinals in the house. I will try this to see how it helps!

  2. HG says

    I should add also, that my homebirth midwife really worked with me too after the birth with a lot of suggestions for herbal remedies that were helpful, and my husband too! :)

  3. Ashley says

    I am definitely going to give this a try! I am pregnant and having pretty bad morning sickness. Plus the anxiety I had during my first pregnancy and first year of my daughter’s life is slowly creeping back. Where did you order the red raspberry leaf? I’ve seen it in tea but not by itself. I’m also working on what we were eating. We were doing pretty well and then morning sickness hit about 1.5 months ago. Now I can’t fix much of anything or stomach much either. We’ve been eating way too much processed food and I know how bad it is for us.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Ashley, I ordered from Mountain Rose Herbs. I think my affiliate link is in this post, if you would like to use it. :)

  4. Shelly says

    I was just recently diagnosed by my OBGYN with the beginnings of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), but I have to admit I am skeptical. He mentioned a pill, of course, but then backtracked and told me that he didn’t feel like a medication was a good fit for me. ;)
    So -that, coupled with my severe anxiety (when not on medication) has lead me to an extreme interest in this post. After researching where I could get raspberry leaves, I found a capsule that contains them. That’s all that’s in there. Do you know if this would be safe and effective, or should I just stick with the tea leaves????

  5. Rebecca says

    Do you use Vitacost? I’m new to it but it seems to be a discounted shopping website for natural foods and herbs. I just wonder in case you have an affiliate link to post. They sell a lot of name brand organic and natural teas for less, including red raspberry leaf.

    • Kate Tietje says

      Rebecca, I haven’t ordered from them, no. I just looked and their bulk red raspberry leaf is out of stock, and it’s more expensive than Mountain Rose Herbs, anyway.

  6. KatieC says

    Hey Kate – thanks for all the informative posts that you do. :) I have a semi-related question. My temperatures are often 97.3, 97.4. Do you have a post that directly addresses your history of low temps, why they needed changing and what you did to manage them? Thanks in advance for your time!

  7. Carmen Blankenship says

    Very interesting article! I’m a single girl, 22, & have had wonderful results from drinking tea from red raspberry leaves & even better results when I make a tincture. It has pretty much taken the place of ibuprofen for me (sometimes 2-3 pills per day when cramps were bad).

    I buy mine from Bulk Herb Store. They sell a blend of tea called Mama’s Red Raspberry Brew. Highly reccommended!!

  8. says

    Great post! I have had many hormone issues since my son was born and have used Rasberry leaf to help regulate my period. But I am very thankful for the other herbs you suggested. It’s so hard to find good herbal resources these days!

  9. says

    I knew some about red raspberry leaf, but never heard about it regulating hormones/anxiety. I’ve recently been trying to figure out some health stuff I’d had going on and have learned that a lot of this stuff you talk about, or that other commenters have mentioned (low or varying temps, anxiety, overwhelm, traumatic birth, etc. can also be linked with poor adrenal function/adrenal fatigue, and hypothyroidism. I found lots of great info at the Stop the Thryroid Madness website (http://www.stopthethyroidmadness.com/), and have also been learning about natural ways to boost adrenal and thyroid function. I didn’t even know my symptoms correlated with any of this until I accidentally landed on the site while looking for a recipe, so I just thought I’d pass it along for anyone who might be wondering about their own symptoms. I will have to give the red raspberry leaf a try. Thanks.

  10. MarianneG says

    Hello ! I’m a newbie at using herbal remedies. We’re talking about leaves from a normal, unpesticied, Raspberry bush ? Thank you for all your helpful info !

  11. says

    Wow. I had no idea you could use the leaf. I’m still new to this herbal stuff. I’m leaving new words too…tincture. Never heard that before. So much to learn, so little time to learn it. :-D

  12. Addie says

    Would this tea be appropriate for a man? My husband deals with anxiety and is trying to taper off a medication. Perhaps this would be a good therapy.

  13. Janae says

    Is it better to drink a tea than take capsules? Or would they both work the same? I’m 33 weeks pregnant and want to start using Red Raspberry leaf, but didn’t know if capsules would be too concentrated.

    Thanks for all your great posts!

    • Kate Tietje says

      Janae, I am not sure. I don’t usually take herbs “dry” so I don’t know how that might change dosage or how your body would react to them. I personally prefer teas to swallowing pills especially while pregnant. I think it depends on what you prefer and your body chemistry. Whichever you would like to try, give it a shot and see how it goes!

  14. Addie says

    Obviously I skimmed the article, and missed the part about it being good for men too. My apologies. Thanks for the info!

  15. Jay says

    Can this tea be drunk everyday? I’ve notice anxiety right after my period and sometimes before. It’s so bad to where my blood pressure is sky high ,tingling in my hands and feet,and headaches. I’m willing to try almost anything that is natural that can eliminate or ease these symptoms. Thanks

    • Kate Tietje says

      Yes, it is safe to drink daily. Red raspberry is an adaptogenic herb, which means it helps to balance your body instead of causing side effects.

  16. Misty says

    I drank raspberry leaf tea while pregnant and loved it! It was great for postpartum too. I have a slight problem while using it though. I get severe dry mouth at night when I consume raspberry leaf tea during the day. This doesn’t seem to effect very many people this way, so shouldn’t be a concern for most. =)

  17. susan says

    I will have to give that a try – and tell my friend! She’s been having hormone trouble related to menopause. She’s so much better now that she’s being seen at the Women to Women clinic in Yarmouth, Maine. If you haven’t already, I highly recommend visiting the web site (www.womentowomen.com). They have terrific newsletters on a wide range of health issues. Super helpful and informative!

  18. Randee says

    I took Red Raspberry leaf but only during the third trimester…I was wondering if since it causes uterine contractions it could induce a miscarriage during the first trimester? I want to attempt to control my anxiety naturally (I am currently taking medication) but I would worry about the possibility of ruining a pregnancy early on…

  19. Helen says

    I’m coming up on one year postpartum and still nursing quite frequently, though a lot less at night (ds routinely goes two stretches over 6 hours each at night, sometimes 9 hours). I’m eager to get my period back. Any idea if red raspberry leaf tea might help with this?

  20. katie says

    Does anyone know if this is safe to take while on oral contraceptives? I’ve heard it is a good herb for fertility which makes it sound like it might lessen the effect of a contraceptive? :/

  21. Elisa says

    Hi Kate,

    I am about 5 weeks postpartum and having a hard time with what seemed like baby blues, leading to postpartum anxiety. I’ve been trying to find answers on how to deal with this anxiety that comes and goes. I even get claustrophobic in certain places. After finding your article, I am going to attempt the red raspberry leaf tea to see if it can help with my anxiety. I do feel that my hormones are not balanced and that my anxiety is from a lot of worries of the changes with a baby in the house now. I am an overachiever so I guess I am constantly mindful which is not great in trying to decrease my anxiety level. I have the tea bags and not the actual leaves to brew. Do u think it will be as affective?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Because red raspberry leaf is rich in B-complex vitamins (which are water-soluble), it may be useful for anxiety.  B-vitamins are known to help reduce stress.  The tannins in the tea are also known to help relax muscles in the body and can soothe stomach aches and other manifestations of stress.                    ~ Modern Alternative Mama […]

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