Red Raspberry (Rhubus idaeus)
Raspberries have been cultivated since the sixteenth century. Today there are many varieties of raspberries to choose from. No matter which variety you choose they are all generally grown the same. Raspberries prefer well drained soil rich in humus with plenty of moisture and partial shade.They do not do well in heat and drought. When first planting your Red Raspberry plants trim all the stems back to the ground. This will produce sturdy new stems and a strong root system. Plants should be no closer than two feet apart in rows, with the rows four to five feet apart. In the fall, after you have enjoyed the delicious red fruit and gathered the leaves cut back the old wood that produced the fruit to the ground. Cut any young shoots to two feet high. These young shoots will produce next years fruit. Red Raspberries will multiply by producing suckers. You can also propagate raspberries by layering. To do this dig a shallow hole near the plant (being careful of it's roots) and bend a young limb down in the hole and cover with soil so the end is poking out of the hole. Weigh it down with a brick or stone on top of the dirt. When new growth has begun on the limb you can cut the limb on the side of the bush. The limb should have grown roots and is now a new plant. Wild raspberries can be grown and propagated the same way.
Red Raspberry leaves make a nutritional tonic high in organic iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, phosphorus, vitamin A, Thiamine (B1), niacin, vitamin D, vitamin E and linoleic acid. It makes a very tasty iced tea. Red Raspberry leaf tea is a most excellent uterine tonic and can be taken frequently throughout pregnancy. Women who drink Red Raspberry tea during their pregnancy have been found to have a much easier time during childbirth and recovery. The tea is also beneficial for regulating hormone levels, easing menstrual cramping and decreasing the menstrual flow without completely stopping it. Red Raspberry tea is soothing to the kidneys and entire urinary tract. It is also a tonic to the endocrine system and good for times of low energy and recovering from an illness. Red Raspberry is astringent and can be used as a wash for mouth sores, sore and infected gums, skin sores, ulcers and raw spots. Native Americans used wild raspberry leaves to reduce fevers, ease constipation, slow internal bleeding and aid in childbirth. The berries were eaten raw or steeped as a tea to prevent miscarriage, as well as to stop vomiting and diarrhea. It is a safe and delicious remedy for sick children. History also reveals that Red Raspberry berries have even been used in the treatment of influenza (what they used to call laGrippe). When berries were not available the stems were used.
Whether you drink a tea from the leaves or enjoy the fruit Red Raspberry is a plant that deserves a place in your kitchen.