Raspberry leaf: a tonic for creativity?
According to Greek myth, raspberries were once white. Then came the day that Ida, nursemaid to the infant Zeus, pricked her finger on a thorn and stained the berries red. Ever since, the raspberry plant has had a strong association with women, blood and babies.
But not only in Greek and European culture. Raspberry leaf tea has been a traditional remedy throughout the world for menstrual complaints of all kinds, as well as easing labour and delivery, including among the indigenous peoples of North America.
Part of the reason lies in the astringent action of the leaf's tannins, meaning that they tighten tissues. This also makes it helpful for digestive upsets such as stomach pain and diarrhoea. More recently, raspberry leaf has become popular as an ingredient in "detox" teas thanks to its diuretic properties.
Intuitively, I feel that raspberry leaf has an airy quality that would help to lighten and diffuse heaviness of all kinds, possibly including melancholy or depression.
As a womb herb, I also feel that its actions are not limited to the physical body, but could be used to address various types of creativity imbalance: stagnant ideas, writer's block or even creative overflow.
These energetic aspects come entirely from my own sense of the plant, by the way, and I haven't tested them out, but it's also not something I have made up myself. As with several of the plant allies I have met so far, I was surprised by what raspberry seemed to be telling me—and even that she wanted to talk to me in the first place. (My experience has been that my plant allies choose me rather than the other way around!) But maybe part of the reason she did single me out for a conversation is that she has been pigeonholed as a herb for "women's issues" only, when there really is so much more to her medicine that many other people (i.e. anyone who doesn't menstruate) might benefit from.