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Working in the NHS, my colleagues and I are horribly institutionalised, punctuating the day with hot drinks which we make at set times, rarely deviating from our clockwork routine. When a new colleague recently suggested a cuppa somewhere between two established hot drink times, the rest of us were outraged at such a blatant violation of the hot beverage code of practice.
My drinking habits are only partly entrenched; the first one of the working day is plain and simple redbush tea. The mid afternoon one is currently a lavender-oolong infusion (because the brand name is '3.15 tea'). Hot drinks taken between those times are less defined and I will make a decision based on how I feel at the time.
Heath & Heather's "Raspberry Leaf" is one of the teas I am drinking quite frequently at the moment. The company makes a range of fruit and herbal teas (or infusions if you prefer) and groups them together in ranges, this one being part of the 'Wellbeing' range. It's worth mentioning, at this point, something about the packaging. While the "front" of the box is quite simple and appealing, the other sides are covered in text - the ingredients and composition (in English and several other languages), company background, nutritional information and information about ethical considerations. None of this information, however, explains why Heath and Heather have included the product in the Wellbeing range other than to say that "Carefully selected Raspberry Leaf has been infused with apple to help support your wellbeing", information I find rather vague.
If you do wish to know why Raspberry Leaf is considered to be beneficial, I suggest you take a look at Jo1976's excellent review of this product, in which she explains why it is recommended for women in the final stages of pregnancy. As I was not personally aware of the possible health benefits when I bought the product, nor would I be able to comment on its efficacy in this indication, I will not comment on its role in the promotion of wellbeing.
I actually bought the product because I hadn't read the name properly and had assumed when I saw the image of the raspberries on the packaging that it was a raspberry tea; no, this is raspberry leaf. One of the ingredients listed is "Raspberry Flavouring" at 5 per cent but it's not really possible to pick the flavour out. In fact the flavour I pick out most is the apple which is a bit disappointing because I'm pretty sure it only appears as a means of sweetening this infusion. I remember seeing apple pomace used in other infusions: it's the pulp you're left with when pressing apples for juice or cider.
This one also contains hibiscus, another commonly found ingredient in teas of this type and instantly recognisable to anyone who drinks a fair bit of this kind of stuff. Raspberry leaves are the main ingredient and there are blackberry leaves in this tea too. Rosehips and raspberries (as opposed to "Raspberry Flavouring") are the last two ingredients and must be included in such small quantities that the precise amount is not listed.
After approximately five minutes brewing time (one bag is enough for one person for an average size mug) the end result is a mildly fruity drink with a slight citrussy tang that gives way to a gentle sweetness. The dominant aroma is that of rosehips and but this infusion does smell like a generic berry tea, even if it's more subtle. If you're used to quite sugary tasting drinks you might find this a little bitter but I tend not to sugar hot drinks and for me this is just sweet enough.
I can't really comment on whether this infusion has any real impact on my wellbeing. It is, however, naturally caffeine free, and contains no artificial flavours, preservatives or colouring, which can be only a good thing.
This isn't my favourite from the Heath & Heather range but it's pleasant enough and at just £1 for a box of 20 bags from Holland & Barrett at the time of writing, I was recently happy to stock up on a few boxes. My last purchased supply have a use by date of February 2015 making them even better value for money, assuming you have the space to store them and you keep the packet sealed until you want to use them (in other words, they won't last so well if you open the box, use a few and leave the rest for a long time). Holland & Barrett also frequently include this brand in their "Buy one, get one for 1p" promotions, though not at the time of writing.
Raspberry leaf tea is something I hadn't come across until I was pregnant with my first son. My due date came and went. Why it is all us pregnant ladies have a date to look to but less than five percent of us actually have our baby on that day. For my first son I wasn't one of those lucky five percent. After nine months of carry your little one all you want is to see them and have that first special cuddle. I was willing to try anything to get my little man out. Well of course anything that wouldn't harm him. I was told by a friend of mine who was having her third baby (so she must be an expert by now shouldn't she) to try raspberry leaf tea. I really didn't want to be induced as my sister in law said it hurt more so even though I believed it would be an old wives tale I gave it a go.
Raspberry flavored tea is not the same as raspberry leaf tea for anyone who isn't too sure. You can find it in most health related shops. I bought my from the Holland and Barratt shop in my local town. I found a box of twenty tea bags for £1.40 by Health and Heather. They just look like an ordinary rectangle tea bag. The smell of them isn't too pleasant and even when water is added to them the smell doesn't seem to get any more pleasant.
Now it is said that raspberry leaf tea aids in getting pre labor going. The ingredients it has in it is meant to soften the uterus. It contains lots of vitamins and minerals so it must be good for you. I have also read later on that if you are breastfeeding it may also be beneficial for you and your baby to continue to drink it. I'm not sure if there are any actual based facts on this or not as I have also read somewhere you shouldn't drink it. Typical of health experts leaving you guessing.
Raspberry leaf contains the following ingredients: Raspberry leaf 48%, Hibiscuc, Blackberry leaves, Natural Raspberry flavor 6%, Tartaric acid, Rosehips, Raspberries 1% and apple pomace 1%.
The box has the usage details on the back. I was very happy to find you could get raspberry leaf tea in the form of tea bags as I not a huge fan of messing around loose leaves I think I must just be lazy! To make up a cup you place one tea bag in a cup and pour boiling water over it. It says to leave it three to five minutes for best results. It also recommends not having it with milk. As I am not a huge fan of herbal teas I knew this was going to be a difficult one for me. But if it works better without I was going to give it a go.
Now the taste, well as not a herbal tea fan it didn't have a great start with me. It only contains a small amount of raspberry flavor and this is apparent in the taste. It has very little raspberry taste to it. It reminds me slightly of wet straw and hasn't the most pleasant taste to it. My other half is a huge fan of herbal teas and any other type of teas so he gave it ago to see why I made such a fuss about it. He actually likes the taste of it! He did say it doesn't have the nicest smell to it but if you're a herbal tea drinker anyway you shouldn't find this one a problem.
For me it was a different story I had to hold my nose every time I tried to drink it. I have to admit after drinking many cups of it I did get used to it but as soon as my little man arrived I didn't touch the stuff again. That was until number two was on his way!
The big question is does it work? Well I'm sorry I don't really have the answer to this question. With my first son I didn't start drinking it till I was 40 weeks so I guess I didn't give it a very good go. That said I wasn't induced and my son arrived six days after I started drinking it.
On the packaging it does warn not to be used in early stages of pregnancy. So this said, it must do something to your uterus! I have heard it is ok to start using it at 32 weeks and onwards but please don't take that as set I am not a medical expert! I started using it at 35 weeks with my second son and did start to bare it more. He was born two weeks early. Now I can't put it down to the tea it could have been a number of reason, for one I was a lot more active all the way through my labor but I like to think it helped after having to put up with it!
My mum always said things that are good for you don't always taste nice. Well I believe this is one of those things. Packed with goodness but very little taste!
I am currently in the later stages of pregnancy with my third child so, as my maternity leave is fast approaching, I am finally starting to think about the imminent arrival of baby number three!
With both of my previous pregnancies, I drank raspberry leaf tea from around the 32 week mark purely for the supposed benefits that this stuff is alleged to have around labour.
Raspberry leaf tea has apparantly been taken for centuries and there are various claims made about its properties although these aren't necessarily backed up by any real scientific evidence. Anecdotally, though, many women believe that drinking this infusion on a regular basis either helps to speed up the duration of labour (supposedly by 'toning' the uterus and making the contractions more stronger and more effective) and/or ensuring that the baby arrives more or less around its due date, avoiding that dreaded experience of going 'past your dates' and potentially being induced.
My midwives have always been a little ambivalent about the actual efficacy of raspberry leaf tea but the tea clearly does have the potential to affect the womb and it is not recommended during the early stages of pregnancy, due to fears that it can cause miscarriage because of its effects on the uterus. Most midwives seem to agree that, certainly in the later stages, the herbal tea will not do any harm and it might have some postive effect on labour, even if it is only a placebo effect. I think that most pregnant women will take anything that they think might make the whole process shorter, particularly a natural remedy such as this tea.
I can only go on my own personal experiences during previous pregnancies. I actually liked the taste of the tea so was quite happy to drink increasing quantities of the stuff during the last month or so. My oldest son arrived a respectable four days ahead of his predicted due date and my youngest son came ten days early. I can't honestly say that the labour itself was particularly quick although second time around was quicker than the first. I did end up giving birth last time without any pain relief too, which was not my intention. Who knows how differently, if any, things would have been had I not drank the raspberry leaf tea though?!
Recommendations around when to start taking this stuff vary according to different sources, with anywhere from around 30-37 weeks being suggested as the appropriate and safe time to drink this, gradually increasing the quantity over the course of a few weeks. Obviously, check with individual midwives as advice changes over time but mine has agreed that starting this at my current stage of pregnancy (34 weeks) should be fine.
I'm a PG Tips drinker by choice and, much as I like the idea and (usually) the scent of herbal and/or fruit teas, I'm generally let down by the actual taste so don't drink them as rule. Having said that, this tea is actually one of my favourite herbal teas and I do find the taste quite palatable, even quite refreshing. The scent of the unused tea-bags is not particularly appetising though and anybody expecting anything resembling a raspberry fragrance or taste will be sorely disappointed. Despite the attractive images of raspberries on the box, the clue is in the name and just under half of the infusion is made up of raspberry leaves. It's perhaps not as odd as it seems, then, that the smell of the unused bags resembles tobacco and the scent of the prepared drink reminds me mainly of straw!
Despite the dubious fragrance, the taste is pleasant enough although, as stated, not at all fruity. The mix does contain other ingredients, including natural raspberry flavouring, apple pomace, rosehips and, surprisingly, it does actually contain raspberries. The raspberry content (as opposed to the leaves) is only 1% so it is not that surprising that it doesn't make any impact on the actual flavour. I tend to leave the tea-bag in a mugful of boiling water and wait for a good ten minutes before drinking. This way the drink is cooler, more refreshing and I hope that I get more out of the infusion. It's certainly not a drink that I find unpleasant to drink which is a relief. For anybody who does find this totally unpalatable then the leaves can actually be purchased in a tablet format although I haven't tried these.
I picked up my box of 20 tagged Heath & Heather tea bags from a local independent health food store for £1.40 and certainly feel that they are worth the money and worth giving a shot. I'm hoping baby number three will also be making a relatively early, (but not overly so), speedy (yes please!) and painless (if only!) entry into the world. Wish me luck!
HEATH AND HEATHER RASPBERRY LEAF TEA
This is a fruit and herbal tea, that is caffeine free and is good for your wellbeing. These healthy herbal infusions come in a handy little box of 20 teabags and open lengthways They cost approx 99p for twenty. The box is white in colour with a picture of raspberries and leaves on the front. Only the finest natural ingredients are put into these tea bags, they are quite small and slim in shape and come with a long thread so your tea bags dont get lost in the water. The best way to drink this tea is to leave in boiling water for several minutes to get the full flavour.
SMELL AND TASTE
I must say these tea bags havent much of a smell at all and i have tasted nicer teas, the taste is a bit sharp and the smell is a bit dull.
This product doesnt contain salt or sugar and only a very small amount of fat almost just a trace.
Raspberry Leaves 48%
hibiscus, Blackberry Leaves and Natural Raspberry Flavourings 6%
Also includes Apple Pomace, Tartric Acid Rosehips and Raspberries 1%
These are based on per 100ml infusion, boiled in 200ml of water
carbohydrates 1.0 grams
Protein 0.1 grams
Fats 0.1 gram
I wouldnt say these were the best tasting tea bags around, i have tasted much better, they are id say an average tasting tea.
As I am nearing the end of my pregnancy and am hoping that I do not have my baby actually on Christmas Day I have been reading up on old wives tales to try and make the baby appear on its own quickly. One of these so called natural induction methods is the drinking of raspberry leaf tea. I call it an old wives tale because according to a website I read, unfortunately its a misconception that raspberry leaf tea induce labour. However, it is said to have many other benefits in the birthing process and has been used as a labour aid for hundreds of years so I thought it was worth giving it a try.
I bought my raspberry lead tea from Holland and Barrett but I believe you can get it from other health food stores and also on the internet. A box of 20 tea bags cost me £0.99 which I thought was quite good. Raspberry leaf tea is said to contain lots of nutrients and many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy pregnancy, including vitamin A, C, E and B, magnesium, calcium and iron so even if it's not going to help induce labour at least it includes lots of good things for you anyway. I must stress that it is probably wise to talk to your doctor or midwife if you are pregnant before you start a course of this tea as it is not recommend before 32 weeks of pregnancy I believe. I have read in places not to start it before 37 weeks so do proceed with caution if you wish to drink this tea.
Also raspberry leaf tea is meant to have a positive effect on your uterus as well. It is said to contain an alkaloid called fragine which helps the uterus to contract more efficiently during labour. According to an article I read, "Research has found that taking raspberry leafduring the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Some studies have also found that it reduces the need for an assisted delivery (i.e. an emergency cesarean or use of forceps or ventouse)". The article goes on to say that, "Sipping raspberry leaf tea during and after the birth is also said to help the uterus contract back down to size, reduce after birth bleeding and help initiate the let down of breastmilk."
So what does it actually taste like? Well, if you like herbal tea then you will probably like this too. The instructions on the box say to pour hot water over the tea bag and let it seep for at least 5 minutes to get the full benefit of the leaves. The water turns a deep raspberry colour. The tea is not overly fruity tasting and not really like a regular raspberry flavoured tea, it is a lot more subtle than that. They recommend that you get up to drinking at least four cups a day and i have to say by that point I am a bit sick of it but I will stick with it and am looking forward to the benefits it is said to give me.
Raspberry leaf tea is a herbal infusion alleged to help with the process of labour. It's not to be used during early pregnancy, because the way it's supposed to work is by increasing the power of uterine contractions - something you don't want when the little occupant is so tiny and fragile.
General wisdom suggests that if you're pregnant, you start drinking it around 36 weeks and have about one cup a day, gradually increasing it so you're having 4 cups a day by 40 weeks. If you're not pregnant, you can drink it simply because you like the taste, or to help with painful menstrual cramps. It's about 99p for 20 teabags, which isn't bad as herbal teas go.
Buying the Heath and Heather teabags means you get a slightly nicer-tasting tea than the loose tea. H&H bags include a fair whack of hibiscus as well, which makes it a tastier but possibly less effective tea-drinking experience, depending on what your aim is. You can sweeten the tea with honey or sugar, and drink it cool or cold.
I had these for the first couple of weeks, but while my pregnant/mummy friends had reported an increase in the strength of their Braxton-Hicks contractions I did not, so I switched to the loose tea that doesn't have the tasty additions and dealt with the unadulterated grassy taste.
This is the thing: the tea tastes incredibly green and healthy, but it's not a taste that's pleasant. There's some pleasure in drinking it, but it's the same kind of pleasure you get from being at the gym - an experience that is at best neutral but gives you a feeling of virtuousness.
Did the tea work? I've got no idea. Other people say it worked wonders for them, but my little monster went overdue, had to be induced, and then refused to have anything to do with the labour process so was hauled out of the sunroof. I did get back to normal very quickly afterwards, though, which the midwives attributed to my tea-guzzling.
The tea won't send you into labour, but it's good for your body and may help with the birth process and the aftermath. It doesn't taste great, but neither do loads of other things that are good for you.
When I was pregnant with my daughter I was an active member of pregnancy forums on the internet (oh for the time to do that with this pregnancy!) and raspberry leaf tea (or RLT) was constantly mentioned from about 30 weeks. Willing to try anything I bought a couple of boxes and took it regularly from 37 weeks until I went into labour at 41.
***What is it?***
There was a great deal of confusion about its actual purpose on the forums I visited, with many members actually believing it would bring labour on sooner. In fact it is a herbal infusion which helps to strengthen the muscles of the uterus to make contractions more efficient. Apparently it is something used by native Americans for many generations due to their belief in its efficacy. Most health food shops sell it in tea bag (mixed with other ingredients such as apple) or capsule form - or you can go to a NIMH herbalist where they will provide you with a stronger and less adulterated version of the loose herb.
My research on the internet also suggests it is useful for painful menstrual cramps (makes sense), as a fertility treatment which balances the hormones of men and women and as a treatment for diarrhoea/intestinal inflammation due to its high tannin content. It has high levels of Vitamins C, E and A as well as iron and manganese.
***When can I take it from and how often?***
A quick search on the internet reveals many differing opinions on this, ranging from early pregnancy to the last weeks of gestation. The box I bought bears a strict warning not to use it in early pregnancy and the majority consensus (including all the health food shops I have bought it in) is that you should start taking it from 36 weeks. With my daughter I started with one cup a day at 36 weeks, went up to two cups at 37 weeks and by 38 weeks was taking three cups a day. I then continued to take it after the birth for several weeks to speed up the shrinking of my uterus. If you aren't pregnant you can take it at any time of course!
***What does it taste like?***
I bought the NIMH teabags from my local health food shop for £1.35 for 20 bags (Heath and Heather brand). The ingredients list shows that in addition to the Raspberry Leaves (48%) each bag contains:
Natural Raspberry Flavouring (6%)
This combination of flavours after five minutes of infusion in a cup of hot water makes a refreshingly tangy liquid with a slightly sour taste. Certainly many women have complained that it is not to their taste but this is easy to rectify with a spoonful of honey or sugar. When it was too warm for me to want to drink a hot cup of tea (my daughter was a June baby) I left it to cool before drinking, or left it in a jug in a fridge to drink later.
***Where can I get it from?***
Most health food shops stock the teabags and can put you in contact with NIMH members if you fancy the stronger loose tea. Holland and Barrett and many other retailers including Amazon stock both the tea and the capsules. The capsules seem to be around £5- £8 for 60, although I have not tried them so cannot comment on how effective they are.
***Did it work for you?***
From the first cup I noticed an increase in the strength and duration of my Braxton Hicks contractions which frightened me at first but became something I got used to. When it came to the labour itself I had strong but not particularly painful contractions for most of a day before going to hospital where I was discovered to be 8cm dilated (out of ten for those who aren't familiar with childbirth). Even though my daughter turned back to back for the last half of the labour contractions were manageable with gas and air and a TENS machine and I only pushed for 5 minutes before my daughter was born. I believe that the speed and ease of my labour was at least in part due to the RLT which I took religiously in the weeks leading up to the birth.
For my second child I am definitely going to take the RLT again, although I have booked a homebirth as a precaution in case this one is in more of a hurry to arrive!
-----**Before I start my review, I must state that Heath and Heather warn on the packet that this product should be avoided by those in early pregnancy. If in doubt seek medical advice. **---
------How I first came across this product: --------
Raspberry leaf tea was recommended to me whilst I was in the latest stage of pregnancy (from 37 weeks onwards) as it is supposed to have properties that encourage contractions. I thought I would give it a whirl. My midwife said there was no concrete evidence to suggest that it would work, but seeing as I was eating pineapple by the kilo I thought I would try this too. Sadly it had no affect on bringing on labour for me at all but I would like to share my experiences of this product as a drink in its own right. The fact that it didn't bring labour on for me does not cloud my judgement of the product; as my midwife said, there was no evidence that it actually did help to bring on labour.
------What Heath and Heather Say about this product:------
A fragrant blend of raspberry leaf, natural flavour and real apple pieces combine to make this delicate tea.
------My initial cup of Raspberry Leaf Tea:------
I first tried this product in the traditional way that one would drink herbal tea, by following the directions.
------Directions on the packet:------
Place the filter bag in a cup or a warmed pot (one per person). Add boiling water. Leave for 3-5 minutes to bring out the full flavour. Best drunk without milk.
(I also added to this some honey).
The flavour is quite subtle, as stated on the packet. You can really pick out the apple flavour. However, it does not have a strong raspberry flavour as one would imagine; I guess this is because the product is make from the leaf of the plant rather than the fruit. Prior to adding the honey I found that the flavour was a little bitter, and by adding honey it took the edge off this. However everyone's taste buds differ and others may find that honey is not needed. The aroma is quite pleasant too; again it matches the subtlety of the flavour.
As a drink I found that this was quite enjoyable and very soothing. As with most herbal teas this product does not contain caffeine, so it was an enjoyable warm drink and a healthier alternative to traditional caffeinated tea or coffee.
------I started to experiment:------
Ok I was waiting for the baby to come, house bound because I was huge and well the baby had been 'engaged' in the right place for some time now. Therefore I was a little bored...
The weather was rather warm when I was at this stage of my pregnancy; so in an attempt to try the theory as mentioned at the beginning of my review, I started to experiment with ways of making this into a summer drink. After one or two goes I found that the following blend was rather a pleasant experience.
I used three teabags and put them into a large jug, I then poured on boiled but slightly cooled water. When the tea was cold I added some ice cubes, a handful of fresh mint and a generous handful of sliced strawberries. I found that the mint and strawberries brought out the fruity flavour of the drink and I really enjoyed sipping this in the warm sunshine. I found that not only was the taste enjoyable but it was a refreshing drink as well! I am glad I experimented with this product. I think I preferred this method of making the tea to the traditional way. However, my judgement is partly swayed by the mini heatwave that we had in England during April!
I bought a 40g box which contained 20 tea bags. I bought the product from Holland and Barrett where it cost me £1.05. The product contains the following ingredients: raspberry leaves (48%), Hibiscus, Blackberry Leaves, Natural raspberry Flavour 96%), Tartaric Acid, Rosehips, raspberries (1%), Apple Pomace (1%).
I thought that it was good value for money as the Best Before Date is December 2008 and I originally bought this product in April 2007.
------Other opinions about the product:------
Many of my friends who I have met through being pregnant also tried this product. Opinion was divided about the taste of this product, many of my friends found the tea flavourless; however some of these were used to traditional tea and were not big fans of herbal tea anyway.
Heath and Heather Raspberry Leaf Tea in my opinion is refreshing. It is a lovely alternative to other warm drinks. As an iced tea it works rather nicely too. For a pregnant lady was also a good alternative whilst my friends were sipping Pimms in the sunshine! I didn't feel so left out. If you are in your last few days of pregnancy and just want to get on with going into labour well, I cannot say it works, but for £1.05 a box and a nice taste it is worth a try.
Brand: Heath & Heather / Fruit Tea