Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Facts: Supplements - Red Raspberry Leaf

Red Raspberry Leaf, the staple supplement for the pregnant cat!

Known and used for many years by cat breeders, and thousands of years (no, not kidding!) by pregnant women. Red Rasberry Leaf can be found as tea (dried leaves, make your own tonic), capsules, pills and fluid extract, my personal favorite.

Red Raspberry Leaf is known to:
  1. Help tone and strengthen the pelvic and uterine muscles, promoting strong contractions and thereby a swift delivery.
  2. Decrease constipation (which can be a problem in the 3rd trimester)
  3. Increase amount and quality of milk production.
The three items above are what is general knowledge, but I thought I'd go one step further and talk about what else RRL does, and WHY it works - which is something I have not found on any cat sites :).

Firstly, Red Raspberry Leaf contains a mix of vitamins and minerals in a mix which is perfect for the pregnant animal (and woman). It contains a high concentration of vitamins E and C, as well as Vitamin A and some of the B-Complex. The Red raspberry leaf also contains many essential minerals such as phosphorus, potassium, and an easily assimilated form of calcium, in just the right amounts NOT to upset your queens' delicate calcium/phosphorus balance. All of the vitamins and minerals in RRL is far more easily assimilated by your queen than a chemically created vitamin/mineral-mix would be.

Secondly, RRL contains Fragrine, an alkaloid. This is what helps tone the muscles of the pelvic region including the uterus and thereby allows the uterus to contract more powerfully and effectively during labor.

Thirdly, Red Raspberry Leaves contains a form of Oxytocin. This is interesting as Oxytocin is the very drug many cat breeders have on hand to induce labor. In high concentrations Oxytocin will cause contractions, but in low levels it will PREVENT premature delivery. Oxytocin is also one of the bodys' formost "FeelGood"-hormones and its positive effects are numerous. The list below shows some of the proven effects of Oxytocin on humans. It can be assumed that most if not all of these effects are directly translatable to your queen.


...eases pain
...lowers blood pressure
...lower the levels of stress hormones
...improves digestion and the ability to assimilate nutrients
...stimulates growth
...speeds up healing of wounds and strengthens the immune system
...induces calm and tranquility of the mind
...makes us more social and interested in our surroundings
...makes us less fearful
...improves relationships
...increases learning ability

Because of Oxytocins ability to induce contractions, in humans it is sometimes not recommended to take Red Raspberry Leaf in the first trimester. To stay on the safe side, I would recommend the same protocol in a cat. For the queen this does not pose a problem, as it will normally take 3 weeks (the first trimester) before you are sure that she is pregnant and start supplementing.

So, what about dosage? Well, this largely depends on which form you are using. At the Cyberhousehold we use the fluid extract made by Nature's Answer (if you buy an extraxt, PLEASE make sure it is alcohol-free!) which is both organic and holistically balanced.

The pregnant Cyberqueen get's 0,5 ml daily, starting at the beginning of the 4th week. At the beginning of week 7 (2 weeks before delivery) the dose is upped to 0,5 ml twice daily.

Although an age-old remedy (at least as far back as the old Greeks and Romans, Red Raspberry has been used by pregnant women), even modern medical science agrees. Medical studies have shown that red raspberry leaf can be consumed safely during pregnancy and can decrease the length of labor and decrease the number of interventions used such as artificial rupture of membranes (AROM), assisted delivery, and cesarean delivery.1 Red raspberry leaf also seems to help prevent pregnancies from pre-or post-term gestation (delivering too early or too late).

To sum it up - This is the one supplement that will ALWAYS be a part of a pregnant Cyberqueens' diet. In fact, I'll gobble the tea myself should I ever get pregnant. No doubt about it :)
1 Raspberry leaf in pregnancy: its safety and efficacy in labor.
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2001 Mar-Apr;46(2):51-9.
PMID: 11370690 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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