Wild Raspberries (Rubus idaeus) and Blackberries (Rubus L.) belong to the Rubus genus in the plant world. They share the same family as roses. These are cane fruits or brambles that grow wild in New Hampshire. There are many varieties that are cultivated as well. The cultivated varieties are much better behaved and usually stay put where you plant them. Our native varieties like to travel – everywhere!

I know you’re already thinking of those juicy red berries and blackberries dangling on that 3 to 7 foot plant. Being only 3 to 7 feet is a great benefit to these wonderfully brambling plants that we love to eat and need a suit of armor to pick – at least the wild ones.

The Rubus spp. genus, specifically, blackberries and raspberries are designated as the 2020 Herb of Year by the International Herb Association.

Blackberry leaf

Although these plants give us the sweet delectable berries, I want to talk about the leaves of these plants. Leaves of red raspberry and blackberry plants have been used by generations for herbal medicine. The blackberry leaves are used as an antimicrobial and helpful antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that the leaves of these plants have higher antioxidant compounds than the berries. Blackberry leaves have been used as a benefit for digestive disorders as well. These plants grow wild in New Hampshire with canes reaching 7ft & 8ft long. They have a sturdy stem and large sharp thorns which will bring blood to the pursuers of the berries and leaves. Remember long sleeves, pants and gloves when working in the blackberry patch.

Wild Red Raspberry

Wild Red Raspberry leaves include vitamins A, B1, B2, B3 as well as vitamin C and E and some selenium. Red raspberry leaves although used for generations as a woman’s herb are packed with nutrition and are good for anyone. As an astringent, it helps to tone and tighten muscles. Nutritionally red raspberry leaves are loaded with calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron and magnesium. All of these nutrients, when provided regularly, help women during their monthly courses. The astringent properties of raspberry also helps to tighten and tone uterine and pelvic muscles. So when red raspberry is consumed regularly throughout the monthly cycle it may be of assistance in relieving some PMS symptoms. Red raspberry is known to have benefits during pregnancy. It has been used to ease nausea in morning sickness and helps to tone the body to be ready for birthing. It is best to speak with your doctor or midwife before taking during pregnancy.

Red Raspberry brambles are lighter green in color than blackberries, with a different compound leaf pattern. Two opposite, 2 opposite and a single top leaflet. The underside is silvery/white, as is the stem. Red Raspberry has prickles, which are a bother, but nowhere near the harshness of the thorny blackberry.

So although when we think of raspberries and blackberries we might first think of the juicy berries they produce, don’t overlook the benefit of the leaves themselves when made into an infusion or a tea. Remember about the greens when you’re picking your juicy berries.

Watch my video on identifying Wild Raspberry and Wild Blackberry brambles.