Raspberries (Rubus species) are members of the Rose family in which apples, peaches, plums and strawberries are also included. Technically, raspberries are not a true fruit, but a cluster of druplets surrounded by many small round seeded fruits.
Raspberries are a perennial with 5 petaled cream-colored flowers and irregular toothed leaves. The stems bear soft reddish prickles. You will often find this plant growing along roadsides, in mountain clearings and in woodland openings. It spreads by creeping suckers and prefers sun and a slightly acid soil. The berries ripen successively on the bush during the summer months; therefore it is easy to return to the same area to collect berries for several weeks in a row.
Raspberries are known for their high content of Vitamin C and potassium. The pectin contained in raspberries makes it useful in the "setting up" of jams and jellies. These delectable sweet and sour clusters can be made into syrup with honey to be used on pancakes. Wonderful wines and beers have also been made with raspberries. The pharmaceutical industry has long employed the flavorful raspberry to improve the flavor of less palatable medicines. It is the presence of flavonoids that give the raspberry its rich color. The red raspberry is native to North America and was first cultivated about 400 years ago in Europe.
The delicious sweet and sour flavor of the raspberries make it easy to enjoy the health benefits from these rich red jewels. In Chinese medicine, raspberries are regarded as a tonic for the kidneys and liver. They help to build the blood, hence are good for anemia. Raspberries are cleansing and have been used as a traditional medicine for diarrhea, frequent urination, impotence, high blood pressure, parasites, excess menstrual bleeding and rheumatism. Raspberries are very alkaline and help to improve mucous conditions such as catarrh. Antiviral properties have been discovered in the raspberry.
In the tradition of magic, raspberries have been used to bring love and protection into ones' life. As a flower essence, used to treat the emotional body, the flower of this fruit is used to impart kindheartedness to those that ingest it.