Raspberry fruit (Fu Pen Zi)

FRUCTUS RUBIRaspberry fruit is often mistaken for cherry, a well-known berry for being sweet and juicy. Actually raspberry isn’t second to cherry from look to flavor. It is soft, juicy, and with inviting color. Most importantly, it contains anthocyanins, raspberry ketone, ellagic acid, and many other active substances, which make it come with many health benefits, such as antioxidation, antibiosis, anti-inflammation, anti-cancer, weight loss, and skin care. No wonder in the United States and Europe it is one of the most popular berry fruits that are highly acceptable and widely cultivated. However, in China it is not so much a fruit as a Chinese herb called Fu Pen Zi. And there the species is also slightly different.

What is raspberry fruit?

Also known as FRUCTUS RUBI, Palmleaf Raspberry Fruit, and Chinese Raspberry, medicinally it means the dried fruit of Rubus chingii Hu, a plant in the family Rosaceae. It is harvested in early summer when the fruits turn from green to yellow. Next remove its stems and leaves, slightly scald them in hot water or slightly steam them, and then take out for drying.

Raspberry aggregate fruit is composed of many drupelets. It is conical or flat conical, 0.6 to 1.3cm in height, and 0.5 to 1.2cm in diameter. Surface is yellow-green or light brown, and with obtuse top and center-recessed base. Persistent calyx is tan in color and with fruit stem mark below. Drupelets are easy to peel off. Each of them is half-moon-shaped, and with densely fuzz covered back, clearly textured flanks, and ridged abdomen. And it is lightweight, hard, and with light odor and slightly acerb taste.

Main chemical constituents of raspberry are organic acids, saccharides, and a small amount of vitamin C, ellagic acid, β-sitosterol, fupenzic acid, and so on.

Raspberry fruit benefits

Being one kind of tasty aggregate fruit, the raspberry fruit advantages are numerous. It presents a few different colors, like red, golden, and black. Raspberry acid fruit is usually consumed as a fruit or vegetable in Europe and America, or used to make a lot of yummy food and snacks, such as beer, ale, butter, cake, coulis, cake filling, fruit compote, cream cheese, drinks, extract, jello, salad, dip, fruit crisp, fruit leather, fruit bar, and so on. What’s more, its Chinese species can be used medicinally thanks to its extraordinary range of medical uses with high nutritional value. And one of its known effects is invigorating the kidney and strengthening Yang, namely enhance sexual functions.

Modern pharmacological actions of raspberry

As for what is raspberry fruit good for, let’s take a look that its description from the modern pharmacology.

1. Bacteriostatic action. 100% decoction can inhibit Staphylococcus and vibrio cholerae;
2. Estrogen-like effect. Indicators of vaginal smear and endometrial biopsy in rat and rabbit showed that raspberry seemed to have estrogen-like effects.

Proven raspberry related herbal remedies

Raspberry is sweet, and sour in taste and neutral and non-toxic in properties, from the perspective of Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It covers meridians of liver and kidney. Chief functions are tonifying liver and kidney, securing essence and reducing urination, and improving eyesight. Vital raspberry fruit uses include impotence and premature ejaculation, nocturnal emission, infertility due to uterus cold, thin leucorrhea, frequency of urination and enuresis, blurred vision, premature graying of hair, and more. Recommended dosage is from 5 to 10 grams in decoction, pills, or powder.

1. Fu Pen Zi Wan. This formula comes from Bei Ji Qian Jin Yao Fang (Prescriptions worth a Thousand in Gold for Every Emergency). It is basically designed for marked emaciation due to internal lesion that is caused by overexertion. Other major herbal ingredients include Rou Cong Rong (Fleshy Stem of Broomrape), Ba Ji Tian (Morinda Root), Long Gu (Fossilized Bones), Wu Wei Zi (Schisandra Seed), and so on.

2. Wu Zi Yan Zong Wan. This prescription is from She Sheng Zhong Miao Fang (Marvelous Formulas for the Health of the Multitudes). As it name implied, this is a prescription mainly formulated for kidney-induced night emission, spermatorrhea, erectile dysfunction (ED), infertility, and more. The rest of other key herbs are Gou Qi Zi (Chinese Wolfberry Fruit), Tu Si Zi (Chinese Dodder Seeds), Schisandra Seed, etc.

Potential raspberry fruit side effects and contraindications

Is raspberry fruit good for pregnancy? According to the description in Ming Yi Bie Lu (Miscellaneous Records of Famous Physicians), this herb is considered nontoxic and thus likely safe during pregnancy as long as it is taken properly. However, use it with care in cases of kidney deficiency induced fire, scanty urine, and difficult urination.

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