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Effect of Maternal Raspberry Leaf Consumption in Rats on Pregnancy Outcome and the Fertility of the Female Offspring

Abstract

Background

The use of herbal medicines by pregnant women is on the rise. However, there is limited information regarding the safety of these compounds during pregnancy. Therefore, the goal of this study was to explore the consequences of raspberry leaf use during gestation in Wistar rats.

Methods

Female rats were randomly assigned to receive vehicle, raspberry leaf, or specific flavonoids in raspberry leaf (kaempferol or quercetin; 10 mg/kg per day) orally once breeding had been confirmed until parturition. We assessed pregnancy outcomes in the P generation and reproductive development/fertility in the F1 raspberry leaf—exposed female offspring.

Results

Raspberry leaf use during pregnancy was associated with increased gestation length and accelerated reproductive development in the F1 offspring.

Conclusions

Results from this study have shown for the first time that raspberry leaf use during pregnancy can have long-term consequences for the health of the offspring and raise concerns about the safety of this herbal preparation for use during pregnancy.

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Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alison C. Holloway PhD.

Additional information

We thank Carolyn Cesta, Pei Wen Chou, Laura Paduch, Jennifer Bruin, Alex Petre, Kajal Chohan, and the staff of the Central Animal Facility at McMaster University for assistance with the animal work. This project was supported by a SickKids Foundation grant in Complementary and Alternative Health Care and Paediatrics and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (ACH and DJC).

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Johnson, J.R., Makaji, E., Ho, S. et al. Effect of Maternal Raspberry Leaf Consumption in Rats on Pregnancy Outcome and the Fertility of the Female Offspring. Reprod. Sci. 16, 605–609 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1177/1933719109332823

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/1933719109332823

Key words

  • Raspberry leaf
  • ntrauterine exposure
  • pregnancy loss
  • puberty
  • transgenerational effects