Labrador Tea

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Scientific Information

[Labrador Tea] (Lèdum palústre) is sometimes called Indian Tea is classified in the Heath family. It has strong aromatic leaves that can be used to make a herbal tea and has been a favorite among Eskimos and Athabaskans. Labrador tea is a low shrub with evergreen leaves. The leaves are smooth on top with often wrinkled edges, and fuzzy white to red-brown underneath. The tiny white flowers grow in hemispherical clusters and are very fragrant and sticky and highly attractive to bees. It grows in peaty soils, shrubby areas, moss and lichen tundra.

The Athabaskans use it as a beverage and also as medicine for weak blood, colds, tuberculosis, dizziness, stomach problems, heartburn, and kidney problems. It grows slowly, so pick individual leaves rather than whole branches, and harvest from different shrubs. In addition, Labrador tea grows in abundance in large patches so it should not be difficult to move from plant to plant to avoid over-harvesting. Labrador tea is an evergreen plant and will be available all year long.

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