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Benefits and Side Effects of Labrador Tea

Benefits and Side Effects of Labrador Tea

Labrador tea has been used for centuries, and is known for its amazing health benefits. However, there isn't much evidence that proves the effectiveness of this plant. Let us find about the reported benefits and possible side effects of Labrador tea.
Niharika Arya
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Women of Native American tribes used Labrador tea before childbirth, as it has mild narcotic properties which reduces pain to some extend.
Botanical Name: Ledum groenlandicum

Common Name: Labrador Tea

Other Names: Hudson Bay tea, Haida tea, Indian tea, etc.

Family: Ericaceae

Found in: The areas of Eastern and Northern North America to Greenland
Physical Characteristics
Labrador tea is a low, evergreen shrub which grows in dense colonies. These shrubs are about 0.3 to 0.8 m tall and have narrow leaves with rolled edges. They bear bunches of numerous white flowers, which are aromatic and sticky, and are meant to attract pollinators.

Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum) is a tisane or herbal tea. It is believed to have many medicinal benefits, and is very commonly used among tribal people to cure many diseases. It consists of narcotic properties which is sometimes used for relieving pain, but can be harmful if consumed in high concentration.
Reported Benefits of Labrador Tea
Labrador tea has been used by the North American Indian for centuries. It is said that the leaves of this plant possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and are rich in vitamin C. People use the leaves as condiment and tea, as it is known to work as a natural therapy for curing various diseases. Some of the other reported benefits are as follows.
  • Used as a spice, North American Indians often used Labrador tea leaves for flavoring. They usually combined it with meat to increase its flavor. Tea made from the leaves is considered to be very refreshing.
  • The leaves of the Labrador plant are sometimes added to beer, which is known to improve its taste and make it more intoxicating.
  • It has high toxic properties, and was used in the past for abortion.
  • Hanging the leaves in the cupboard is said to repel mosquitoes, fleas, and other insects.
  • Labrador tea is believed to have a number of medicinal uses. It was used for many health conditions and diseases. It is used externally to cure a number of skin problems. Cold tea can be directly applied to the skin, or can be used in bathing water. Tea made from these leaves is known be very helpful in a curing soar throat, chest congestion, cough, etc. It is also said to cure diarrhea, joint and muscle pain, headache, burns, dizziness, etc. However, all the above benefits lack any clinical support.
Possible Side Effects of Labrador Tea
Labrador tea is usually considered safe for everyone, but only when the consumption is restricted to small quantities. Following are some of the side effects reported, due to excessive consumption of Labrador tea.
  • Due to its toxicity, Labrador tea can lead to a miscarriage, if consumed by a pregnant woman. Therefore, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are strictly prohibited from consuming this tea.
  • Care should be taken while preparing the tea, as the steam may cause vomiting, gastroenteritis, diarrhea, delirium, spasms, and even death.
  • Animals do not consume the leaves of this plant, as they are known to be poisonous. However, bees are attracted to the flowers.
  • They also contain narcotic substances, the effects of which resemble the effects of caffeine. In large doses, it may cause cramps and paralysis.
  • High concentration of the tea can also result in confusion, convulsions, slow pulse, and low blood pressure.
Try Labrador tea after considering all the possible side effects. Take advice on how to prepare it from an experienced person, as high concentration can be harmful. Although it is considered as a natural product, and usually does not show any side effects if taken carefully, consult your physician about the dosage and its effectiveness. The dosage will depend upon the age, health condition, and the purpose of taking it.
Disclaimer: This HolisticZine article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.