If you’re an herbal tea fanatic or a home remedy solutions type of person, this article will be a great read for you.
And if you don’t meet either of these descriptions, you may read on to learn about an interesting plant native to higher latitudes. Or perhaps your interest will be piqued by a fascinating history that moves from indigenous use all the way to rebellions.
Here we will be covering Labrador tea, a tangy, aromatic, subshrub that grows in northern regions across the globe.
Identifying the Labrador Tea Plant
Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum)是一种相当著名和分布广泛的植物，分布在北美北部和全球。在春天和夏天的时候，这种小灌木随着它的花簇的开花，给风景洒上了白色的花朵。拉布拉多茶除了它的花朵之外，很容易辨认，因为它的叶子是典型的深绿色和坚韧的，通常在边缘下卷曲。如果你熟悉杜鹃花(杜鹃花)，它的叶子在树枝上交替的方式是相似的。
One of the key factors in identifying this unique species is hidden underneath its leaves. Flip them and you’ll find a fuzzy orange blanket of hair.
A key characteristic of Labrador tea that is quite helpful in identifying it lies beyond its appearance, and instead, in its aroma. The plant has a strong smell that drifts into the air by brushing past it with your pants leg. I personally find the scent to be difficult to describe because to me, it just smells like Labrador tea – and trust me, the scent is unmistakable (in a good way). After a little research, however, I found that people like to describe the smell as a mixture of fresh pine and cedar with pinches of spice and eucalyptus.
Labrador Tea History and Uses
Ever heard of the Boston Tea Party (not everyone is a history buff, so don’t worry if this isn’t ringing a bell)? Either way, the tea party was a political protest that happened in, you guessed it, Boston. The protest was in response to Britain’s imposed taxes, and over 300 chests of black tea that had been recently imported by the British East India Company, were dumped in the harbor.
What does this have to do with Labrador tea? Well, in order to avoid the black tea that was causing so much political protest, alternatives that were native grown, and therefore seen as patriotic, were served instead. One of the most popular was Labrador tea.
Of course, Labrador tea was enjoyed far before this part of American history. The plant has been brewed into teas, sipped, and enjoyed for centuries. Indigenous people in woodland North America were brewing this plant and using it as medicines far before colonists arrived.
Medicinal Benefits and Uses of Labrador Tea
Medicinal benefits of this plant range from helping with various skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, to alleviating sore throat symptoms and chest congestion. It may help with kidney infections, inflammation, headaches, digestive issues, and respiratory problems. Some say the plant helps give energy, much like the effects of caffeine. It’s a nice pick-me-up if that’s what you’re looking for.
Arguably the most popular medicinal use of this plant is for respiratory problems. Labrador tea has anti-inflammatory properties that help eliminate discomfort associated with sore throats and common congestion. Many people drink the tea to help with bronchitis, coughs, and general flu symptoms.
On a more traditional note, this plant has long been used to help treat kidney disorders because the mild diuretic properties help flush the system when it’s overloaded with toxins. On this same note, some active ingredients in Labrador tea are tannins and sesquiterpene which induce a calming effect that are helpful for digestive issues and feminine-associated aches and pains such as cramping and bloating, as well as diarrhea and constipation.
Note: If consumed in large quantities, the same active ingredients can cause upset stomach, so be aware.
The astringent and antioxidant properties of this plant can be helpful for cases of eczema, psoriasis, and irritation of the skin. Brewing a strong pot of Labrador tea, allowing it to cool, and applying the liquid to problem spots on the skin can benefit these conditions.
Vitamin C is found in moderate quantities in this plant, which adds to the antioxidant properties. It can help boost your immune system.
*As with most herbal remedies, these medicinal benefits have not been approved by the CDC在使用时要知道这是一种顺势疗法。
*Ifyou have never tried Labrador tea, you should do so cautiously, handle and smell with care, and if brewing, sip slowly over a prolonged period of time to ensure no allergic reaction.
It perhaps needn’t be mentioned, but aside from the medicinal values of this plant, it can generally be enjoyed as a spice. Indigenous people used this plant as a flavoring to foods, and settlers found that when the leaves were brewed with beer, it added a nice flavor and (some speculated) made the beer more intoxicating.
Due to its pungent smell, some have found success hanging bundles of leaves around their homes to repel mosquitos and other pesky flying insects. Similarly, the smell can be extracted to make deliciously scented candles and soaps, if one is feeling so inclined.
A Note of Caution
The closest look-alike species is called bog rosemary (Andromeda polifolia), and it is quite important to recognize the difference. Bog rosemary is highly poisonous due to a toxin (andromedotoxin) found in all parts of the plant. As already stated, Labrador tea has orange hairs present under its leaves, bog rosemary does not. Aside from this, the flowers of the two species are a giveaway that they are different. Labrador tea has a cluster of white flowers, bog rosemary has drooping, pink, bell-shaped flowers. It’s only their leaves that look alike.
Leave a Reply