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Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum)

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Also listed as: Ledum groenlandicum
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Bog tea, finnmarkspors, getpors, Hudson's Bay tea, James tea, marsh tea, mose-post, muskeegobug aniibi (Ojibwe), muskeko-pukwa (Cree), skvattram, St. James tea, sumpf-porst, suopursu, swamp growing tea, swamp tea, vildpors, wish-a-ca-pucca (Chpewyan).

Background
  • Labrador tea is a small, aromatic shrub with a narrow, leathery leaf. It is also known as Hudson Bay tea and is used as a spice for meat.
  • Native American tribes used labrador tea to treat a variety of ailments including headaches, asthma, colds, stomachaches and kidney ailments. It was also used topically as a wash for burns, ulcers, pruritus (severe itching), dry skin, dandruff, and lice. The plant is also said to have mild narcotic properties and was used by Native women before childbirth.
  • Theoretically, if too much tea is ingested it may be cathartic (produces bowel movements) and may cause intestinal problems. Currently, no scientific studies in humans or animals are available involving labrador tea.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Analgesic (pain reliever), arthritis, asthma, childbirth (aid), burns, colds, cough, dandruff, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), diuretic, dizziness, elimination of blood toxins (blood purifier), fever, hangovers, headache, heartburn, kidney problems, laxative, narcotic, pruritus (severe itching), skin problems, skin ulcers, stomach ache, tuberculosis.

Dosing

Adults (over 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose of labrador tea. Traditionally, 2-4 fluid ounces of labrador tea infusion, three to four times a day, has been used.
  • Also, an ointment made of labrador tea has been applied on the skin to treat ulcers, cracked nipples, burns and scalds.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose of labrador tea in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to labrador tea.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There are no available scientific studies reporting adverse effects of labrador tea. However, ingesting large quantities of labrador tea may cause stomachache, and act as a laxative. Labrador tea overdoses may also cause violent headache, drowsiness and symptoms of intoxication.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Labrador tea is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Labrador tea has narcotic properties, and theoretically may have additive effects with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Labrador tea has narcotic properties, and theoretically may have additive effects with other herbs and supplements that are central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. Hall BD, St Louis VL. Methylmercury and total mercury in plant litter decomposing in upland forests and flooded landscapes. Environ.Sci Technol 10-1-2004;38(19):5010-5021.

Copyright 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.