Aboriginal Students Health Sciences (ASHS) Elder in Residence Bertha Skye talks about various Indigenous medicines and cultural practices. This episode looks at Labrador Tea.

 Labrador tea is a common name for the three closely related plant species and the name of an herbal tea made from the plants:

All three species are primarily wetland plants in the heath family. The herbal tea has been a favorite beverage among Athabaskan and Inuit people.

The Athabaskans brew the leaves as a beverage. Others use Labrador tea to spice meat by boiling the leaves and branches in water and then soaking the meat in the decoction. The Pomo, Kashaya, Tolowa and Yurok of Northern California boiled the leaves of Western Labrador Tea similarly, to make a medicinal herbal tea. In Greenland, this is still the case

Labrador Tea is found in peatlands, tundra and moist coniferous woods and is a frequenter of swamps, muskegs and bogs, though it may be found in drier, rocky places in the mountains. The plant is an indicator of wet, usually very acidic and nutrient poor organic soils and is widespread at low and medium elevations.

Labrador tea is slow growing, so new single leaves are collected in spring from multiple plants to avoid damaging individual plants every other year.


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