Labrador tea (Ledum groenlandicum)
Natural Standard Bottom Line Monograph, Copyright © 2013 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.
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).
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.
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.
No available studies qualify for inclusion in the evidence table.
*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 against this use (it may not work); F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).
The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. 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 health care professional.
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.
The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.
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.
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.
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.
Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.
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.
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).
Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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. View Abstract
Copyright © 2013 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.
March 22, 2017