Labrador Tea (Ledum glandulosum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Labrador Tea
Ledum glandulosum
Ericaceae

The leaves are used to repel moths, mice, rats etc[172].

  • Medicinal Use

    The leaves and young flowering shoots re astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, laxative and stomachic[172].

  • Edible Use

    An aromatic tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves[172, 183, 257]. The dried leaves are often mixed with non-aromatic leaves such as comfrey[183]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. It would be better to brew the tea in cold water by leaving it in a sunny place, or to make sure that it is brewed for a short time only in an open container.

    The leaves are used as a flavouring, they are a bayleaf substitute[172].

    The fresh leaves can be chewed[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Plants contain a narcotic toxin called Ledel. This toxin only causes problems if the leaves are cooked for a long period in a closed container[172].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – surface sow in a shady part of the greenhouse in February or March[78, 113]. Another report says that the seed is best sown in the autumn as soon as it is ripe[188]. Germination is variable and can be quite slow. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow the pots on in a shady frame for 18 months before planting them out into their permanent positions[78]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 5 – 8cm with a heel, July/August in a frame. Plant out in spring. Fair percentage[78]. Cuttings of mature wood, November/December in a frame[113]. Layering in the autumn. Takes 12 months[78]. Division.
Requires a lime-free loam or peaty soil[1, 11]. Prefers a moist humus-rich acid soil in shade or semi-shade[200]. Plants flower more freely when grown in a sunny position. Plants grow better if they have certain fungal associations in the soil. The best way of providing this is to incorporate some soil from around well-growing established plants into the soil for the new plant[200]. Hardy to at least -15¡c[200]. The leaves are covered in tiny spots or glands from which a strong, resinous scent is given off[245]. The flowers also have an aromatic perfume[245]. Plants benefit from removing the dead flowers before they set seed[188]. This prevents them putting too much energy into seed production at the expense of more flowers and leaves.
Western N. America.

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*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.