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Labrador tea

What is Labrador tea? Labrador tea, also known as Greenland tea, is a small shrub that can measure up to...

What is Labrador tea?

Labrador tea, also known as Greenland tea, is a small shrub that can measure up to 1 meter and is found in the forests of North America, including our beautiful province of Quebec. Like rhododendron, bearberry, azalea, gaylussaccia and blueberry, Labrador tea is a plant that belongs to the Ericaceae family.

It is mainly consumed as an infusion or as a condiment, but it is also used in aromatherapy or, more recently, as an ingredient in beauty products.

The harvesting period, mostly done with a pickaxe, lasts about six weeks, from early July to mid-August.

Its leaves are green above and orange below. They keep for a long time after picking.

PHOTO BY ROGER ASBURY, GETTY IMAGES

A little history

The Athabaskans, ancestors of the Navaos and Apaches, used Labrador tea as a beverage, but also as a medicine for colds, tuberculosis, dizziness, heartburn, kidney problems and hangovers. It was on the list of 17 plants designated by native healers for their therapeutic virtues.

During the world crisis of the 1930's and the American War of Independence (1775-1780), Chinese tea became increasingly rare and was quickly replaced by Labrador tea.

Today, scientists are interested in its high antioxidant and tannin content. Researchers at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi have just added anti-tumor functions to its list of virtues.

PHOTO PILKI

The benefits of Labrador tea

As mentioned above, Labrador tea was and still is used for its many benefits. Many of these properties are found in its essential oil, which is considered anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, decongestant and possibly antitumor. It would also be a hepatic drainer and a regenerator of liver cells.

Here are some of its benefits:

  • Anti-inflammatory and a natural antiseptic
    Labrador tea is known to significantly reduce tissue inflammation and has antiseptic properties. The disinfectant effect can be both internal and applied directly to the skin. On the anti-inflammatory side, the essential oil contained in Labrador tea could be beneficial for many ailments, such as allergies, bronchitis, fever, laryngitis, ganglion inflammation, skin problems of all kinds and thyroid regulation.
    Studies have found that the oil inside this miracle plant helps tolerance and response against Hepatitis B and C, as well as being good against prostate infection.
  • Reduces the risk of cancer
    Labrador tea is an excellent source of antioxidants. This can reduce the risk of cancer. In addition, the stem of the plant is also effective against cancerous cells such as lung and colon carcinoma.
  • Good against diabetes and obesity
    Studies show that Labrador tea can improve insulin sensitivity and reduce blood sugar levels. In addition, recent ethnobotanical data has shown that the plant has potential for treating the symptoms of type II diabetes.
  • "Labrador tea exerts potential anti-diabetic action by improving insulin sensitivity and mitigating obesity and hyperglycemia induced by a high-fat diet. They validate the safety and efficacy of this plant." (Ouchfoun et al., 2016)
  • Keep moths away
    These dreaded insects feed on the fibers of your clothes. To fight this scourge, use dried, crushed Labrador tea leaves. Put them in a bag and place it in your closets or cupboards.

PHOTO PILKI

How to prepare Labrador tea?

For a drinkable infusion

Labrador tea is not brewed like regular tea. It requires a longer and controlled infusion time.

Regarding the water used, it is preferable to use filtered, distilled or well water for infusions so that it is pure. The minerals or chlorine present in tap water will alter the taste of your tea. Do not boil your water. 90/95 degrees will be perfect to release the fragrance of your tea. Too much heat with boiled water will damage your leaves, diminishing the benefits and altering the taste.

Regarding the quantity to brew, start with 2 teaspoons or a few whole leaves per cup of water (250 ml). You can adjust the quantity the following times if you find your beverage more or less strong. Know that there is no right or wrong amount, really go with your taste.

So in summary:

  1. Warm your cup (always important not to shock the water and to keep the heat in).
  2. Use filtered or distilled water
  3. Heat the water to between 90 and 95°C maximum
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of Labrador tea
  5. Let infuse for 5 to 10 minutes (no longer)
  6. Taste

IMPORTANT TO NOTE

When preparing the tea, do not let it steep too long. This would release too much tannin, which could disturb your digestion. In high doses, Labrador tea can cause spasms, gastrointestinal irritation and nervous disorders. It is therefore important to avoid consuming large quantities: one cup per day is sufficient.

Its consumption is forbidden to pregnant women and children.

For an external application

Externally, Labrador tea is used to relieve pain, such as migraines, or as an antiseptic.

To do so, in ½ cup of water, prepare a tea concentrate with 1 tablespoon of dried and crushed leaves. Let it steep for 10 minutes and cool. On a compress, pour the cooled liquid thus obtained and then apply to the place to be treated (on the neck and forehead for a migraine for example).

Infusion thé du Labrador

PHOTO PILKI

Discover our selection

Camellia Sinensis - Classic Labrador tea
$9

Pilki - Rose & Chamomile
$8

Pilki - Beet & Poppy
$8

Pilki - Apple & Meadowsweet

$22.10

Sources: Pilki & Wikipedia

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