Labrador Tea

Labrador Tea

Forgot the tea bags and dying for a cuppa? Look around the camp. Chances are your drippy socks are draped over a Labrador tea bush. Steep the leaves, but not the socks, in boiled water for a tea that was enjoyed by more North American Indians than any other kind. Don’t actually boil the leaves however as boiling releases a chemical called ledol which has a number of unpleasant side effects. Pregnant women should avoid Labrador tea altogether. As a mild narcotic, Labrador tea was also an essential ingredient in kinnikinnik, a tobacco-less smoking mixture used by native groups throughout much of North America.

Illustration by Manami Kimura