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Marsh Tea

Scientific Names

Marsh Tea - Ledum palustre

  • Ledum palustre L.
  • Ledum latifolium
  • Ledum groenlandicum L.
  • Ericaceae
  • Heath family

Common Names

Ledum palustre:

  • Marsh cistus
  • Moth herb
  • Narrow-leaved Labrador tea
  • Swamp tea
  • Wild rosemary

Ledum latifolium:

  • James tea
  • Labrador tea
  • Wild rosemary
  • Continental tea

Ledum groenlandicum:

  • Labrador tea

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Parts Usually Used

Ledum palustre: The entire plant

Ledum latifolium: Leaves

Ledum groenlandicum: Leaves
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Marsh Tea - Ledum groenlandicum

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Ledum palustre:
Marsh tea is an evergreen shrub; the rust-colored, woolly branches bear alternate, leathery, linear leaves that are green and glabrous on top and covered with rust-colored down beneath. Terminal umbels of white, or sometimes rose-colored, bell-shaped flowers appear from May to July.

Ledum latifolium:
This species is called both Labrador tea and Marsh tea; it is an evergreen shrub; a low ornamental plant from 1-6 feet high, having narrow, dark leaves lined underneath with rust-colored woolly hairs and bearing white, bell-shaped flowers in early spring. During the American Revolution the leaves are said to have been used as a substitute for commercial tea.

Ledum groenlandicum:
Labrador tea is an evergreen shrub; growing 3 feet high, the leathery leaves are fragrant, oblong or linear-oblong; white or rusty woolly hairs underneath; edges turned under. Small white flowers in terminal clusters from May to July.
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Where Found

Ledum palustre:
Grows particularly in peat bogs and moist places in the northern areas of North America, Europe, and Asia. It is sometimes cultivated as an ornamental.

Ledum latifolium:
Common to North America and is found as far south as Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

Ledum groenlandicum:
Found in peat soils, bogs; from Labrador to New Jersey; Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota; across Canada to Alaska.
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Marsh Tea - Ledum latifolium

Medicinal Properties

Ledum palustre: Astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant

Ledum latifolium: Expectorant, diuretic, pectoral

Ledum groenlandicum: Astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant
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Uses

Ledum palustre:
Used externally, marsh tea makes a good remedy for all kinds of skin problems, boils. Internally, it stimulates the nerves and the stomach, headache. An infusion or cold extract is used for rheumatism, gout, and arthritis. A syrup made from marsh tea is sometimes used for coughs and hoarseness.

Ledum latifolium:
Useful for colds, asthma, bronchial, tuberculosis, and pulmonary problems. Externally, used for eczema, acne, erythema nodosum, gout, rheumatism, stings, tetanus, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), wounds, boils, bruises, deafness, ear inflammations, prickly heat, scabby dandruff.

Ledum groenlandicum:
Native Americans used the leaf tea for asthma, colds, stomachaches, kidney ailments, scurvy, fevers, rheumatism, blood purifier. Externally, used as a wash for burns, ulcers, stings, chafing, poison ivy rash. Folk remedy for coughs, lung ailments, dysentery, indigestion; used externally for leprosy, itching, and to kill lice.
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Formulas or Dosages

Ledum palustre:
Infusion: steep 1 tbsp. dried leaves or herb in 1/2 cup boiling water. Take 1/2 cup per day.

Cold extract: Soak 1 tbsp. dried leaves or herb in 1/2 cup cold water for 10 hours. Take 1/2 cup per day.

Ledum latifolium:
Decoction: 1 oz. tea to 2 pints boiling water; drink as required, a mouthful at a time.

Ledum groenlandicum:
Decoction: 1 oz. tea to 2 pints boiling water; drink as required, a mouthful at a time.
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Warning

All varieties: Excessive doses can cause poisoning.
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Bibliography

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

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