Labrador Tea

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Continental Tea, Lédon du Groenland, Ledum groenlandicum, Ledum latifolium, Rhododendron groenlandicum, St. James's Tea, Té de Labrador, Thé du Labrador, Thé Velouté.


Labrador tea is a plant. The leaves and flowering shoots are used to make medicine.

People take Labrador tea for sore throat, chest congestion, coughs, lung infections, and other chest ailments. They also take it for diarrhea, kidney problems, joint and muscle pain (rheumatism), headache, and cancer.

Women use it to cause an abortion or treat “female disorders.”

Some people add Labrador tea to bath water or apply it directly to the skin to treat skin problems.

In foods, Labrador tea is used as a beverage or to make beer more intoxicating.

How does it work?

Labrador tea might make it easier to cough by thinning mucus. There isn’t enough information to know how Labrador tea might work for other medicinal uses.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Coughs.
  • Sore throat.
  • Lung infections.
  • Chest ailments.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Rheumatism.
  • Headache.
  • Cancer.
  • Causing abortion.
  • Female disorders.”
  • Skin problems, when applied directly.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of Labrador tea for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Labrador tea is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when used as a weak tea or in small amounts.

Labrador tea is LIKELY UNSAFE when used in concentrated solutions or in large amounts. If you take a large amount of Labrador tea, get medical help right away. Labrador tea can cause side effects such as vomiting, inflammation of the lining in the stomach and the intestines (gastroenteritis), diarrhea, delirium, spasms, paralysis, and death.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: It’s UNSAFE to use Labrador tea if you are pregnant. It might cause an abortion. It’s also best to avoid Labrador tea if you are breast-feeding. The effects on a nursing infant are unknown.


The appropriate dose of Labrador tea depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for Labrador tea. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

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Hall, B. D. and St Louis, V. L. 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.

Moerman, D. Native American Ethnobotany. 1998.

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