|Labrador tea with flowers: photo: Marian De Gier Design|
|therapeutic labrador tea: note fuzzy brown hairs underneath leaves|
Camosun bog is part of the territory of the Musqueam X'muzk'i'um. 150 years ago, in the Pacific Northwest, your grandma might have sent you to the Bog to pick Labrador tea if your little brother was coughing. You had to be careful, because if you picked Kalmia instead, your little buddy would be vomiting.
Now that many of us are suffering the effects of a seasonal cold or flu, a hot cup of Labrador Tea sounds very attractive... until you read this from the Alberta Plant Watch:
Hmmm... in contrast, the Herbal Companion makes it sound harmless. Most websites warn the tea-drinker to enjoy no more than one cup. Any grandmas out there to tell us how to use this herb properly?
Modern city dwellers have forgotten how to use herbal infusions from the wild. We are more likely to step into a drug store than the forest and bog. And science encourages a dispassionate skepticism about traditional herbs. I was well educated in this attitude. When I gave birth, exhausted, and on painkillers, I rudely refused the traditional herbal infusions provided by my mother-in-law, fearing drug effects on my baby (through breast feeding). Meanwhile, I unquestioningly swallowed pills developed less than 70 years ago. The traditional herbs had been given to post-partum women over the past 2000 years with no ill effect.
I would like to learn more about the ethnobotany of our place, before it is forgotten completely. This children's book resource: Making Tea at Grandma's from a First Nation in Yukon offers a method to brew Labrador Tea. No metal containers for brewing and serving, apparently!