Labrador tea can be brewed from three closely related plants in the heath family: Bog Labrador tea, Northern Labrador tea, and Western Labrador tea grow in bogs and wetland areas in most regions of Canada. People have been brewing soothing teas from their fresh and dried leaves for generations. Western Labrador tea has a more subtle taste than its Eastern counterpart, Bog Labrador tea, which tends to have a stronger, more camphorous aroma. If you can’t harvest your own, you can purchase Labrador tea at herbal tea stores or online. It is high in vitamin C and is believed to have important medicinal properties for treating colds, indigestion, sore throats, and fever, but needs to be consumed in moderation (toxicity can occur when it’s steeped for too long or if more than several cups per day are ingested).

  • Make the tea: Bring 4 cups/ 1 L of water to a boil in a saucepan. Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the tea leaves (they’ll float on the surface of the water so push them down with a spoon to submerge them a few times during the steeping process). Let steep for about 5 minutes (the tea will be a light-orange colour).
  • Make the syrup: Combine the water, honey, lemon juice, mint, rosemary, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and, using a fine-mesh sieve, strain well (discard solids). Set aside to cool.
  • To serve, fill a tall glass with ice. Add about 1⁄4 cup/60 mL of syrup and 11⁄2 cups/ 375 mL of brewed tea. Taste and add more syrup if you prefer it a little sweeter.

4 cups/1 L water 50 to 75 Labrador tea leaves Ice, for serving

3⁄4 cup /175 mL water 3⁄4 cup /175 mL good-quality organic honey (see sidebar) 1⁄4 cup /60 mL freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp /30 mL chopped fresh mint 2 sprigs fresh rosemary 1 x 3-inch / 7.5-cm cinnamon stick

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