Uses for Ledum palustre.
It's surprisingly versatile.
Marsh Labrador tea (Ledum palustre, Rhododendron tomentosum) is an abundant bog plant over here, and has been used for various things.
Back in February a lady told me that she's made an oil from the plant, and that it'll turn black black black if you let it sit for long enough. Which oil then works to repel various bugs, including (I think) horseflies.
And this week, another lady told me that she's used it in foot baths for foot fungus - athlete's foot (1), foot rot, Tinea pedis and whatever else it's called.
And that the sprigs also repel moths if put into the clothes cupboard.
The smell is intoxicant: it'll make you dizzy and give you a splitting headache if you trample the ledums for long enough while picking the various bog-growing berries.
Which is why one of the Vaccinium's berries have been considered toxic: they're not, it's the Ledum which is problematic.
And of course it's a Rhododendron, these days, but I've grown up calling it Ledum and I'll continue to do so, sorry mr. Harmaja.
Finally, our local species is quite unlike the mercan Labrador tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum (Ledum groenlandicum)) - but try it for the itchy feet anyway and tell me if it worked, mmkay?
(1) Teehee, here's a nice tidbit: if you use the same towel to dry your athlete's feet and the rest of you, you can catch athlete's willy. If you're a guy, of course.
Related entry: Foot fungi