Marsh Tea (Ledi palustris herba)

Published September 24, 1986.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Ledi palustris herba, marsh tea.

Composition of Drug

Marsh tea consists of the dried herb of Ledum palustre L. [Fam. Lamiaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

The herb contains essential oil.


Marsh tea is used for rheumatic discomforts and whooping cough, also as an emetic, diaphoretic, and diuretic.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications has not been documented.


Poisonings with marsh tea due to abusive application, e.g., abortion, are frequently reported.

The essential oil, when taken internally, causes severe irritation of the gastrointestinal tract with vomiting and diarrhea, as well as irritation and damage to the kidneys and lower urinary tract.

Described also are heavy perspiration, pain in muscle and joints, excitation of the central nervous system with narcotic intoxication (a "high") followed by paralysis.

No data are available concerning the toxicity of small amounts of marsh tea herb.




Since the effectiveness of marsh tea preparations is not documented, a therapeutic application cannot be justified because of the risks.


Irritation of skin and mucous membranes.
Inhibited motility
Prolongation of sleeping time after administration of barbiturates and alcohol