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Correction: I've done a little research and apparently in some areas (just not mine) it DOES commonly grow in forests, though it still grows better in open sunny bogs.
Aspirin is an old drug, from an era where expensive studies were not required for drug approval. Plus aspirin is not actually found in nature. It's chemically similar to salicylic acid (which is found in willow bark, a traditional headache and fever remedy) but it's a unique compound of its own.It's very hard to fund new studies for drug approval (required by the FDA) unless one gets patent protection and thus can earn monopoly profits to justify the cost of the study. You can't get patent protection for something that's traditional knowledge, like herbal medicine.So it *does* indeed tend to be hard to fund studies on the efficacy of traditional herbal remedies.
First, Labrador tea does not only grow in forests. In fact, it typically does not grow in forests. It grows in boggy areas; the forests it grows in were once bogs and simply haven't lost all their bog plants. But it grows just fine in bogs that are still open and sunny (in fact it's easier to find it in such places). Note that a peat bog is NOT just any old wetland; it is a wetland dominated by a special kind of moss (Sphagnum) that creates highly acidic, waterlogged soils. Labrador tea is a plant adapted to grow in such conditions.Second, if you're in North America and don't know how to tell Labrador tea from bog laurel, don't even THINK of gathering Labrador tea until you learn how to. Bog laurel is highly poisonous and often grows intermixed with Labrador tea! Bog laurel leaves are evergreen and about the same size as Labrador tea leaves but they are shiny, lighter color, and never have fuzz on their underside. Labrador tea leaves are dull, darker, and do have fuzz (white on young leaves, rust-colored on older ones) on their underside. But get a plant book and study it to be sure, you don't want to make a mistake!Third, it's a slow-growing plant, so don't pick a lot of leaves from one plant. Walk through the area, picking just one or two leaves from each plant.
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