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Labrador Tea: a story of collaboration (Video)

Researchers at the St-Hyacinthe Research and Development Centre worked with Terre de l’Aigle, a company owned by Vincent Levesque of the Huron-Wendat First Nation. The company, based in Wendake, Quebec, developed a new powdered concentrate from leaves of the Labrador tea plant, a traditional, indigenous herb which is known to contain antioxidants. Please see the video for more information.

Video transcript

[Upbeat electronic music fades in.]

[A man walks through a forested establishment]

[Text appears over the man.]

Text on screen: Labrador Tea

[More text appears.]

Text on screen: The Story of a Collaboration

Vincent Lévesque: Kwe, my name is Vincent Lévesque. I own Les produits autochtones Terre de L’Aigle in Wendake, and I am Huron-Wendat.

[The man, Vincent Lévesque, passes workers and walks towards a restaurant’s patio.]

Our indigenous products company has been in operation for more than fifteen years – actually, nearly seventeen years now.

[Cut to Vincent Lévesque speaking to the camera. Text appears beneath him.]

Text on screen: Vincent Lévesque Owner, Terre de L’Aigle

At Les produits autochtones Terre de L’Aigle, our specialty is taking care of the body and mind in the North American Indigenous tradition.

[Cut to shots of Labrador Tea packaging. Then the leaves. Then a thermos which reads Labrador Tea.]

We have a range of products made from different plants, and our most popular one is Labrador tea.

[Cut to Martin Mondor speaking to the camera. Text appears beneath him.]

Text on screen: Martin Mondor, Ph.D. Research Scientist, Membrane Technologies

Martin Mondor: This product has an excellent flavour, a bit spicy. That’s what sets it apart from other teas, like green tea.

[Cut to Vincent Lévesque opening a garage filled with dried leaves.]

[Cut to Lévesque speaking to the camera.]

Vincent Lévesque: The harvesting process is very simple. You have to dry and store the plants properly. After proper storage, we process the plants in different ways.

[Cut to a close-up of Vincent Lévesque speaking to the camera.]

Because we can extract the oil, we can make essential oil from Labrador tea. We can also prepare it as leaves or as a liquid concentrate.

[Cut to Vincent Lévesque’s hands sifting through dried leaves.]

We focus on offering a product that tastes good and is good for you.

[Cut back to Vincent Lévesque.]

The main thing we did in this research project was the production of powdered concentrate.

[Cut to Martin Mondor walking through a lab.]

Our goal with Agriculture Canada is to create a product for consumers that’s accessible to everyone, that meets standards, and that’s certified and standardized.

[Martin empties a bag of dried leaves into a beaker.]

Results from recent studies are very, very interesting.

[Cut to a close-up of the dried leaves in the beaker.]

We already know Labrador tea is effective, but we’ve seen some very exciting things, scientifically speaking – lots of polyphenols, minerals and vitamins.

[Martin Mondor pulls some out and puts them in a glass.]

It’s great to see that the more we go along, the more good news we get.

[Cut to a close-up of Vincent Lévesque speaking to the camera.]

We knew we’d find these kinds of things, but now they’ve been validated scientifically with the research centre.

[Cut to Martin Mondor pouring water into the glass with the tea leaves.]

It’s fun to see how science and tradition can come together.

Martin Mondor: We were able to help him adapt his knowledge to suit modern production methods…

[Cut to a close-up of Martin Mondor speaking to the camera.]

…And we used our knowledge to help him develop a great product that’s now available on the market.

[Cut to close-ups of the tea leaves.]

Vincent Lévesque: Right now, we have a small team of harvesters because we’re still in the development phase.

[Cut to a close-up of Vincent Lévesque speaking to the camera.]

This product is going to create a real sense of pride within the North American Indigenous harvesting community.

[Cut to Vincent Lévesque walking towards a tepee.]

It’s going to allow us to create jobs and make workers proud to harvest something that will help take care of people all around the world.

[Cut to a close-up of Vincent Lévesque speaking to the camera.]

It comes from our cultures and our traditions.

[Cut to tea leaves in a beaker.]

Our goal is to make Labrador tea really popular.

[Cut to Vincent Lévesque smiling at the camera.]

We want to help take care of people.

[The screen dissolves to one with text.]

Text on screen: Modern. Innovative. Growing. Discover other agricultural innovations at agr.gc.ca

[Cut to the animated Canada wordmark on a white background.]

Text on screen: (c) Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, as represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2017)

[Fade to black.]

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