Pine needle tea is an easy-to-make herbal tea that is high in vitamin c, can help support the immune system, reduce free radicals and oxidative stress, and has a number of other health benefits.
If you’re interested to learn more about this herbal remedy and the best way to make a cup of pine needle tea, keep reading!
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Pine Needle Tea Benefits
Eastern White Pine trees are actually pretty common in North America.
The fresh pine needles (and sometimes pine bark) have been used for hundreds of years by Native Americans and indigenous peoples because it is believed that they had healing properties.
Turns out they were right, pine needle tea has quite a few medicinal uses!
Like elderberries, stinging nettles, and other herbs that support the immune system, chemical compounds in this interesting tea have been studied and researchers reported that “the anti-inflammatory ingredients….played an important role in regulating metabolism, with anti-aging effects”.
Kind of amazing isn’t it?
And it’s easy to see why this medicinal tea has had such a long history of use, check out a few of these health benefits:
– pine needles have a high concentration of vitamin c (more than orange juice!)
– white pine tea can be used to treat respiratory infections, sore throats, and other ailments commonly seen during flu season including the common cold and bronchitis
– pine needle tea is a natural diuretic that also aids in digestion
– it has been shown to relieve symptoms of arthritis by reducing inflammation and joint pain, it is even considered better than some prescription medication
– the tea is a natural, non-medicinal sleep remedy that can be made with or without honey
– tea from this common pine tree has been shown to reduce the symptoms of ADHD and dementia too!
One more interesting fact about pine needle tea- researchers have discovered that steeping pine needles in hot water released shikimic acid, one of the main ingredients in the drug Tamilfu.
You would actually have to consume much more than what is normally recommended of pine needle tea to equal what would be present in a drug (which would never be advised), but adding this tea to a healthy diet can help you nourish your body and support a healthy immune system with highly absorbable vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients.
So, to recap a little- pine needles can be used to make a medicinal tea, are high in vitamin c content, support the immune system, help reduce inflammation, could slow the aging process, have high levels of vitamin a and high amounts of vitamin c, are an effective sleep aid, and have even been shown to have a positive effect on cancer cells!
Harvesting Pine Needles For Tea
The first thing you’ll have to do to make pine needle tea is to identify the right species of pine if you plan to forage your own. Some trees are often mistaken for pines but actually are not, and should not be used.
Just to be safe, here are a few species that you want to avoid:
- Yew Plum Pine (fern pine)
- Norfolk Island Pine
- Yew pine
Along with the trees listed above, you also want to be cautious and research Lodgepole pines, Ponderosa pines, and Australian pines. The Australian pine isn’t actually a pine tree at all, info about the Lodgepole pine needles being edible is unclear, and the Ponderosa pine needles may not be safe for pregnant women.
If you’re not sure which trees are safe to harvest pine needles from, it’s a good idea to consult a detailed field guide or contact your local university extension office, they will almost certainly have helpful info.
Next, after you’ve found the right type of pine tree, make sure that the trees or the area around it have not been sprayed with weed killers or chemicals. It’s not uncommon for people to spray their yard (which could end up on the trees) or for Christmas trees to be sprayed, so be mindful of where you choose to harvest 😉
Ok, now that you have done all that it’s time to harvest edible needles.
You only need a small amount for tea so there’s no need to take large amounts at one time. A small bunch or two will be plenty.
How To Make Pine Needle Tea
This is so easy, you’re going to love it!
The first thing you’ll want to do is remove all the white pine needles from the branch.
Add about 1/3 cup of the needles in a small pan or teapot. You can use them whole or chop them slightly, some people believe that chopping them is a good thing, but there is really no wrong way to make this tea.
Next, you’ll add 2 cups of boiling water to your cup of pine needles and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
After you’ve given it time to steep, strain out the pine needles, pour into a mug, and enjoy.
You can add a little raw honey or sweetener of your choice, or even a squeeze of lemon if you prefer. And if you find the tea to be too warm or strong, just add a small amount of cold water and dilute it just a little.
FAQ’s About Pine Needle Tea
Interested in trying pine needle tea but still have a few questions? Let me see if I can help 🙂
1.Are there side effects to drinking pine needle tea?
There definitely can be negative effects to drinking tea made from pine needles if the needles were not sourced correctly. There have been reports of
mouth and throat irritation, skin inflammation, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, diarrhea, and other side effects. That’s why it’s essential to properly identify the correct tree.
Also, even though pine needles from a white pine are generally considered safe, like anything, there is always the risk of allergy.
2.What does pine needle tea taste like?
The image you get of pine needle tea is probably similar to what I thought it would be like, strong and piney (if that’s a word). And while you can definitely smell pine tree, the taste is actually pretty not strong, and is very nice. Some say that they notice a subtle citrus-like flavor.
I have heard that the flavor can vary some depending on the type of pine tree and if you use younger needles or older needles (some say that the age of the needles also has an effect on how much vitamin C is available, but I have no proof to back that up).
3.Is there anywhere I can buy pine needles for tea?
Yes! If you’re not interested in foraging your own or aren’t sure what to look for exactly you can buy dried pine needles. Here are needles that are non-GMO and chemical-free needles that can be used for tea.
4.Does pine needle tea have caffeine?
No, tea made with pine needles does not contain caffeine so you can enjoy a cup with no jitters later.
Last Thoughts About Pine Needle Tea
Drinking a cup of pine needle tea is a great way to improve your health and wellness naturally.
It’s easy to make, offers many different benefits for the whole body including immune system support, antimicrobial properties, antioxidant effects, and more!
Be sure to give this centuries-old traditional remedy a try- it just might become a new favorite addition to your natural medicine cabinet!
Have you tried pine needle tea? I’d love to hear what you thought.
Feel free to leave a comment or send me a message and share your thoughts, recipe, or even foraging tips!
Looking for other helpful natural remedies? Check these out:
I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist and have a degree in Human Services, but my most important job is being a wife and mom. My goal is to provide others with researched and reliable natural health information just for women so you too can live….
A Radiantly Healthy Life!