The Many Benefits of Pine Needle Tea

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Most people wouldn’t think of pine needles when it comes to making tea, but it’s actually a thing that is possible– and incredibly good for you! Pine needles are rich in vitamins and all sorts of health benefits that make it perfect for tea. Pine needle tea has been a healing remedy of Native Americans for centuries, and it continues to be loved amongst those who spend lots of time out in nature.

Tea made from pine needles is rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. One cup of the tea has more than five times the amount of Vitamin C in a cup of orange juice. This tea isn’t true tea because it doesn’t come from the camellia sinensis plant, but the health benefits are still unmatched by any other drink of this kind. There are tons of people that believe that it can be a cure or relief for almost anything.

What are the benefits?

Let’s take a more in depth look at some of the many benefits of using pine needles to make tea. Keep in mind that it should not be used as a replacement for traditional methods of healing ailments, but it can certainly be used in addition to other treatments.

Vitamin C
The most obvious benefit is the Vitamin C content. Just a single cup of pine needles will yield about 400 mg of Vitamin C per cup of brew. That’s a whole lot of health packed into a tiny beverage. This is good because Vitamin C boosts the immune system. It also helps improves skin and eye health.

Vitamin A
In addition to Vitamin C, tea made from pine needles has a high Vitamin A content. Vitamin A is great for vision, skin, and hair regeneration. It’s also good for red blood cell production.

Gluten free
Pine needle tea has no gluten, so it’s a healthy alternative for people who have a wheat food allergy and celiac disease.

Great for cold or flu
Tea from pine needles is amazing to use as an expectorant. It can relieve many of the symptoms of the common cold such as: congestion, cough, and sore throat. It will help the body expel phlegm. Other than just drinking it, inhaling vapors is also useful for clearing congestion. As for the flu virus itself, pine needles are antiviral because they contain shikimic. This is an ingredient contained in many flu medications.

Contains proanthocyanidins
These are flavonoids with properties that include: antioxidants, antidepressant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune system boosting benefits and much more.

Digestive aid
A cup of this tea can soothe an upset stomach and other digestive discomforts.

Other benefits
The benefits of this tea are truly too many to list. Some of the other things you can expect are: relief from urinary infections, menopause symptoms, kidney stones, allergies, depression, and headaches. All the nutrients and good things contained in the pine needles can also slow down the aging process and promote mental clearness and improve skin quality.

Good Pine, Bad Pine

Not all pine trees are equal, and if you do decide to pick your own pine needles for making the tea, you really need to be careful that you don’t accidentally poison yourself. If you don’t feel the tea is worth the risk, there are many health food stores that sell bagged pine needles ready to be made.

For those who love to DIY, don’t pick the pines if you know that pesticide has been sprayed in the area where the trees are located. Most pine trees are safe to pick from, but there are a few that need to be avoided because they are toxic. It’s important to familiarize yourself with different pine trees before you go picking, so do your research before hand and make sure the trees around you are safe for your tea.

The trees to avoid are:

  • Yew
  • Norfolk Island Pine
  • Ponderosa Pine

If you’re pregnant, it’s not recommended to have pine needle tea AT ALL.

How to make it

Now it’s time to brew a cup of this stuff and see if it will work its magic on you. The taste of the tea is actually quite pleasant and mild. It has a natural sweetness, so sugar won’t be necessary, but additional sweetness can be added using honey.

First gather fresh, young pine needles. Rinse off the pine needles and make sure they’re free of dirt. Chop the needles into smaller pieces and bruise them with a spoon to release more of the flavor. Only about a tablespoon of chopped needles should be necessary for a cup.

Place your needles into a cup or mug. In a kettle or a sauce pan, boil a cup of water. Pour the boiling water over the needles and let it steep for 10-30 minutes. When the leaves sink to the bottom of the cup and look duller, your tea is ready. Vary your steeping times until you find a brew that you prefer. You can use a strainer to remove the pine needles.

Have a cup and see if the taste is something that you’ll enjoy. Many find the flavor very delicious. If it’s not for you, all of those great health benefits may be worth it anyway!