How to Make Pine Needle Tea

The tea has delightful, piney aromatics and makes infused water taste “silky” (another example of structured water). Native Americans enjoyed this tea especially in the winter months, not surprisingly, with all its immune-boosting properties. Taoist priests enjoyed pine needle tea with the belief it was life-extending. Research suggests the tea may slow down ageing.

How to Brew the Tea

Take approx. 2 heaping tablespoons of pine needles and give them a rough chop to help release the pine oils that constitute the tea. Place them into a strainer basket and give the needles a rinse with cold water if using fresh needles. Next, pour boiling water into a large canning jar, tea pot, or other same-sized container. Place the strainer basket into the jar, making sure the pine needles are covered by water. Steep for a minimum of 10 minutes and enjoy. The tea will be a light green color. Needles may be reused another time, though the brew will be milder tasting. Collect pine needles, wash them, and dry them thoroughly. They are best stored in a container that “breathes”, so that the needles do not grow mold.

Perks

  • Loaded with Vitamin C:one cup of pine needle tea boasts more than 4 times the Vitamin C of a glass of orange juice.
  • High levels of Vitamin A: a robust source of Vitamin A, promoting eye, skin, and immune health
  • Expectorant propertiesmay ease cough, sore throat, and chest congestion
  • Antioxidant:  replete with antioxidants, the tea protects your body cells from free radical damage
  • Relieves conditions: such as heart disease, varicose veins, high blood pressure, skin complaints and fatigue, as the tea reduces inflammation
  • Mental/Emotional: brings mental clarity, aids with depression 

Safety Profile

Pine needle tea is safe for most individuals. However, those allergic to pine trees ought to avoid the tea. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are advised to avoid drinking this tea as a precaution; pregnant cows have been observed to have had spontaneous abortions after consuming pine needles.

How to Identify Needles Safe for Tea

Foraging for pine needles is relatively easy, but some tree needles are toxic. The Douglas Fir produces safe, delicious needles for tea that are easily identified. Douglas Fir is not a true fir tree, because the cones hang down off the branch and fall off whole (instead of losing its seeds from inside the cones). 

Needles: 

Douglas fir needles differ from pine trees as they stick out like a bottle brush in all directions. The needle tips are soft and the underside of the needles have a whitish stripe. The buds are another obvious clue on this tree. They are pointed, papery, and reddish-brown (at the tip of the branch in picture 1).

Douglas-fir needles narrow before joining the twig. Each individual needle comes to a “slip” that attaches to the woody branch. The cone also has a unique snake tongue-like forked bracts peeking out from in between the scales (see picture 2). These cones are almost always intact and are often found in great numbers lying around the tree.

pine-needle-1
Picture 1
pine needle 2
Picture 2