Making pine needle tea is an easy way to enjoy the benefits of this medicinal herb. Pine needles are high in vitamin C and have anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. In addition, they can help boost your immune system. Here’s how to make pine needle tea.
Identifying Pine Trees
You’ll need to identify a pine tree if you’re collecting your pine needles. Pine trees are evergreens that have long, thin needles and produce cones.
Some common types of pine trees include:
- White pine
- Red pine
- Sugar pine
- Pitch pine
White Pine Tree
The white pine tree is the most popular type of pine for making pine needle tea because it tastes the best. However, other types of pine trees will work.
What to Avoid
Avoid collecting pine needles from Ponderosa Pine, Norfolk Island Pine (Australian Pine), Lodgepole Pine, Monterey Pine, Loblolly Pine, Common Juniper, and Yew.
The needles of these trees may be toxic to humans, livestock, and other animals. For example, when cattle eat ponderosa pine needles during the last trimester of pregnancy, they induce abortions because of the isocupressic acid (ICA) content.
Other Conifer Trees
Needles from other conifers, such as spruce and fir, can also be used to make tea.
Spruce trees’ needles are sharp and rigid. They are attached to the branches separately, while pine needles are joined together and clumped on the pine branches.
Fir trees’ needles are flat and soft. Fir needles attach to the branch individually, and fir cones grow on top of the branch.
Getting Pine Needles
The best pine needles for making tea come from fresh, young branches. The young needles are more delicious, but the mature ones provide a larger quantity of vitamin C.
You can collect pine needles yourself if you can tell which pine tree is which. Or you can purchase pine needles from a herbalist or health food store.
If you’re collecting your pine needles, make sure they come from a pine tree that has not been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. Christmas trees are often treated with chemicals and are not safe to use.
Avoid collecting pine needles from the ground, as they may be contaminated with bacteria or other pollutants. Pick needles from live trees, not too many from the same pine tree. Take some pine needles from each tree so the pine trees may have enough for survival.
Preparing the Tea
Once you have your fresh pine needles, wash them thoroughly and remove the brown ends from the pine needles. Chop or cut the needles into small pieces. This will help release their flavor and medicinal properties.
If you don’t have access to fresh pine needles, you can use dried pine needles. However, you’ll need to use less, but they should be steeped for a longer time.
Use 2-4 tablespoons of pine needles for each cup of pine needle tea, depending on how strong you want your tea.
Put the chopped pine needles in a cup or a pot and pour boiling water over them. Allow the pine needles to steep for 5-10 minutes.
The longer you steep the pine needles, the stronger the tea will be. If you steep it for too long, the tea may become bitter.
Strain the pine needle tea and add honey, if desired. You can drink pine needle tea hot or cold.
Pine needle tea has a woodsy, resinous flavor. Some people enjoy the pine needle tea taste, while others find it more palatable with a bit of lemon juice and honey.
It’s preferable to make the pine needle tea too strong and dilute it as needed than to prepare something with no flavor. Pine needle tea is best enjoyed fresh, but you can store it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
Pine Needle Tea Benefits
Pine needles are high in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals while strengthening the immune response.
Pine needles contain various vitamins (A, E, and B vitamins), minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc), and terpenoids.
Pine needle tea has been used traditionally to treat colds, flu, and respiratory infections. It’s also thought to boost energy levels, improve digestion, promote weight loss, and relieve menstrual cramps.
Is Pine Needle Tea Safe?
Pine needle tea is generally considered safe for most people. However, it’s essential to be aware of the potential side effects, which include:
Throat and mouth irritation
Some people are allergic to pine trees, so it’s crucial to drink pine tea in a small amount first.
Pregnant women should avoid drinking pine needle
tea as it may induce labor.
If you have any concerns, speak to a healthcare professional before drinking pine needle tea, as it may interact with some medications.
Closing on How to Make Pine Needle Tea
Pine needle tea is a healthy and delicious way to enjoy the benefits of pine trees. It’s easy to make at home and can be enjoyed hot or cold.
Pine needle tea is rich in Vitamin C and other nutrients that boost immunity and promote overall health. Enjoy pine needle tea regularly to reap its many benefits!