With cold and flu season in full effect pine needle tea might be just what you didn’t know you were looking for. I have always loved learning what medicinal plants live near me and identifying and learning what plants are helpful and harmful are not only a fun activity to do with your child but also important to expose them to all that nature has to offer. Children are so often surprised even that we can eat vegetables right from a garden! If they are amazed at that, this tea will blow their mind! Oh, and yes, you heard that right, I’m making pine needle tea.
Pine needle tea is an ancient drink that smells pleasant and has a light and crisp flavor with a multitude of health benefits. This tree that might be in your backyard that you cursed for dropping it’s needles is actually a treasure that you can learn to appreciate.
The great thing about pine needle tea is that you can gather the fresh needles your self, and can have a beneficial drink to help you feel your best and keep you feeling well and energized. As long as you do your homework and are certain that you are grabbing Pine needles and you can have a safe and medicinal drink in your hands in a matter of minutes.
The North American natives used pine needle tea for centuries and it was prized during the winter to prevent illness and provide nourishment. Pine needles, and many other parts of the Pine tree contain several more times vitamin C (so I have read) then even that a fresh orange juice and can easily help you meet your daily need of it. There are many other health benefits of Pine needle tea and they are reputed to include vitamin C, vitamin a, relief for cold symptoms, relief from infections, as a decongestant, as an anti-septic windshield, improvement for fatigue, and mental clarity just to name a few.Making Pine needle tea is easy, safe and beneficial.
Here’s how to make the tea.
First identify the Pine tree. Though with a little research it should be a sandwich make sure that you are using the right Pine. Not all conifers or evergreens are Pines. While many pints are perfectly safe to use, others can make you sick. Other non-pine evergreens can be poisonous as well. You want to make sure the trees were not sprayed with chemicals and make sure your tree is not one of these species. The Ponderosa Pine, the Lodgepole Pine, the Common Juniper, Monterey Cypress, Common Yew or the Norfolk pine. Other than that you are in good shape.
Once you have identified that your tree is in fact a pine, collect a bundle of the young green needles from the end of the branch. You only need about a handful.
Next chop the needles into small pieces. This helps release the pine juices and oils.
Heat water to just before boiling and pour over the needles in a cup and steep the tea for about 10 minutes. Make sure to strain the tea after steeping it as you don’t want to suck down the needles.
Last enjoy the tea hot or cold. Make sure to drink it fresh however, as you don’t want to reduce the vitamin content or change the flavor.
Interestingly enough I have found out that almost the entire Pine tree is edible. The needles can be used in tea or chewed. The sap is high in vitamin C, and the pine buds, pollen, young pinecones, pine nuts, and the inner bark are all edible. What an amazing tree that I have taken for granted for so long.
*disclaimer: make tea at your own risk. make sure tree has not been sprayed with any chemicals or pesticides. if you have a safety or health concern regarding the tea, certainly do not drink it!