Here’s the Tea! 
The Benefits Of Pine Needle Tea

Need a good reason to get outside? How about identifying trees, collecting pine needles and making yourself some tea? 

In Emily Leikam’s article for Kuhl which, like me, has a vested interest in getting you outdoors, the benefits of pine needle tea are numerous:

  • rich in vitamins that support immune function, skin health, wound healing, vision and iron absorption
  • boosts immunity
  • soothes colds 
  • may help balance testosterone levels and support bone health, mood and libido
  • alleviates menstrual cramps 
  • regulates metabolism 
  • reduces inflammation and activates enzymes, 
  • promotes anti-aging 
  • promotes better sleep 
  • alleviates stress
  • supports heart and brain health 

That said, there are some big warnings for some of us and a few others for all of us. 

WARNING: Do not drink pine needle tea if you are pregnant or may be pregnant, if you are breastfeeding or if you are allergic to pine. With any foraged food, it is wise to identify your plant from three reliable sources and even then, try a little bit, wait for a few hours, and if you are fine, have some more. There are a few types that all of us should stay away from, like the Yew family and Norfolk Island pine. 

Ok, now that we’ve covered that, the larger point is that pine needles have a long and edible history, especially among Indigenous cultures. 

Pine needles to try include Eastern white pine, Western white pine, red pine and sugar pine.  

Grow Forage Cook Ferment’s Colleen Codekas says all fir needles are edible. Try white fir, grand fir, noble fir, balsam fir and Douglas fir. 

Colleen also says all spruce trees have edible needles. Try blue spruce, Norway spruce, Sitka spruce and white spruce. 

While cedars, like eastern red or northern white are tasty, it is recommended that you drink no more than three cups of cedar tea per week and don’t drink it at all if you have kidney issues. That said, cedars are my personal favorite. 

If DIY is not your jam, rely on the guidance of an experienced forager and herbalist via a plant walk, perhaps at Thistle Patch Wellness. It gets even easier—Juniper Ridge has a 

Douglas fir Spring Tip Botanical Tea that you can order online. 

Whichever way you go, I hope you reconnect with the wonder and magic of the outdoors in a way that you may not have experienced since you were a child—or ever! Life is too short not to enjoy what is all around us, eh? 

Resources:

https://www.kuhl.com/borninthemountains/benefits-of-drinking-pine-needle-tea

https://www.thistlepatchwellness.com 

https://www.growforagecookferment.com/conifer-needle-tea/ 

https://juniperridge.com/products/douglas-fir-spring-tip-botanical-tea

About Author

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Chris is currently a certified yoga therapist and formerly a lawyer who likes people, writing, making things and foraging, because it’s all yoga all of the time.

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