Rebekah Gamble posted an update 3 years ago
Pine Needle Tea
Pine is one of my favorite plants (I admit to having many favorites!). The tree was protective of me in a chronic and bad situation when I was a child, so it has come to have a meaning of safety and peace for me. All parts of the tree are useful- assuming that you’re not using a poisonous pine, of which there are a couple (and make sure you’re not mistaking a yew tree for a pine tree as yews are poison too!). The pine needles are particularly high in vitamin C and have been shown to help improve immunity when made into a tea. Drinking the fresh tea through the winter can support the immune system, the kidneys and the adrenals, helping you rebuild your strength and energy stores for the whole year while helping prevent the flu and colds! Though it’s not as straightforward as pouring boiling water on the leaves/needles (both are correct in common usage), this can be an easy, helpful, fresh herb to use during the summer. Here’s how to do it:
1. Identify your tree. Notice how many needs are stuck in each fascicle- that’s the name for the thin membrane structure surrounding and separating each bunch of leaves- this is key for identification. Notice too the color of the bark.
2. Collect needles and take them home.
3. Bruise them. They need to be bruised to release the vitamins that make them useful. I think this is easiest with a mortar and pestle, but there are many ways to bruise plant matter this soft.
4. Bring water to a boil and let it cool a bit. DO NOT PUT THE NEEDLES IN BOILING WATER. If you boil the needles, it doesn’t only destroy the benefit of them, but for some pine species this releases toxic compounds from the needles that otherwise are not released.
5. Pour the warm but not boiling water over the bruised needles and let them sit for 5-10 minutes.
6. Strain and drink or reduce for salve or cream making.
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