A Cold & Flu Season Miracle! Pine Needle Tea

After a series of harsh winter storms in Portland, the ground is littered with branches and pine needles. There are so many needles it is like the whole city has been mulched over. Because it’s Portland tradition to re-use anything and everything and those trees aren’t going to need those needles anymore – we have a proposal. Why not use all those extra pine needles to combat cold and flu season? Seriously. Here’s how.

How to Make Pine Needle Tea

Many do not realize the exciting health benefits of pine needle tea. Pine needle tea is high in Vitamin A and has nearly 4-5 times as much Vitamin C as fresh orange juice. Just in time for cold and flu season it also works as an expectorant and decongestant. You can make different flavor profiles by using different types of pine in different arrangements. Have fun experimenting until you find a combination you prefer best.

  1. Collect a handful of pine needles. Almost any pine needles are great, BUT three are considered poisonous, so avoid Ponderosa Pine, Yew, or Norfolk Island Pine (also known as Australian Pine) at all costs.
  2. Remove any parts of the needle or branch that are not green. This includes any brown papery-like parts found as the base of the needles. They should easily pull off. If it is easier, you can cut them off too.
  3. Use a cutting board to chop the needles into 1/4″ pieces.
  4. Bring one cup of water to a boil on the stove.
  5. Toss in about a tablespoon of your pine needles.
  6. Continue boiling the water with the pine needles for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Remove from the heat, cover, and let the pine needles steep until it is all cool enough to drink.
  8. Strain the tea into a mug separating and discarding the pine needles.
  9. Enjoy! You can jazz it up with lemon, honey, sugar or even dried orange peels.

Pine Needle Tea Cures Everything

We just think it is refreshing, but many believe that pine needle tea fixes, cures, and prevents just about everything. Pine needle tea may work in the following ways: as an antioxidant, antidepressant, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, immune system-booster, cardiovascular-protector, triglyceride-reducer. It may help control obesity. It may even be effective against depression, anxiety, and dementia. We honestly have no clue how close they are to proving any of this, but we do know it tastes good and it can’t hurt to try it, right?

Caution: Women who are pregnant, or who could become pregnant, are advised NOT to drink pine needle tea for fear it could cause abortion.

Tip of the year! Consider disposing of your Christmas tree cup by cup, then recycle the trunk and branches. You’ll be an uber Portlander by both re-using your tree before turning the rest into compost to feed your vegetable garden. 

After the tea cools you can use it as an antiseptic wash. What a bonus! Now get out there, gather up some pine needles, quit your job and become a pine needle tea factory just to personally consume the amount necessary for the aforementioned health benefits. Seriously, you’ll need to be drinking roughly your weight in tea daily. We have faith in you. You can do it.

If this zany post got you thinking, check out other posts on our blog about Monkey Puzzle Trees, Growing Palm Trees in the Pacific Northwest, Laminated Root Rot and more.

Photo by Greg Hume (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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