How to Make Pine Needle Tea

Pine needle tea has become quite a superstar overnight. Although this beneficial brew has been used as a tonic for thousands of years, it’s become much more popular recently. Read on to discover its many benefits, and how to brew it.

Benefits of Pine Needle Tea

Pine needles contain a startling amount of beneficial components. For example, a handful of Eastern white pine needles will have more vitamin C than a lemon or orange of equal size.

Indigenous North American peoples made pine needle tea year round to fend off scurvy, and to fend off cold weather illnesses. In addition to being packed with vitamin C, these needles are also full of vitamin A and antioxidants. These needles contain antifungal, antiinflammatory, and anti-viral components such as terpinene, camphene, and limonene1. It’s easy to see why these are so beneficial to us!

I use pine needle tea as a decongestant and expectorant for issues such as upper respiratory infections and bronchitis. It’s great for loosening up stubborn mucus in the lungs while also offering that fabulous vitamin C boost to get over the infection.

How to Make Pine Needle Tea at Home

First and foremost, make sure that you’re using the right kind of pine needles. While many conifer species are perfectly safe for consumption, others are quite poisonous. Read our article on the right species to use for pine needle tea here.

To brew up a lovely batch of this conifer tea, you’ll need:

  • A small pot to brew your tea in
  • Chopped fresh pine needles
  • Fine mesh strainer or sieve
  • Honey, maple syrup, or other sweetener, if desired

Step 1: Chop

Make sure to chop the needles finely before brewing them. This allows their components to release into the water more easily.

Step 2: Measure

Use 1 tablespoon of chopped pine needles per cup of water in your small pot or saucepan.

Step 3: Decoct

Warm on medium-high heat until it just starts to boil, then reduce heat to a very low simmer. Let this simmer for about 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.

Step 4:

Allow to steep another 5 minutes, then strain into cups. You can sweeten this with a bit of honey or maple syrup if you like, but some people enjoy the tea as it is.

You can drink this tea 3–5 times a day for up to 6 weeks. Then give your body a break for a few weeks before you start to drink it again.

You May Also Enjoy: DIY Elderberry Syrup

DIY Pine Needle Tea Bags

If you find that the simmered tea is too strong for you, then you can just brew this tea like you would Earl Grey or Oolong instead.

If you don’t have a strainer, or if you prefer your tea in pre-bagged form, no worries! It’s easy to make your own pine needle tea bags.

Buy some pre-made, reusable cotton or muslin bags, or make your own from old clean sheets, pillowcases, or even lengths of cheesecloth.

Add 1 tablespoon of finely chopped pine needles into each bag. Then either tie it or sew it closed so you have a nice, sealed parcel.

Pop one in a cup and cover with boiling water. Let steep for 5–7 minutes, then remove the bag. Sweeten to taste if desired. If you enjoy this tea, try combining it with peppermint, catnip, or lemon balm to experiment with different flavor combinations. These are all beneficial when you’re feeling poorly, and are complimentary with pine’s healing components.

*Note: do not drink pine needle tea if you’re pregnant or nursing. Some pine species can cause spontaneous abortion if ingested, and infants may have allergic reactions via breast milk. Check out our full article on which pine species to use for tea here.

Disclaimer: the information shared here is for educational purposes only and does not substitute for professional medical advice. We recommend that you consult with your healthcare practitioner before taking any natural supplements or medicines, and consult with a herbalist or naturopath to determine whether any of the plants mentioned here are the right choice for you.

4 thoughts on “How to Make Pine Needle Tea

  1. Hi there. Thank you for this article. It does mention chopped, fresh needles . Do you know if it’s still effective when the needles are less fresh? I bought a bag online and the pine needles are decidedly less fresh now, a few months later. Thank you.

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