A restorative natural healing tea rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C

Edible evergreens – who knew?   This vitamin C and anti-oxidant rich Healing Conifer Tea will sooth a cough and cold, and energize you.  It smells like a walk in the forest, and tastes lovely, too.

Healing Confier Tea made with Spruce needles is high in Vitamin C and anti-oxidants --- it will naturally sooth a cold or cough, and it smells like a walk in the woods!

OK this is going to be fun — grab some clippers and check out your backyard, or take a stroll around the block and snip a few fresh boughs for this aromatic healing tea.  Heck, if your Christmas tree is still around you can use that.

I love nothing better than discovering and sharing new and unusual foods and flavors here at TVFGI, and edible evergreens definitely fits that bill.   Even thought we all know and love the aroma of evergreens, it might be hard to wrap our minds around eating the stuff — but think of it this way, if you like rosemary, (which isn’t related, by the way) I think you’ll be intrigued by the flavor of this Healing Conifer Tea.

A healthy, healing conifer tea, made with spruce, fir, or pine needles

This idea fascinated me so I did a little research.  Conifer is the broad name for cone bearing trees, and lots of species of conifers are edible, namely pines, spruce, and fir.  When it comes to pines, you can eat every part of them, from the pine nuts, to the bark, to the needles.  The needles are not only edible, they contain a ton of vitamin C (as much or more than lemons!) and they’re naturally anti-inflammatory.

Pine needles can be made into a soothing tea that helps fight colds and coughs.  That vitamin C is through the roof ~ pine tea used to be used during the Civil War to prevent scurvy ~ who knew?

Gathering pine needles for a warm, soothing, Healing Conifer Tea

Pine needles are long and wispy, (above and below) and they come off the branch in little bundles of 2-5 or more needles.  Fir and spruce have the more compact bushy branches, like the classic Christmas tree.  You can use any of the three species for this tea, but be sure to choose trees that haven’t been sprayed or otherwise polluted.

Pine needles for a Healing Conifer Tea

Conifers have been used for food and medicine for hundreds if not thousands of years by various cultures like the Russians, Scandinavians, and our own Native Americans.  From my reading there are almost too many purported health benefits to mention, from pain relief, to anti-aging, to cold and flu relief.  One of the more interesting notes is that pine and other conifer needles contain very high amounts of shikimic acid, the key ingredient in Tamiflu!  Hopefully this will whet your appetite for more information on conifer infused foods, I’ve left some links at the end of the post if you’re interested.

A Healing Conifer Tea made with Spruce needles is a natural cold and flu soother

A single steeped cuppa will be light in flavor and color, above, while a simmered infusion, below, will be darker in color and flavor, I’ll show you how to make both in the recipe.

Healing Conifer Tea


  • Pine, spruce or fir needles


  1. You can use the needles on the twigs or off, it's up to you. They can be fresh, or dried. They can be whole, or chopped. Chopping the needles and using method 2, below, will result in the strongest flavor.
  2. Clean the needles by rinsing well under water.
    method 1
  1. Put a handful of whole needles or several tablespoons of chopped needles into a saucepan and add 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes, then strain and serve.
    method 2
  1. Put a small amount of whole needles, or 1 tablespoon of chopped, into a cup. Pour in boiling water and let steep for 10 minutes, Strain and drink.


  • If this interests you, I recommend getting a guide to edible plants so you can identify plants correctly.   While most if not all pines, firs, and spruce are edible, not all evergreens are ok to eat, or drink.  Do a little research to find the edible evergreens in your area.  Watch out for Yew trees, which look like conifers but are toxic, I’ve left a link to help identify it in the list at the bottom of the post.
  • Select fresh, green needles for use for tea.  Ideally spring is the time to collect new growth needles, but you can certainly collect them at any time during the year.  You can freeze the needles in freezer bags, or dry them for later use.  Just let them air dry at room temperature.
  • I think this would make wonderful iced tea or infused water in the summertime!
  • There are unresolved questions about the safety of using pine needle tea during pregnancy, so I would err on the side of caution.

A Healing Conifer Tea, rich in anti-oxidants and Vitamin C



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54 Responses to Healing Conifer Tea

  1. What an interesting recipe. I didn’t know you could use the needles from pine trees – definitely going to give this a go!

  2. I love heading into the forest and coming out with treasures to eat! I’ve never made tea from pine needles, but I’ve put it on my list of must-dos for this year.

  3. Eileen says:

    I am currently battling a flu which may be pneumonia. This is the perfect. I have pinned this because I need to make this tomorrow. I love this entire idea

  4. Christine says:

    I love this post! I had no idea you could make tea from evergreens. What a great smell to fill the house too.

  5. who knew?! what a wonderful healthy-foodie find, thank you!

  6. I’ve never heard of this but we have tons of pine trees so I’ll need to try it

  7. Amy says:

    I have always wanted to try this, but I was a little leary. I think it’s time.

  8. Susan says:

    My pine trees had better beware! I’d love to give this a try, Sue. I didn’t know about their healing properties!

  9. I just started feeling under the weather a few days ago, so THANK YOU for posting this tea! I would have never thought to make a tea from pine needles! My back yard is COVERED with them, so this tea will be a cinch to throw together! Can’t wait to give this a try! Cheers, Sue!

  10. Fun post! I don’t use conifers — need to source some! Wonderful idea for tea — thanks.

  11. Wow! I had no idea that conifers were so healthy! I love the smell, so a tea actually sounds really good. Love this idea Sue, and your photos are lovely.

  12. Wow! This post was so interesting. I would have never thought that the evergreen trees were edible. Thank you for sharing.

  13. I am definitely intrigued by this. And considering I am literally surrounded by conifers of just about every variety, I’m going to try this next time I’m feeling the need :)

  14. This is so interesting! I love it. I will take natural remedies over store bought stuff any day. Thank you for sharing!

    • Sue says:

      Thanks for stopping by Tessa, I avoid store bought meds whenever I can, and nature has so many tricks up her sleeve ;)

      • Diane says:

        You made a reference in your blog about Rosemary. Can you do the same with fresh Rosemary and what benefits would that give you? This sounds great and I can’t wait to try!

  15. I’m a massive fan of all things wild & edible. I’ve heard that pine needles have some wonderful healing properties. My friend used to make a tea, but I’ve never tried it and quite forgot about it — so thank you for the reminder. Have you tried pine pollen yet? I’ve collected some for the first time last year and that stuff is extremely potent in healing properties as well. ?

  16. What an intriguing tea! I’ve had pine soda and it’s delicious so I don’t see why I wouldn’t enjoy this too. Lovely pics too Sue :D

  17. Good timing as I’ve been suffering from a terrible raspy cough and congestion in my sinuses for a week. I’m drinking your tea boiled with Douglas Fir needles on the twigs. Can’t taste a thing (literally, haven’t been able to taste anything for several days). I’ll let you know how it works. Question: Are the boiled needles reusable for boiling again (like bones are for broths), or should I compost them?

    • Sue says:

      No, they’re not reususable, all the vitamins, etc, leach into the water, so you’ll need to start with fresh needles each time. Hope you feel better soon Bonnie <3

  18. Katherine B. says:

    We made pine needle tea when I was in Girl Scouts! I didn’t know about the health benefits. Thank you!

  19. I bet this would open up my sinuses! TMI? Haha – this sounds so cool – and delicious. What a terrific idea.

  20. I have a feeling this tea must smell like Christmas! And the fact that it is a healing tea is even better!

  21. Last summer I took a local foraging class and one of the highlights had been a tea we made from red cedar. I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was. It had a wonderful unexpected natural sweetness to it.

    I will definitely “branch” out and try a few different varieties of conifers, thanks to your post!

  22. cheri says:

    Hi cool Sue, foraging is something I am very interested in, especially if it can help you feel better.

  23. Monica says:

    This is so interesting, Sue! Love learning something new!

  24. annie says:

    What the what! I need to try this. I love a good piney smell, what a wonderful winter treat.

  25. Bita says:

    Interesting! I had no idea you could eat pine, not to mention that it is loaded with Vit C! too bad we put up the artificial tree this year ;) thanks for sharing, your posts are always so unique and interesting! ? Bita

  26. I love herbals Tea’s, fennel being my favorite . I will try your conifer tea.

  27. Didn’t even know they are edible…live and learn!

    • Sue says:

      I’ve heard about this for a while, but only now got around to trying it out, I’m so glad I did, I’ve always loved the scent of pine.

  28. So interesting! I had no idea. Love to learn new stuff like this!

  29. sippitysup says:

    Tea sounds fun. I use conifer to make a spruce-scented simple syrup every Christmas to give my cocktails a whiff of the holiday. GREG

    • Sue says:

      I’m dying to experiment further, and a syrup is high on my list. Do you have a recipe on your blog? I’ll link to it!

  30. A tea from pine needles? I’ve never heard of such thing, what an interesting idea! I bet it smells delicious, I love the smell of fresh pine!

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