Healing Conifer Tea ~ a natural flu fighter!

Vitamin C rich Pine Needle Tea
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. You can make all natural tea from pine, fir, spruce, and cedar ~ 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!

let’s make conifer tea!

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 pine needle tea. 

I love nothing better than discovering and sharing new and unusual foods and flavors here in the Great Island kitchen, 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

conifer tea is high in Vitamin C

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

choose pine, fir, or spruce for 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

conifer tea is a natural flu fighter

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

two methods for making herbal tea

The two methods will yield slightly differing results, I’ll show you how to make both in the recipe.

  • a single steeped cuppa will be light in flavor and color, above,
  • while a simmered infusion, below, will be darker in color and flavor, below.

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

More natural healing recipes to try

Vitamin C rich Pine Needle Tea
3.61 from 23 votes

Healing Conifer Tea

Edible evergreens - who knew? This vitamin C and anti-oxidant rich healing conifer tea will sooth a cough and cold, and energize you. You can make all natural tea from pine, fir, spruce, and cedar ~ it smells like a walk in the forest, and tastes lovely, too.
Course beverage
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Yield 1 serving
Author Sue Moran


  • Pine, Spruce, or Fir needles


  • 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.
  • Clean the needles by rinsing well under cold water.

method 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

  • 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.

Cook's notes

  • 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.
The nutritional information for recipes on this site is provided as a courtesy and although theviewfromgreatisland.com tries to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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  • Reply
    Gerlinde in Washington
    January 11, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    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!

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 3:02 pm

      I read about cedar tea, I’ll have to try it!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 1:47 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 12:40 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 12:15 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 12:32 pm

      The smell is what sent me off in the direction in the first place!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 11:47 am

    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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      Haha, you’re right, this is a good excuse to go for a living tree next year! Thanks for the kind words, Bita.

  • Reply
    Gerlinde @Sunnycovechef
    January 11, 2016 at 11:46 am

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 12:10 pm

      I’ve never tried fennel tea, do you steep the fronds?

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    January 11, 2016 at 10:42 am

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 11:13 am

      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.

  • Reply
    Chris Scheuer
    January 11, 2016 at 10:08 am

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 11:15 am

      It is really interesting, especially the stuff about the tamiflu…nature has so many secrets to share!

  • Reply
    January 11, 2016 at 8:22 am

    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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 8:24 am

      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!

  • Reply
    Melanie @ Melanie Cooks
    January 11, 2016 at 8:20 am

    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!

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 8:22 am

      I know, it’s actually a ‘thing’ — so if you’re ever stuck in the woods, you know what to do 🙂

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