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
    Dawn @ Words Of Deliciousness
    January 12, 2016 at 7:39 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      Apparently it’s a survivalist secret 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Seasons and Suppers
    January 12, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    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 🙂

    • Reply
      January 12, 2016 at 5:35 pm

      You are so lucky! I must say I did have to search for my specimens…there are a lot of pines here in LA, but they don’t tend to have low branches. I can just imagine the teas you’re going to be able to brew up 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer Farley
    January 12, 2016 at 7:47 am

    Beautiful photos!

    • Reply
      January 12, 2016 at 7:57 am

      Thanks Jennifer – I’m loving steamy photos these days, it’s so cooooold!!

  • Reply
    Tessa | Salted Plains
    January 12, 2016 at 5:57 am

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

    • Reply
      January 12, 2016 at 7:46 am

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

      • Reply
        January 16, 2016 at 9:49 am

        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!

  • Reply
    audrey @ unconventional baker
    January 11, 2016 at 11:42 pm

    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. ?

    • Reply
      January 12, 2016 at 7:36 am

      No I haven’t Audrey, but I did read about it.

  • Reply
    Lorraine @Not Quite Nigella
    January 11, 2016 at 8:03 pm

    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 😀

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 8:11 pm

      Pine soda? You learn something new every day 😉

  • Reply
    Bonnie in Seattle
    January 11, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    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?

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 5:07 pm

      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

  • Reply
    Katherine B.
    January 11, 2016 at 4:29 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 5:06 pm

      That’s so great – I was a Girl Scout but I don’t think we ever did that, it makes sense, though!

  • Reply
    Tricia @ Saving room for dessert
    January 11, 2016 at 4:23 pm

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

    • Reply
      January 11, 2016 at 5:15 pm

      Just breathing in the steam from this tea is lovely Tricia – I did read that some people use it that way.

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    January 11, 2016 at 3:56 pm

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

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