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
    Kristen @ The Endless Meal
    January 24, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    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.

  • Reply
    January 21, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    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

    • Reply
      January 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm

      I hope it soothes you Eileen, and feel better!!

  • Reply
    January 18, 2016 at 6:57 am

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

  • Reply
    Claudia | Gourmet Project
    January 18, 2016 at 1:10 am

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

  • Reply
    the food hunter
    January 17, 2016 at 6:33 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 3:55 pm

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

  • Reply
    January 15, 2016 at 12:24 pm

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

  • Reply
    Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary
    January 14, 2016 at 8:13 am

    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!

    • Reply
      January 14, 2016 at 10:07 am

      Just be sure to pick the fresh green ones from the trees, Cheyanne 😉

  • Reply
    John/Kitchen Riffs
    January 13, 2016 at 9:03 am

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

    • Reply
      January 13, 2016 at 7:28 pm

      They grow all over the US so you shouldn’t have any trouble, John.

  • Reply
    Meghan | Fox and Briar
    January 12, 2016 at 8:32 pm

    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.

    • Reply
      January 13, 2016 at 7:30 pm

      I agree, tea really makes the most of the pine-y aroma.

      • Reply
        Louis sanchez
        October 8, 2017 at 11:29 am

        Are spruce tea safe for pregnant women yes or no

        • Reply
          October 8, 2017 at 11:36 am

          When it comes to what to eat and drink in pregnancy I leave that to the experts, Louis, and so I can’t say either way. I would avoid until checking with a doctor.

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