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
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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

Ingredients

  • Pine, Spruce, or Fir needles

Instructions

  • 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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72 Comments

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  • Reply
    kate
    May 25, 2021 at 10:50 am

    i’m not sure, but it seems that simmering the tea
    would kill the vitamin C. Maybe a sun tea would
    be nice. thank you.

  • Reply
    Victoria
    August 4, 2019 at 8:46 pm

    Wonderful! Might want to include the fact that clipping the growth from the tops of young evergreens will stunt their growth…and that harvesters should clip just a little from a bunch of trees, particularly when harvesting young growth.

    • Reply
      Sue
      August 4, 2019 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you 🙂 I’m looking forward to formulating more recipes with confiers this winter!

  • Reply
    Glenda Barton
    June 22, 2019 at 2:45 pm

    Also, recently I went on a “Forest Therapy” (“Forest Bathing”) walk in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park, in Sonoma County, California. For those of you who don’t know, Forest Bathing is a healing modality invented in Japan in the 1990’s, based on ancient practices in ancient Japan and elsewhere. They are REALLY serious about it there, they have special forests and test your cortisol level before the walk! A guide must be certified. Our guide provided the perfect finish for our walk: a beautiful spread on a colorful cloth of blackberries, nuts, and a pot of Douglas fir tip tea. It was the first time I had that tea and it is the most delicate flavor imaginable.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 22, 2019 at 4:59 pm

      Sounds like an amazing experience!

  • Reply
    Glenda Barton
    June 22, 2019 at 2:25 pm

    You can also make tea from redwood needles. I have done so, and it’s wonderful. Of course, they are only found in the wild in California and Oregon.

  • Reply
    Kathleen
    June 12, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks so much, Sue! I first tasted “spruce tip tea” when I bought a package in the Yellowknife (NT) Airport last year, just passing through. Then, I read “Forest Bathing” recently and it brought me back again. So for the last few weeks, we have been drinking grand fir tea from the newest needles just coming out in the Southern Gulf Islands. Amazing.

    • Reply
      Sue
      June 12, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      Sounds heavenly!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    February 16, 2018 at 1:48 pm

    I just happen to have a Christmas Tree Farm and can’t wait to try this when the new buds are out in the spring!

    • Reply
      Sue
      February 16, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Oh wow Amanda!

  • Reply
    Dal
    January 4, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    I live in langley were we are 50-50 cedars/fir how do I use cedar for teas

    • Reply
      Sue
      January 5, 2018 at 4:12 am

      You can pull the cedar needles/leaves off the branch and either boil them in water for a few minutes, or steep them in very hot water. You’ll get lots of vitamin C. (Pregnant women shouldn’t drink this tea.)

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 1, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I am amazed to hear about this tea, and while a bit nervous to try it, I’m tempted to cut some pine branches from our live Christmas Tree! Such an interesting post!

  • Reply
    Julie
    July 25, 2017 at 6:44 pm

    Great details as usual

  • Reply
    Hester @ Alchemy in the Kitchen
    February 1, 2016 at 1:07 pm

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

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