One of the problems that can occur from living off long-term storage foods is lack of vitamin C. This is a simple problem to overcome in most of the US. Plain Pine needle tea contains 4-5 times the Vitamin C of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and is high in Vitamin A. Pine needle tea is also an expectorant, decongestant, and when cool can be used as an antiseptic wash.
Each variety of pine has its own flavor, so you can experiment and determine which is your favorite. See the warnings at the bottom of this post.
Making a cup of tea is easy.
- Gather a handful of green needles, young ones are best
- Remove any of the brown little sheaths that may remain at the base of the needles.
- Cut the needles into ¼ to ½ inch sections.
- Heat your water to a rolling boil.
- Pour the boiling water over a tablespoon of the chopped needles.
- Allow to steep for 5-10 minutes. The majority of needles should have settled to the bottom of the cup.
Dried pine needles can be used as well, so if you have too many left over, consider drying them and using any time you need them in the year.
A word of warning
Caution: Women who are pregnant, or who could become pregnant, are advised NOT to drink pine needle tea in general for fear it could cause abortion.
There are three conifers you must avoid! They can potentially be harmful to your health.
This tree grows from a shrub to a small tree. It contains a toxic alkaloid called taxine that is highly toxic to humans and animals.
Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophylla), also known as Australian Pine
This pretty, little tree often sold as an indoor Christmas tree is poisonous to many house pets such as: cats, dogs, and birds.
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), yellow pine
The twigs and needles of the ponderosa pine will abort a fetus in cattle and other farm animals, and is regarded as unsafe for human consumption..
As with any plants you intent to consume, but sure you have correctly identified the plant. Failure to correctly identify the plant can be hazardous to your health and result in death.