February 26, 2017

Pine Needle Tea

This post is by Bernie Carr, apartmentprepper.com



I got the idea about pine needle tea from watching Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.  He picked out some pine needles, boiled them then drank the tea.  He said pine needles are full of vitamin C.  In a survival situation, if fruits and vegetables are scarce, you’ll need a good source of vitamin C.  I also read it can be a good decongestant.  Spotting a nice looking pine tree on a walk one day, I decided to try it out.

First, let’s get the warnings and precautions out of the way:

If you are pregnant, do not try pine needle tea, as it is thought to cause possible miscarriage.   Do not try if nursing either, just to be on the safe side.  Know what type of tree you are picking from.  I am not a tree expert but do know the tree I picked from is the white pine variety which is safe.  Pine trees that are toxic are Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), Yew (Taxus), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophylla). Be aware of pesticide spraying in your area:  some cities spray insecticide against mosquitoes, beetles etc.  Do not pick near a roadside that is full of car exhaust fumes. 

1.  Collect a couple of handfuls of pine needles.  Choose younger, softer needles, and discard the dried, brown ones.


2.  Wash the pine needles thoroughly, to remove dust and insects.  I did not find any bugs, but did wash out some dirt.  I washed the needles multiple times just to make sure.


3.  Set some water to boil.  Turn of the heat.  Place the pine needles in the hot water and let steep for five minutes.


4.  Drain the tea into a cup.  Let cool.


It is now ready to drink.  I tasted the tea.  The tea taste just like it smells: piney.  I did detect a twinge of a mild bitter aftertaste after swallowing the tea.  I wasn’t wild about the slight filminess that formed after boiling.  I think it may be some residual sap that was on the pine needles.  However if you are out in the wilderness, need something warm to drink, and can use the vitamin C, then pine needle tea would hit the spot.  I won’t be trading in my Chai tea just yet, but it’s good to know you can find a substitute if I had to.

© Apartment Prepper 2012


Many stored foods require water for preparation. Whether bugging out or sheltering in place, you can never have enough clean water for survival: For your water purifier needs, please visit:





15 Comments on Pine Needle Tea

  1. It’s funny you wrote about this today. Just the other day I was telling the grandkids that they could always chew on some pine needles or drink some pine needle tea. Especially if they wanted to prevent scurvy! I’ve had it too. It’s much better with honey.

  2. Pine needle tea is something they teach at the Marine Corps Mountaim Warfare School. I have drank many cups over the years in out out of the service. Yes you can also chew on them and also eat a limited amount of them after boiling.

    • Hey Jarhead03, Didn’t think about chewing on them. I bet chewing on them wouldn’t be bad at all, those needles smell good!

    • Thanks for the link, farmgal, had no idea you can make all that from spruce tips. Nice photos on your site too.

  3. Ah yes One of my favorite when I am out doing my “thing”. I have to say though that of all my samplings that the Douglas Fir is by far and away my favorite, it is very mild and has a pleasant citrus / lemon after taste. It does help if you crush them before you boil them as it releases more flavor. I too often chew them when I am out on the trail.

    I do have an old article posted over on my blog you might like to read..

    Pine Soup Pine Tea And Pine Bark Could Save Your Life
    RT’ed by @isurvivalskills

  4. I’ve heard it makes a difference whether the needles are more flat or round as to whether it can be used in teas, although I don’t remember which kind is ok to use. You survived so I guess you chose wisely.

  5. Once when I made too much pine needle tea I refridgerated it and enjoyed it as iced tea the next day. Very refreshing.

    I was taught not to boil the needles, rather bring your water to a full boil, throw in your rinsed needles (I cut them in 1″ sections with scissors) and turn down the heat to low. Allow the needles to steep for 10 to 40 minutes depending on how strong you like your tea.

  6. And now I know why pets always want to drink the water from the Christmas tree stand! When I was a kid I used to chew pine sap like bubble gum – I wonder if it works the same?

  7. aptprepper,
    You forgot to tell them to remove the caps from the pine needles first. I would also suggest that you tell them to discard any clusters that have something white on them. I believe this white stuff to be “bird pup”. Scrapping, washing. You can’t get it all off.

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