Pine Needle Tea

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This post is by Bernie Carr,


I got the idea about pine needle tea from watching old episodes of 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. 

How to Make Pine Needle Tea

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 2017




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  1. I can drink most any tea so I’d give this a try. I usually drink green tea but try different flavors and love the scent of pines. No trees in my neighborhood are fit though since it’s near the freeway but all great info to know. Thanks!

    1. Hi Deb E, Yes, I’d hold off on those pine trees that are next to the freeway. I’d likely choose green tea over the pine needle tea but it’s good to know about anyway. Thanks for the comment!

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