Thursday, November 15, 2012

Pine Needle Tea

These are the pines on the edge of our drive.  I'm not sure what type they are.

They have short needles.  I trimmed some off with a pair of scissors, and after just a few snips I was both breathing easier and ready to sneeze.  Pines cause me terrible seasonal allergies when the cones open in the spring.

 I put them into my tea ball and gave them a rinse.  Should have taken the picture before rinsing, as half of them stuck to the top of the ball and settled on the edges and I had to fart around with them to get it to close properly afterward.
And of course, I'm not likely to start following directions today, so the tea ball went into my current pot of tea to steep and blend.

10 minutes later, I am drinking my first cup.  It's a Red Rose, Pomegranate White, pine needle blend today.  I don't notice a strong pine taste- not that I know what pine actually tastes like, but it doesn't taste like pine needles smell.  It does seem to have masked the pomegranate though, so I have a cup of tea that essentially just tastes like Red Rose, with maybe a bit of something...  that I can't quite place.

An interesting link: 
The Health Benefits of Pine Needle Tea

Other websites claim that pine needle tea may have up to 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange, but amounts and flavour may vary between species.  Sources claim rose hips have 426 mg per 100g, oranges 50 mg, and 5 times that puts pine needles at 250mg per 100g.  Pine needles have the added bonus of being available year round, thereby not losing any vitamin content to storage.

Halfway through my cup of tea, I'm noticing a bit of an after taste.  It's not entirely unpleasant, but noticeable. 

A funny little aside though, if you happen to look at the chart, how did oranges become so famous as 'THE' source for vitamin C? They're relatively low, trailing behind strawberries, elderberries, broccoli and brussels sprouts.  Marketing?

Another link, with tea remedy recipes:
Pine-Needle Tea

My second cup of tea, after steeping nearly 40 minutes, the taste of 'something else' has gotten a bit stronger.  I'm going to assume that is indeed the flavour of the pine.  My tongue feels a little odd , kind of coated.  The after taste is gone.  or not noticeable now.  My nose feels clear, though my sinuses are still compacted.  It'll be interesting to see if they drain today.

#4 has his first cup of tea, and I told him I put something different in it, but I didn't tell him what.  His opinion- it tastes the same as normal.  Since he's never had the pomegranate before (a bonus tea bag from Timmy's the last time I was out), I assume he's getting the same counter active effect I experienced.  

(Notice how I linked that for the non-Canadians?  If you tell your friend's you're going to Timmy's and no one asks Timmy WHO?  You just might be Canadian, lol!)

Ew- this might be too much info- I just horked up a big gob of slime.  And I haven't even been coughing or feeling any chest congestion.    I may have to make this a part of my routine.

Anyone else brave enough to try it? 


  1. Hey Girl - I think your pine tree is a fur tree but that's like the differents between a jersey and an angus, so shouldn't be a prob. Both conifers. Hows' it working on the headache? I'll give this one a try but I'm more interested in how the yeast lab results turn out. I can't begin to tell you my fails on the sourdough started. I even tried one with pineapple juice. Oh boy, did that one smell! Good luck on the tests and let us know how they're workin'.

    1. Headache is already gone, so I'm not testing that theory at the moment.

      I hear ya on the starter fail. Hopefully this batch works out better. It looks like it did something last night, so maybe that's a step in the right direction.

  2. Wendy - try the tea without using anything except the pine needles - the tea bag might have a counterproductive effect.

    i love pine needle tea. i first learned about it when, several years ago, my Polish neighbour came jumping over our fence screaming "Anna's been hurt. can i have some pine needles?". Anna was her 3 yr old daughter at the time. we had just moved in and just met the family next door. i jumped up and said "of course"! so we ran to the little forest of pines in my yard and she told me she was looking for new growth and cut a few small branches of new growth. i followed her back to her house where she had a kettle boiling on the stove. we plucked all of the needles from their branches and put them in the kettle. then she peeled the bark off of one of the branches, cut the wood up into small pieces and started chewing on them, almost making a paste-like thing that she then spit into a bowl. after the tea had boiled, she let it steep for 5 mins. then she poured a cup of the tea and had Anna sip it slowly. then she poured some of the tea into a small bowl, rinsed a cloth in it and started wiping Anna's big cut (on her shin). Anna had fallen on the concrete so she had cuts and tears on her shins and elbows. after she wiped the cuts and tears with the cloth, she then took the chewed up pine wood and applied it to all of the cuts and wrapped each with clean gauze. she told me that she would leave the paste on the cuts for 3 hours and then take the paste and gauze off and let the cuts dry out.

    all during this time Anna was screaming in pain. as soon as her mother applied the pine needle tea, and then paste, Anna stopped crying and said that it stopped hurting. her mother said she would give Anna the tea 3 more times that day.

    the next day when i went over to check - i couldn't believe how healed up the tears and cuts were - she had been pretty badly scratched up and raw but the next day - her cuts looked like they had been healing for several days!!!

    needless to say, i threw out the polysporin and aspirin after doing more research and pine needle tea became my new "thing". it was right about then that i first started to become interested in more natural methods of healing, etc. because Anna knew a lot. sadly, they moved after we had only been living there for 3 months. i always wished they had stayed as i knew that she had much to teach. but she got me interested and i have been learning ever since!

    oh - one last thing - the Donner party members who survived....chewed pine needles for food. interesting eh?

    your friend,

    1. You want me to drink it straight!? Geez, kymber, I never figured you for a purist, lol. I'll try it straight tomorrow.

      That's a great story. It's nice when you get to see stuff like that in action.

      I had never heard of the Donner party, had to google them. Pine needles and human flesh. Ewww. Survival of the fittest for sure.

  3. I am not sure if I am game unless I have someone right here with me. I have such terrible allergies that some things make my throat start to close. I may get brave. I don't know. However, I am storing all this away. All I know is you have short-needle pine and I have long needle pine....about ten inches needles. Mine may be called loblolly. Yours looks like my Christmas trees.

  4. We're having some tomorrow. My girls like to add a few berries - whatever is in season - or spice it up with ginger. My daughter who usually makes it tosses in branches and all! :)

    1. Sure, why not? lol. kymber's friend was chewing on branches!

      Berries I could add. I don't think I'm ready for firewood in my tea cup though, lol.

    2. Yesterday I added a sliced orange. And hubby finally tried some and really liked it. The almost 3 year old thought he should get everyone's orange slice!

  5. You might find this link helpful:

    Spruce vs. fir vs. pine: How to tell them apart

    If it is a pine, a red pine has needles in groups of 2 and white pine has needles in groups of 5.

    1. That's an interesting link, thank you! I guess these are spruce trees then.

      Does that change the value of the tea? off to google...

  6. If you are allergic to pine pollen, just be careful that you don't get an allergic overload from drinking the tea. If you feel worse after having pine needle tea over several days, that might be a sign of allergic overload sneaking up on you. (My stepfather is allergic to maple trees and has to avoid maple syrup or it gives him a terrible headache.) Hope you can make use of the excellent, free source of vitamin C in your yard.

    1. I was timid about drinking it because of that. Thanks for the heads up! I think I'll keep it down to once a week, just to be safe.

  7. Ponderosa Pine and Yew Pine are poisonous so beware. I'm about to embark on the pine needle tea also and am doing research on the health benefits of pine trees. Experiments to come. You answered my question of what it tastes like. I was a bit concerned. Mixing it with other natural infusion ingredients would be a good idea but first I think I'll try it straight. The story about your neighbor that moved has me intriqued.