Making pine needle tea is one of the best – and easiest – ways to use foraged pine needles. This is a wonderful and simple way to use pine or other conifer needles like spruce or fir medicinally. Ease your mind and heal your body with this delicious conifer tea!
What is Pine Needle Tea?
There are many edible and medicinal uses for foraged conifer needles, and making tea out of them is a wonderful use of their powers.
Sometimes called “conifer needle tea,” this warming drink is simply made with foraged pine or other edible conifer needles steeped in boiling water. This is an easy way to ingest this health-beneficial tea.
The aromatics of this tea alone will help you feel calm and comforted, just like you’re walking through a forest. It tastes delicious too, piney, with refreshing citrus notes.
The best part is that your health also benefits from drinking conifer tea! It’s truly a tea to heal your body and mind.
Types of Edible Conifer Needles
Some common and edible types of conifer needles you can use for making tea are most pine, fir, and spruce species.
Most conifer and pine trees can be foraged year-round, and are perfect to gather during the fall and winter when other plants are sparse.
It’s important to properly identify any tree that you want to use for tea or anything else.
The main conifer trees to avoid for consumption is the Yew family because they are highly toxic.
Feel confident correctly identifying and foraging conifer and pine needles with this guidebook.
Pine Needles to Use for Tea
Some great varieties of pine trees to use for tea are eastern white pine (Pinus strobus), western white pine (Pinus monticola), red pine (Pinus resinosa), and sugar pine (Pinus lambertiana).
While most species of pine needles are safe to use for tea, there are a few varieties that you may want to avoid, especially if you are pregnant.
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta) are not recommended to be used internally by pregnant women as there is a chance that they could cause miscarriage in large doses.
That said, ponderosa pine has been used medicinally by Indigenous Americans for hundreds of years.
Norfolk Island pine (Araucaria heterophylla) is another possibly mildly toxic conifer tree (it is definitely toxic to pets), but it is not actually a true pine.
Fir Needles to Use for Tea
As far as my research has shown, all fir trees have edible needles.
Some great fir species to use for tea are white fir (Abies concolor), grand fir (Abies grandis), noble fir (Abies procera), and balsam fir (Abies balsamea).
I will also say that Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga spp.), while not a true fir, is an excellent choice for tea-making!
Try this recipe for fir needle forest chai for a different twist on fir needle tea!
Spruce Needles to Use for Tea
Again, as far as my research, all spruce trees have edible needles. In fact, spruce tips in the springtime are a wonderful treat! I love making spruce beer with them.
Some great spruce species to use for tea are blue spruce (Picea pungens), Norway spruce (Picea abies), Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), and white spruce (Picea glauca).
Hemlock Needles to Use for Tea
Hemlock tree needles are edible and can also be used for tea, though not to be confused with poison hemlock which is a highly toxic plant and not a tree.
There are three common species of hemlock trees: western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis), and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana).
Other Conifer Needles for Tea
Coast redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) needles can be used to make redwood tea!
I would avoid making tea from most cedars and junipers (but many juniper berries are okay to use) as many of them have toxic compounds if used internally in large amounts.
For any tree you’d like to use be sure to properly identify and check for edibility first!
How to Make Pine Needle Tea
The first step is to correctly identify and forage conifer needles.
You will want to strip or snip the needles off the branch, and if they are really long (like many pines are), cut them into smaller pieces.
Place a spoonful of the needles at the bottom of a mug.
Pour boiling water over the needles and steep for about 5 minutes.
Feel free to use a tea strainer if you prefer!
For a stronger flavored pine tea, boil the prepared needles in a pot of water for a few minutes, and strain them out as you pour them into your favorite mug.
This method makes a tasty strong tea, but it does diminish the vitamin C content some.
In either method, you can add a cinnamon stick for some extra warmth of flavor or a dollop of pine needle infused honey for added sweetness.
Benefits of Conifer Needle Tea
Traditionally consumed throughout winter to keep scurvy away, this delicious piney-tasting tea will give you a good dose of vitamin C.
Most pine and conifer needles can be used as an expectorant for coughs, to relieve chest congestion and respiratory ailments. For extra throat soothing, add some raw honey to your pine needle tea.
Try my pine needle cough syrup which takes pine needle tea to the next level!
Conifer and pine needles also have pain-relieving and antibacterial properties, which add to the magical essence of this tea.
The aromas and flavor of this delicious tea will comfort and warm you, heal your body, and relax your mind!
More Pine Needle Recipes
- Pine Needle Cough Syrup
- Conifer Hot Toddy with Rose Hips and Ginger
- Conifer Infused Oil for Body and Mind
- Winter Spice Pine Soap Recipe
- Conifer Needle Shortbread: Foraged Holiday Cookies
- Conifer Infused Vodka for Winter Cocktails
- Pine Lotion Bars
- Pine Needle Soda
- Pine Needle Cookies
- Pine Salve
Pine Needle Tea
- Prepare the pine or conifer needles, rinse and snip to smaller size if necessary.
- Place a spoonful of the needles into the bottom of the mug or into a tea ball or strainer. Add a cinnamon stick to the mug if desired.
- Pour boiling water to fill the cup, and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
- It’s important to properly identify any tree that you are wanting to use for tea to make sure that it is edible.
- For a stronger flavored tea, boil the prepared needles in a pot of water for a few minutes, and strain them out as you pour into your favorite mug. This method makes a lovely strong tea, but it does diminish the vitamin C content some.