The cold of winter brings the yearn for warm beverages. One of the little known facts is that pine tree needles produce a tasty and healthy tea that you can enjoy year round. key health benefits include:
High in Vitamin C - Reportedly 3-5 times more than an orange
High in Vitamin A
Contributes to improved immune function and cardiovascular health
Includes flavonoids that are said to have antidepressant and anti-inflammatory
In addition to these reports American Indians have used and believe in the healing remedies of pine needle tea. It's been said they introduced the tea to Europeans when they were suffering from Vitamin C deficiency. If you feel like you have cold like symptoms including coughing, sore throat and phlegm then pine needle tea should be in your arsenal too.
My pine of choice are the free white pines on my property. Be aware that there are some pines that are toxic to make sure to identify them before you decide to brew. Here is a branch from the pine I cut.
Another clue is the number of needles. The white pine has 5 needles in a bunch, which is what I have.
I gather enough pine needs to fit on a nickel when clustered together.
Next, I bring the water to a boil then drop then needles in. You can leave whole or cut into pieces. I let it the water and needles boil for about 5 more minutes, cover and let it sit for 10 more minutes. Another method is to bring the water to a rolling boil and pour of the needles and cover for 20 minutes.
Pour and drink. I like my tea without sugar so the slight citrusy pine flavor works well for me. The color of the tea can range from cloudy to a light brown.