How to Make Pine Needle Tea

How to Make Pine Needle Tea

Pine needle tea is made from (surprise!) pine trees. It contains significant amounts of vitamin C (up to five times as much as a lemon).[1] Moreover, it is refreshing and can serve as a decongestant.[2] Here is how to do it.


  • Approximately 1 cup of water
  • A bunch of fresh pine needles from a green white pine (Pinus strobus) (see “Tips” and “Warnings” below for collection advice)


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    Put the water into a pot and bring it to a boil.[3] Or, boil the water in a kettle. Use whichever method you’re used to.

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    Gather the pine needles, clean them, and then put them in the cup or mug.

  3. Image titled Make Pine Needle Tea Step 3


    Pour the boiling water into the cup while the pine needles are in it and stir until the color of the pine needles starts to pale.

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    For more flavor, add the juice of 1 lemon or a squirt of lemon juice. Also try a squirt of honey or stir in a sugar cube.[4]

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    Filter the pine needles out with a fork and drink up!

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    If you have more time, try this method.[5]

    • Chop 1/2 a cup of pine needles finely. Add them to the boiling water in the saucepan.

    • Reduce the heat and simmer the tea for 20 minutes. Don’t heat any longer as the vitamin C is heat sensitive.[6]

    • Remove from the heat and allow to steep for another 20 minutes or overnight.[7] The tea will gain a red tinge. Warm it up to serve or refrigerate if not drinking yet.
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Community Q&A

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  • Question

    Can I use dry pine needles to make tea? If so, do I use more or less needles?

    • Yes, you can use dry pine needles. You will need more because the natural juices are sucked out when dried, so to get more flavor you will need to add more needles.
  • Question

    What can I use to clean pine needles properly?

    • Just wash them with water and rub them with a cloth to get dirt off.
  • Question

    What kind of pine tree is used for pine tree tea ?

    • Most pine trees are safe to make pine needle tea. Some varieties of them are poisonous though, like Yew (Taxus), Norfolk Island Pine (Araucana heterophylla) and Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa). So check the variety carefully before picking up any needles.
  • Question

    How often can I drink pine needle tea?

    • You can drink it every day or every other day. Avoid drinking too much, however, as it contains 4 to 5 times more vitamin C than orange juice as well as a high amount of vitamin A. Remember, too much of a good thing, including vitamins, can quickly become a bad thing.
  • Question

    How do I dry the needles and use them in tea?

    • You don’t. They’re used fresh. You can dry them out by leaving them in a cool dry place, and they’ll still work, but it’s not essential.
  • Question

    Can I use fir and/or spruce needles?

    • Yes, you could use either one.
  • Question

    Can I use jack pine needles for tea?

    • Yes. Jack pine needles are completely safe for pine needle tea.

    Thanks! 1

  • Question

    Should I use young or old pine needles?

    • Use fresh pine needles. The age of the tree does not matter as long as the needles are green/fresh.

    Thanks! 1

  • Question

    Where do I find these specific type of pine needles, and how do I identify them?

    The Purge Gamer Productions

    Community Answer

    • Fresh growth is easily identifiable. The needles should have a semi-dark green or vibrant green color. The newer needles will be noticeably more flexible than older needles, and fewer will have yellowing/browning tips. For fir, I’d recommend grabbing the super bright green tips from the spring growth and use them. From experience, I’ve found some fir and spruce to actually taste better than pine tea.

    Thanks! 0

  • Question

    How can I tell if I am using the right pine needles?

    • If they are a bright or dark green in color, they are safe to use. The most common types of pine are spruce and fir.

    Thanks! 5

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  • I have just candled my mugho pine shrubs in the front yard. Are these ‘candles’ OK to brew a tea from?

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  • The pine needle tea can be sweetened using any sweetener of choice. However, it is recommended that you try the tea first, for provided you’ve used fresh, young pine needles, it will have its own sweetness.

  • Select the pine needles that are youngest as these will be the freshest and have the most flavor and nutrients. They are the ones that look slightly greener than the remaining pine needles, found at the end of each tree branch.

  • Suggested steeping times vary anywhere from 5 minutes to half an hour according to whose recipe you read. You might like to try different steeping times to find the amount of time that creates a pine needle tea that you like.

  • Dried pine needles can be used as well, so if you have too many left over, consider drying them and using any time you need them in the year.

    7 Helpful?  2

  • If you have any needles left over, throw them in the bath to help relieve arthritis pain, nerve pain and sprains and muscle strains.

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  • Make sure to clean the needles. Who knows what could be on them. There could be bug eggs, dirty water, etc.

  • As with any wild food, be sure to collect from an area free from pollution and avoid any trees with disease.

  • Do not consume this tea if pregnant or breastfeeding.[8]

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  • Hemlock trees are not poisonous. The hemlock tree is coniferous tree and a member of the Tsuga genus (family Pinaceae). The poisonous perennial, herbaceous hemlock plants that grow near streams and in fields (e.g. water hemlock, poison hemlock and hemlock water drop-wort) are members of the family Apiaceae. Therefore the two are totally unrelated and bear no physical resemblance to each other either. The reason why hemlock tree came to be named thus is because someone thought that when you crush the needles (it’s a pine tree) the smell is similar to that obtained when you crush poisonous hemlock leaves, but that’s the onlyconnection.

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Article Summary

To make pine needle tea, boil 1 cup of water in a pot or kettle, and clean fresh pine needles from a green white pine. Place the cleaned needles in a cup or mug, and pour the boiling water over the needles. Then, stir the water until the needles begin to lose their color. You can add a squirt of lemon juice or some honey to the tea for extra flavor. Finally, use a fork or spoon to scoop out all of the pine needles and enjoy your drink!

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