Pine Needle Tea: Full of Vitamin C and Great for Survival

Pine Needles, Pine Needle Tea

Nature has a way of providing, in this case we’re referring to pine needle tea. It’s a great source of vitamin C. Research has shown that pound for pound pine needles can have 3-5 times the Vitamin C as an orange. Some of the benefits of vitamin C include: production of collagen (which is our main connective tissue), and prevention of scurvy (which can greatly slow down or prevent the healing of wounds, and cause swollen joints, anemia, and tiredness. All things you do NOT want in a survival scenario).

Pine Needles, Pine Needle Tea

Native Americans were no stranger to foraging. There are stories of French explorers being cured of scurvy by White Pine once they were shown how to make pine needle tea. The anitscorbutic properties of pine reversed their shrinking, rotting gums and spoiled teeth.


Early English and French Voyages: Chiefly from Hakluyt, 1534-1608
By Henry Sweetser Burrage, Richard Hakluyt

The Process:

Do NOT boil the needles. Boil the water, then remove it from the heat source. Add the pine needles to the hot water and cover to steep. Let the needles steep as long as you want, tasting along the way. The long you allow them to steep, the stronger the taste. Keep it hot for hours in a quality container like the Bubba HT Tumbler.

How to select your needles:

Some varieties of pine may contain more than others, Balsam Pine shows more Vitamin C content that White Pine.One USDA research project showed that longer/older needles contain more Vitamin C than shorter/younger ones. Never use brown needles on the ground.

Considerations about pine needle tea:


Dangers
Avoid pines that aren’t really pines. These include Yew pine (Podocarpus macrophylla) and Norfolk Island pine (Araucana heterophylla). And stay away from the highly toxic yew (genus Taxus).
Most sources warn of the potential dangers of pines like Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), citing the possibility of abortion from drinking tea made with these species. And some sources say all pines could potentially cause abortion.
According to Green Deane Jordan of EatTheWeeds, pine needle tea drunk in moderation shouldn’t cause any problems unless you’re allergic to pine (http://www.eattheweeds.com/pines-not-just-for-breakfast-anymore-2/): 
“The basis for this rumor is a veterinary study decades ago. If you are a cow and you eat many pounds of Ponderosa Pine needles you have a 5 to 8 percent chance out of 100 of having an abortion or still-birth. If you boil a huge amount of pine neeles [sic] in water for hours down to a small amount of gross liquid and you drink it, then maybe it would cause an abortion. A few of needles soaked in hot water is no threat to anyone except for possible allergies.”

~Eric Orr, WildEdible.com/pine-needle-tea-natural-vitamin-c

Research more on your own

We’re not responsible for anything you do, eat, or drink. We’re providing historical information, so please be smart and use your grey matter. Research on your own and take personal accountability for your own well being.

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