Pine Needle Tea Antiviral Properties
It is known that pinene, which is the primary component of pine needles, inhibits the growth of microorganisms. Terpinene, camphene and limonene are antiviral. It has been further stated in this scientific paper that Beta-pinenene and limonenen reduced viral activity significantly.
Antiviral capability is also being sort by many as a protection against the Coronavirus or Covid19. While there is no evidence I and many friends are now adding a cup of pine needle tea to our plan of immunity to coronavirus.
Simply the best pine needle tea with great benefits to get is Juniper Ridge Douglas Fir It is a great flavour and a good price although I notice stocks are getting low.
Safe to drink, unless you are pregnant or breastfeeding, pine needle tea can also improve general skin, hair and nail health as well as improve vision.
You must be curious as to what exactly it is in pine needles that give it, its healing properties. Properties in pine needles include:
Antioxidants found in the high levels of vitamin C and A and presenting as flavonoids, and their glycosides. High in proanthocyanidins.
Antiseptic qualities, notably present and detected by the scent it exudes.
Terpenes, found in high concentrations in pine resin but also present in needles in the form of pinene, myrcene, cadinenes and thujenes.
Notable levels of calcium, iron, potassium and phosphorous.
Preparing Pine Needle Tea
Preparation is very simple. First, gently wash your harvest in cold water to remove any dirt.
When I pick up blowdown branches, sometimes the leaves can be a little dry-looking. In this situation, Ill simply put the twigs in a glass of water for 12-24 hrs to rehydrate the needles. Works like a charm.
Next, tear off a few twigs and place them into an empty mug, as shown above.
Some people like to bruise the needles to release more of the pine oil. Simply crush the needles between your fingertips, or use the back of a spoon to grind them against a cutting board, which will now smell piney. Ive had good success with this definitely more pine aroma and flavor.
Experiment with quantity. For a single cup , this is how I roll
Next, just add hot water
Allow the needles to steep for at least 3 minutes. Some people make a big pot of pine needle tea and allow their needles to steep for 20 minutes.
This has always been a common form of tea in The Catskills. For example, before the settlers arrived, the Iroquois would regularly boil the young leaves of hemlock to make tea.
However long you brew, watch the needles for a very obvious color change. It happens quickly. The photo below shows before-and-after. These needles were left to steep for just a few minutes
Pull out the twigs and needles, strain away any loose bits, and enjoy.
Youll notice the water remains more-or-less clear, but it has an obvious aroma and flavor.
Nutrients In Pine Trees
Beyond the needles, every part of a pine tree is edible, and though it may not contain many calories, each part is rich in different nutrients.
The outer bark is full of antioxidants and tannins, and its actually sold these days as a new-age health supplement. The inner bark has some calories and is surprisingly sweet . Pine bark flour is a traditional food in Scandinavia and is still used to this day.
Weve cooked a good bit with pine bark, and its surprisingly tasty , but pine needle tea is downright pleasurable. Nutrients or not, Id still harvest pine needles to make cups in the wintertime.
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Lets Make Conifer Tea
OK this is going to be fun grab some clippers and check out your backyard, or take a stroll around the block and snip a few fresh boughs for this aromatic pine needle tea.
I love nothing better than discovering and sharing new and unusual foods and flavors here in the Great Island kitchen, and edible evergreens definitely fits that bill. Even thought we all know and love the aroma of evergreens, it might be hard to wrap our minds around eating the stuff but think of it this way, if you like rosemary, I think youll be intrigued by the flavor of this healing conifer tea.
Pine Needle Tea 6 Amazing Facts About It That You Should Know
For thousands of years, indigenous civilizations
have considered pine needle tea to be a vital therapeutic aid.
While the official study on the subject is lacking
anecdotal evidence of its advantages is unmistakable.
Pine trees are native to the Northern Hemisphere, although they can
currently, be found in cold to subtropical climates all over the world.
This is what Alicia thinks about pine needle tea
Okay, a cup of pine needles may seem strange to some
.but pine needle tea is well worth trying. This is why.
Pine needles have therapeutic characteristics that make them
beneficial for maintaining health and reducing cold symptoms.
Finally, every forager with access to a pine tree can make this tasty
and healthful tea for free. The majority of people are unaware
that the trees all around us provide sufficient foraging opportunities.
The Encyclopedia of Folk Medicine describes how Native Americans used pine needle tea to treat scurvy among the colonists. A Korean study found that the antioxidant activity of pine needle tea may have been indeed similar to that of vitamin C.
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Carotenoids Regenerate Skin Hair And Nails
Vitamin A and its compounds like carotenoids, flavanols and other bioactive chemicals are amazing healers of skin.
Studies have shown that vitamin A can heal the skin damage caused by steroidal drugs, immune suppression, diabetes or radiation. It has the added benefit of preventing infection while stimulating new skin growth.
Hair growth and nail strength will improve too when regular doses of vitamin A and C are maintained.
High Vitamin A Levels Improve Eye Health
High levels of vitamin A contain flavonoids with antioxidant properties that can actually increase through the application of heat, so a tea can provide healing benefits in this way.
People who get enough vitamin C, A and E are less likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration.
Some forms of night blindness may also improve by increasing vitamin A intake, provided you dont suffer from liver disease , malabsorption or alcoholism. If the vitamin is not getting metabolized properly, it is of no use.
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Identifying Pines For Pine Needle Tea
The first rule of foraging is ALWAYS to make a positive identification before harvesting. Though some people refer to all evergreens as pines, there are actually many different types of conifer, and not all are safe to consume.
There are over 100 species of pine in the genus pinus growing around the world, and they share an easy-to-identify feature: clusters of long needles, usually found in groups of 2-5 called fascicles.
If you find an evergreen with individual leaves coming directly out of the branch, you dont have a pine, but likely a spruce or fir. Youll see these used in a lot of blog posts purportedly about pine needle tea, but theyre technically making a spruce or fir tea. More than you wanted to know, perhaps, but its irksome when people share foraging information and dont bother to check theyre correct.
The cluster of 5 needles is held together by a brown papery covering where it meets the branch
The cutting of spruce on the left shows the different pattern of needles, which attach individually rather than in clusters like pine
Eastern White Pine grows widely in North America, and can be easily identified by its clusters of 5 needles, while red pines have 2 and yellow pines have 3. Count the needles on more than one cluster in case a needle has fallen from the cluster.
Heres more on distinguishing different conifers from Iowa State Extension. This post on conifer identification from Grow Forage Cook Ferment is also very informative.
What Are The Properties Of Douglas Fir
The wood of the Douglas fir is medium-weight and, in comparison to other coniferous woods, fairly hard. It is subject to low shrinkage and has good stability. It is strong and elastic. The wood is also resistant against fungal and insect infestation and exhibits good natural durability when exposed to the elements.
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Proposed Mechanism Of Action
The proposed mechanism of action of pine needle tea or essential oil depends on the active compounds found in the needles. For instance, -pinene found in the essential oil of the needles is considered an aromatic antioxidant .
Phenolic compounds and other antioxidants from pine needles are being researched for boosting memory and protecting the brain, but these effects remain unverified .
Scientists suspect that pine needle essential oil has microbe-fighting action, though this hasnt been verified in clinical trials. The compounds in the oil are hypothesized to reduce energy generation in the bacteria and fungi .
Should You Use Fresh Pine Needles Or Dried Pine Needles
To extract the most antioxidants and vitamin C, needles should be fresh, or freshly dried with a green color and fresh evergreen scent. If you plan to use a home espresso machine to extract your pine needle tea, grind the fresh needles briefly in a vitamix jar or Blendtec blender, until they are coarsely ground. Do not over process. Freeze unused portions of ground pine needles to preserve their antioxidants.
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Pine Needles Are A Source Of Vitamin C
Like spruce, pine needles contain vitamin C, which is why its long been used as an effective remedy for scurvy.
Ive seen numerous claims that the vitamin C in pine needles exceeds that in lemons and oranges, but not one of them cites their sources. One study cited in this article found differing amounts of vitamin C in different types of pine, and while some are quite high, its worth remembering that youre not likely to eat 100 grams of pine needles the way you would 100 grams of orange.
Another source found that the vitamin C levels in the pine needles analyzed wasnt very high, but consumed in pine tea they seem to have enough to help with scurvy.
However much vitamin C it contains, pine needle tea isnt just useful for scurvy. You probably know that vitamin C plays an important role in immune system function, so its useful for fighting colds. Heres a complete list of immune-boosting foods to incorporate into your diet regularly to help you stay healthier during cold and flu season.
Researchers at the University of Maine found that pine needles steeped in hot water readily released shikimic acid, one of the key ingredients in the antiviral drug Tamiflu, though of course a cup of pine needle tea will have only a tiny amount of this compound compared to a dose of Tamiflu.
Curious about other medicinal plants you might grow in your yard? Here are more than 45 options to consider for your medicinal herb garden.
Pine Needle Tea For Flu And Colds
Historically, the Native Americans, particularly the Haudenosaunee , considered White Pine Trees the Tree of Peace. Knowledge of its healing properties eventually garnered the attention of Eurocentric science and research, including its abundance in Vitamin C.
One of the first examples of applying Pine Needle Tea benefits was against scurvy – how the times have changed.
Vitamin C in Pine Needle Tea is today most closely associated with boosting immunity. The bodys immune system is its most crucial line of defence against seemingly endless pathogens, consisting of an expansive network of cells, organs, proteins and tissues.
These components work together to fight viruses, parasites and harmful bacteria. And Pine Needle Teas Vitamin C content could help the process along.
But we would be remiss if we didnt mention that a so-called Pine Needle Tea flu treatment can only go so far. There is only preliminary evidence backing such a claim, some of which comes from questionable sources.
The same principles apply to its supposed ability to combat respiratory conditions, if not more so. The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, as a result, recommend a cautious approach.
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Herbal Guide To Pine Needles How To Identify And Use Pine Needles
If you are in North America, you likely have pine needles all around you! Did you know that these needles offer a host of benefits? From aromatherapy to cleaning to medicinal benefits, learn how to use pine needles in daily life.
When I think of winter gardening, I think of evergreens. For those who live up north, evergreens are some of the only greenery you will see for months.
However, what most people dont know is that the evergreen family of pine trees, Pinaceae, are edible and medicinal! Pine is easy to find year-round, making it extremely accessible for most people. It has many useful benefits and is ideal for a selective herbal cabinet.
Pine is also good for respiratory health, making it very useful for this cold and flu season! With all that being said, this herbal guide to pine will cover how to forage for needles, the health benefits of pine, and useful ways to utilize one of winters best plants!
Pine Needle Tea Nutrition Facts
Allow us now to look into Pine Needle Tea benefits, beginning with its wealth in vitamins, minerals and other antioxidants. Among these constituents are Alpha-Pinene, Beta-Pinene, Beta-Phellandrene, D-Limonene, Germacrene D, 3-Carene, Caryophyllene and Vitamin A.
But perhaps most important is Pine Needle Teas Vitamin C concentration, which is the primary reason it has become so popular.
While some online outlets have endorsed the infusion for, shall we say, other chemical compounds, none hold any truth. It is Vitamin C that serves as an immune system supporter, and it is most useful against colds and the flu.
Well talk more about its ability to help ward off minor illnesses momentarily. The first port of call is to establish its overarching Pine Needle Tea benefits.
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Vitamin C Content Of Pine Needles
Pine needles, especially fresh pine needles harvested in winter, contain a good bit of vitamin C. Its not all that much compared to modern supplements or fresh fruit, but it is enough to keep you healthy in a pinch.
One US forest service study found that pine needles have somewhere between 0.72 and 1.87 mg/g of Ascorbic Acid when sampled mid-summer. Other studies note that the vitamin C concentrations are 4-7 times higher in the winter months, steadily increasing in the colder months and peaking in February and March.
While the recommended daily intake of vitamin C is 60 mg/day for adults, rather unethical studies on prison inmates in the 1960s showed that you can fend off scurvy with as little as 10 mg/day. Based on that, a study concluded it would have been possible to fend off scurvy during the sieve of Leningrad using pine needle tea .
Pine Needle Tea Testosterone Levels
You know about the possible benefits of drinking Pine Needle Tea for coughs, colds and the flu. We shall now move onto the preliminary evidence concerning its influence on testosterone.
This is a hormone found in humans and animals alike, one that is arguably best recognised for affecting sex drive. It plays a vital role in sperm production, bone and muscle mass, fat storage and red blood cell production.
However, low testosterone levels can lead to reduced sexual desire, difficulty getting an erection, hair loss and fatigue. Could White Pine Needle Tea benefits be the answer? Not exactly, although it might, at the very least, provide support.
This is because some scientists suggest it functions as a hormone balancer. Research from the University of Athens supports the claim – to a degree. We remain sceptical.
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History And Meaning Of The Pine Tree
The beacon of green during the winter, pine trees have been around a LONG time. The pine species originated about 150 million years ago in the mid-Mesozoic Era and spread during the Cretaceous Period. As the trees evolved in response to new plants and trees, the family found its way into low nutrient soil, extreme cold or heat, and into fire-prone landscapes.
Christians and Pagans have been using the evergreen tree for thousands of years during winter festivals. During the winter solstice, Pagans used branches to decorate their homes and remind them that spring was on the way. In Northern Europe, people planted evergreen trees in boxes inside for the winter. Over time, this and other practices led to the tradition of decorated Christmas trees.
Pine has been used since the Middle Ages for its medicinal benefits and was a favourite healing plant for Native Americans. They taught early settlers how to utilize the needles, bark, and sap for their health.
The Eastern White Pine in particular was useful to settlers in the winter as it is high in Vitamin C and was used to treat scurvy. The needles also contain Vitamin A. Native Americans have been using pine for centuries to help with the respiratory system and for healing wounds.
Conifer Tea Is High In Vitamin C
This idea fascinated me so I did a little research. Conifer is the broad name for cone bearing trees, and lots of species of conifers are edible, namely pines, spruce, and fir. When it comes to pines, you can eat every part of them, from the pine nuts, to the bark, to the needles. The needles are not only edible, they contain a ton of vitamin C and theyre naturally anti-inflammatory.
Pine needles can be made into a soothing tea that helps fight colds and coughs. That vitamin C is through the roof ~ pine tea used to be used during the Civil War to prevent scurvy ~ who knew?
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