Pine needle tea is a well known beverage to the outdoorsy world. It's easy to make, available almost anywhere on the planet, and you can use virtually any evergreen to make the tea (hemlock, spruce, fir, etc). Although it's well known for the vitamin C that it provides (a sure way to strengthen the immune system), I believe that the full benefits of this fine hot drink are still unknown to most. I thought I might as well sit down and share some other benefits, as well as discuss why it's such a valuable tea to the woodsman.
Benefits of Pine Needle Tea
Physical Health Benefits
Begin by gathering a hand full of needles. Some people like to cut the needles open to expose the insides and draw out more of the oils. I haven't ever found this to be necessary, but it probably helps. Pour water into the pot with the needles. The great bushcraft instructor Mors Kochanski recommends drinking 5-7 cups of this tea every morning (or hot water if no needles are available) as hot as you can tolerate. The hot liquid helps with digestion, bowel movements, blood circulation, hydration, and overall health. When I'm in the deep woods (including my time spent on HISTORY's ALONE) I take Mors's advice and drink a pot of tea every morning.
Emotional Health Benefits
Boil the needles until the oils have been released. A good indication of this is when the green needles turn light brown or bronze. You can also see the oil forming on top of the water if you look closely. These oils have so many health benefits that they are being bottled and sold by health stores. Balsam oil in particular is known for its use in aromatherapy because of its soothing capabilities. The oil is supposed to create a healthy sense of well being, and sooth aches and pains, which will be inevitable while living in the backcountry long-term. In laymans terms, it makes you "feel good".
I suppose my motivations for writing this article are simple. I want more people to employ the benefits of this tea. I want people to enjoy the wilderness, and a pot of pine needle tea in the morning is a great way to do just that.
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About The Author
Sam is a writer, adventurer, and founder of Woodsong. In 2011 his practical experiences over many nights in remote wilderness areas inspired him to start this blog! Sam’s adventures have lead him throughout North America where he has had the opportunity to learn from world-class outdoorsmen, and perhaps the greatest teacher of all, the natural world.