Pine Needle Tea
Pine needles are rich in Vitamin C. The Vitamin C is readily available to the body when made into a tea, especially when pine bark is included. Pine bark contains flavonoids, which enhance the functions of the Vitamin C. The amount of vitamin C is reported to be five times the amount found in a lemon, which is 83.2 mg. That means a cup of pine needles would yield more than 400 mg per cup of brew. 8 times the Vitamin C as an equivalent amount of orange juice.
Pine needle tea is a centuries-old healing remedy for Native Americans. When European settlers came to the continent and were suffering from scurvy due to lack of vitamin C, the Native Americans introduced them to pine needle tea. Native Americans filled mattresses with pine needles to repel fleas and lice. The tea extracted from pine needles helped keep the early settlers alive through their first winter in America, and is regularly used by natives, hunters, and explorers
The best time to harvest the pine needles is an early spring that is when the needles are nice tender and at their best to make tea. The way I harvest the needles is pick the little bunches of needles at the end of the branch. Strip the needles from the branch and gather them together in your hand so you can cut off the dark ends then cut them into small about half to 3/4 of an inch. I always store the needles in airtight container this keeps nice and fresh. When making at the tea I boil the water to just below boiling point (160F) and pour into my cup. Then all you have to do is to pick one other little bunches and drop into the cup. Leave for 3 to 5 min and then all you have to do strain the needles out and save them for the compost heap. We drink 1 to 2 cups of pine needle tea a week throughout the winter this helps us to keep free from catching colds and flu.