Pine needle tea has been prized for thousands of years for its many health benefits. Gerry, our Forest Ranger at the Forest of Dean, is a great fan and he wants to spread the word about this natural remedy.
In the first of a series of posts following our successful #forestforaging event at the Forest of Dean we find out just what pine needle tea can offer.
As part of the event, Gerry led a group of intrepid bloggers on a foraging trip into the woods. The bloggers were shown how to make a fire and then set about making their own pine needle tea over the fire, which was declared “much nicer than I had expected” and even “delicious.”
What’s so good about pine needle tea?
1. Pine needle tea has a pleasant taste and smell (always a good start).
2. It is rich in vitamin C (5 times the concentration of vitamin C found in lemons) and can bring relief to conditions such as heart disease, varicose veins, skin complaints and fatigue
3. Vitamin C is also an immune system booster which means that pine needle tea can help to fight illness and infections.
4. Pine needle tea also contains high levels of Vitamin A, which is good for your eyesight, improves hair and skin regeneration and improves red blood cell production.
5. It can be used as an expectorant for coughs and to help relieve chest congestion; it is also good for sore throats.
6. It brings you clarity and mental clearness.
7. It can help with depression, obesity, allergies and high blood pressure.
8. Pine needles contain antioxidants. These reduce free radicals, which are harmful to humans and can cause disease.
9. Taoist priests drank pine needle tea as they believed it made them live longer. There is researched evidence that pine needle tea can help to slow the ageing process.
10. Pick some pine needles and let them soak in boiling water on your stove and it will add a crisp pine smell all over the house. Perfect for Christmas.
How to make pine needle tea
For our bloggers, the instructions were:
1. Collect pine needles
2. Build a fire (more to come on this in another post)
3. Light it
4. Boil water in a mess tin
5. Add pine needles and let them infuse in the boiling water
6. Sieve and serve
Obviously there’s no need to build a fire (but it was fun). Simply boil a kettle and pour over your pine needles, leave to infuse, then sieve and serve.
Enjoy your tea. Who knows, you might live to be 103 with 20:20 vision, a mind as sharp as a pine needle and no varicose veins. We’ll drink to that!
A word or two of caution: firstly, don’t try pine needle tea if you are pregnant. Secondly, most pine varieties can be used, but steer clear of Yew and Cypress which can sometimes be mistaken for pine. A good rule of thumb is to avoid flat needles. If in doubt, ask a Forest Ranger. Better still, book a cabin in the Forest of Dean and let Gerry teach you everything you need to know.