Pine Needles 101
Rich in Immune-Supportive Vitamin C
Pine needles were once used to make a tea that fought scurvy because of their vitamin C content. (This was something the Native Americans taught the new settlers.)
They don't have an extremely high amount of vitamin C (as compared to eating an orange, for example) but are still a good herbal source of this immune-supporting vitamin.
Using the needles to make a cup of tea is a great way to give your immune system a gentle boost, especially because the needles also contain shikimic acid, a compound that may have antiviral properties.
Rich in Antioxidants
Like many other herbs and plant foods, pine needles contain antioxidants that help to protect your body from free radical damage, chronic inflammation, and disease.
Studies have found that some of the specific antioxidants in pine needles include proanthocyanidins and catechins. Not only do these antioxidants help lower inflammation, they also have shown potential for fighting cancer cells.
Provides Respiratory Support + Decongesting
Perhaps one of the best health benefits of pine needles is their ability to help relieve congestion and support your respiratory system. They contain compounds that naturally have a decongesting and expectorant effect, which can help clear out excess mucus and ease coughing.
May Boost Your Brain Power
Some new studies indicate that pine extract may be able to boost brain function, particularly by improving memory and protecting your brain from what is often called "cognitive decline."
As the research shows, this is directly connected to the antioxidant content of pine needles. Antioxidants are key to protecting brain cells from damage and can also help reduce low-level inflammation in the brain that causes it to degenerate.
Many people also find that the aromatic nature of pine needle tea improves their mental clarity, which is another reason to try some for yourself!
Soothing for Skin Ailments
Another one of the traditional health benefits of pine needles is an ability to protect and ease skin woes.
The needles are believed to possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. This, combined with their anti-inflammatory nature, makes them a perfect ingredient for a skin-soothing salve or ointment.
In fact, pine was used this way by the Native Americans. It can be used as a general skin healer and also makes a great addition to a balm or oil blend for sore muscles.
Acts as a Diuretic
Diuretics increase urination and can help to get excess fluid out of your body. They also help to flush out your kidneys, encouraging any built-up toxins to exit as well.
Pine needles have diuretic properties and can be made into a tea to support urinary health. Like other herbal diuretics, pine needles contain nutrients that keep your body from getting depleted with the exit of fluid.