Saturday, February 11, 2012
Healing Herbs: Pine
Did you know you can make tea from the pine trees that are probably in your backyard right now? Neither did I, until my good friend Jeanne Abbot told me about it. Jeanne owns Abbotswood, a lovely shop on Brown Street in Wickford, RI, where she sells teas, herbs, antiques, art by local artists, and lots of other pretty and interesting things. She also knows a heck of a lot about herbs.
I knew that pre-Christian Europeans brought evergreens into their homes in the winter as symbols of eternal life, but what I didn't know is that pine is wonderful for winter health problems such as coughs, colds, sinus congestion, and to improve circulation. It's also loaded with vitamin C, so it helps to build up the immune system. On an emotional level, pine can help with the "winter blahs" and keep you feeling grounded when you are working on psychological or spiritual healing. Jeanne Abbot recommends it for times when you need the courage to move onto the next phase of your life. One caveat, though: pine is better taken as needed and not all the time as the tannins in it can be tough on the kidneys over the long term in high doses.
I thought pine tea would be rather strong and unpleasant, but I tried it anyway because I am your intrepid blogger. It is actually a very light, tasty, drinkable herbal tea.
2 teaspoons pine needles per cup of water
Rinse pine needles under cold running water. Bring water to a boil in saucepan. Add the pine needles and simmer for 20 minutes. Strain out the needles. Add honey to taste if desired.
The Herb Quarterly, Issue 125 Winter 2010
Hageneder, Fred: The Meaning of Trees, Chronicle Books, 2005
Hopman, Ellen Evert, A Druid's Herbal for the Sacred Earth Year, Destiny Books, 1995