The Pinaceae (pine family) include many familiar trees like cedars, firs, hemlocks, larches, pines and spruces. Tree medicine is an often overlooked resource for many health benefits, especially useful during virus season. I live in Michigan and pine trees are plentiful and grow wild within the state. The needles, sap and resin can be used for internal and topical applications.
Pine needles contain Vitamin A and C, along with antioxidants. This is a perfect combination to help ward off many of the virus we encounter during the colder months, or when there is a change of the seasons with fluctuating weather. Researchers from the University of Maine showed that pine needles also contained Shikimic acid, which is effective against the flu. It is easily extracted by boiling the needles in water.
One easy way to start working with tree medicine, and pine in particular, is to make a tea from pine needles. This recipe is one that you can drink daily or as often as you want, that can help your first line of defense against virus exposure. I make a pine tea and sweeten with honey, or better yet, maple syrup, another tree medicine. Combined with a sweetener, the tea has a nice citrusy taste!
Pine Needle Tea