Pine Needles: Amazing Source of Essential Oils And More! | More Articles Here is a treasure trove of knowledge for those interested in natural healing and herbal remedies. The website is run by Paul Johnston MD. A naturopathic who has not only received extensive education in the field but also has personal experience in self-healing.

Pine needles are a common sight in many regions of the world, especially in areas with evergreen forests. These needles are the leaves of pine trees, which are a type of coniferous tree that belongs to the Pinaceae family.

The needles are typically long, thin, and pointed, and they grow in clusters on the branches of the tree.

Sunlight filters through the dense pine forest, illuminating the ground covered in a thick layer of pine needles. The needles create a soft bed of earthy tones, creating a peaceful and serene scene

Pine needles are known for their unique properties and have been used for various purposes throughout history.

For example, Native Americans used pine needles to make tea, which was believed to have medicinal properties. In addition, pine needles have been used as a natural source of Vitamin C, as well as a flavoring agent in foods and beverages.

Botanical Characteristics

Pine Trees and Their Needles

Pine trees are evergreens that belong to the Pinaceae family, which includes several pine varieties such as the ponderosa pine, white pine, and eastern white pine.

Pine needles are the primary foliage used for photosynthesis and are unique in their appearance, ranging from an inch or so to more than a foot long. They perform the functions of any plant leaf, and their color, length, and texture can vary depending on the species.

The needles of pine trees are thin and flexible, and they grow in bundles or fascicles. The number of needles in a fascicle can vary from one to five, depending on the species.

For example, the eastern white pine has five needles per fascicle, while the ponderosa pine has three needles per fascicle. The needles of the yew tree, in contrast, are flat and grow in a spiral pattern.

Identifying Pine Species

Identifying different pine species can be challenging, but it is possible to do so by examining their needles.

For example, the needles of the spruce tree are sharp and square, while the needles of the hemlock are flat and have two white stripes on the underside. The needles of the yew tree are poisonous and should not be consumed.

To identify a pine tree, you need to look at the number of needles per fascicle, the length of the needles, and the color of the needles.

For example, the needles of the eastern white pine are long, slender, and bluish-green. The needles of the ponderosa pine, in contrast, are long, stiff, and yellow-green.

Pinus Maritima

History: Jacques Cartier, in his book, “Voyages to Canada” (1534-5), credited a herbal tea made from the needles and bark of the Anneda Tree, a Canadian pine tree, with saving the lives of his crew when they were stranded by ice on the St. Lawrence River. Of his 110-man crew, 25 were dead, 50 were seriously ill and the remainder of the crew were too weak to even bury the dead.

All looked lost until they were rescued by friendly Quebec Indians who were experts on the medicinal properties of the local plants. The Indians told the Frenchmen how to brew tea from the bark and needles of pine trees growing in the area. They tried the tea on two of the sickest crewmembers. They improved so quickly that Cartier gave the tea to all the surviving members of his crew. All the crewmembers recovered from the dreaded scurvy due to this tea.

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Four hundred years later, Professor Jacques Masquelier, doing research on pine bark, grape skins, and several nutshells looked into the records of Cartier’s experience. The professor found that the Maritime Pine contained the richest available supply of assorted bioflavonoids. This blend was called Proanthocyanidins, which he later patented under the name Pycnogenol. The pine needles contain Vitamin C and the pine bark flavonoids, which enhance the vital functions of the Vitamin C. This is the very combination of the tea the Indians taught Cartier and his men that supplies the nutrients lacking in a diet low in fresh fruits and vegetables, which can result in scurvy.

Culinary Uses

Pine needles being chopped and added to a pot of boiling water, releasing a fragrant aroma

As a foraging enthusiast, I love discovering new ways to use edible plants in the kitchen. Pine needles are a great example of an underutilized ingredient that can add unique flavor and nutrition to a variety of dishes.

In this section, I’ll share some of my favorite culinary uses for pine needles.

Cooking with Pine Needles

Pine needles can be used in a similar way to other herbs, such as rosemary or thyme. They add a distinctive piney flavor to savory dishes like roasted meats, stews, and soups.

To use pine needles in cooking, simply chop them finely and sprinkle them into your dish. Alternatively, you can infuse oil with pine needles and use it to flavor your cooking.

One fun way to use pine needles in baking is to make pine needle cookies. Simply mix chopped pine needles into your favorite cookie recipe for a unique twist on a classic treat.

Pine needles can also be used to flavor honey, which can be drizzled over toast or used as a sweetener in tea.

Beverages from Pine

Pine needles are also a popular ingredient in herbal teas. Pine needle tea is high in vitamin C and has a refreshing, citrusy flavor.

To make pine needle tea, simply steep a handful of needles in hot water for a few minutes. You can also add other herbs like mint or lemon balm for a more complex flavor.

Another popular pine-based beverage is pine syrup.

To make pine syrup, combine sugar and pine needles in a pan with water and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Strain the mixture and store the syrup in the fridge for up to ten days.

Pine syrup can be used to sweeten cocktails, drizzled over pancakes, or used as a glaze for roasted meats.

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Free radicals are toxic by-products of the body’s natural metabolic processes that cause oxidative damage to cells and tissues. In addition, environmental factors such as alcohol, cigarette smoke, air and water pollutants. Pesticides, fried foods, refined foods, and their preservatives. Household cleaners, radiation, anesthetics, physical and emotional stress. Coffee, microwave ovens, electromagnetic fields, power lines, etc., add to this burden.

The bioflavonoids in pycnogenol have the ability to provide the substance of life that will help rebuild the system by supplying the anti-oxidants that reduce free radical scavengers that cause oxidative damage to cells mentioned above. Pycnogenol’s ability to stop this free radical damage not only helps the internal body maintain its youth but it is considered an oral cosmetic for what it can do to maintain youthful skin.

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Pycnogenol inhibits the natural enzymes of the body. All cells in the human body are glued together with collagen. By restoring collagen, Pycnogenol helps return flexibility to skin, joints, arteries, capillaries, and other tissues. Pycnogenol strengthens the entire arterial system and improves circulation. It reduces capillary fragility and develops skin smoothness and elasticity.

Pycnogenol has been used successfully for diabetic retinopathy, varicose veins, and hemorrhoids. It is one of the few dietary antioxidants that readily crosses the blood-brain barrier to directly protect brain cells and aid memory.

Health and Wellness

Lush green pine needles cover the forest floor, emitting a fresh, invigorating scent. Sunlight filters through the trees, casting dappled shadows

Medicinal Properties

Pine needles have been used for centuries for their medicinal properties. They are rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, antioxidants, and flavonoids.

Pine needles are also an excellent source of vitamin C, which is essential for preventing scurvy.

The antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties of pine needles make them a popular natural remedy for a variety of health issues.

Pine needle tea is a natural decongestant and expectorant, making it an effective treatment for coughs and other respiratory ailments.

Home Remedies

One of the most popular home remedies using pine needles is a pine needle salve.

This salve is made by steeping pine needles in oil and then adding beeswax to create a thick, healing balm. Pine needle salve is commonly used to treat minor cuts, burns, and insect bites.

Another popular home remedy using pine needles is a foot soak.

Simply steep a handful of pine needles in hot water and soak your feet for 20-30 minutes. The anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties of pine needles make this foot soak an effective treatment for foot pain and fungal infections.

Practical Applications

Sunlight filters through pine branches, illuminating a carpet of fallen needles. A small animal scurries among the trees, while a gentle breeze rustles the foliage

As I’ve discussed earlier, pine needles have a variety of uses beyond just being forest floor debris. Here, I’ll discuss some practical applications of pine needles in gardening and household use.

Pine Needles in Gardening

Pine needles can be used as a mulch for plants that prefer acidic soil, such as blueberries, azaleas, and rhododendrons.

Pine needle mulch is also great for suppressing weed growth and retaining moisture in the soil. Pine needles are also a great addition to compost piles, as they’re rich in nitrogen and will help speed up the decomposition process.

Pine Needles for Household Use

Pine needles can be used to make pine-infused vinegar, which can be used as a household cleaner.

Simply steep pine needles in vinegar for a few weeks, strain, and use as a natural, pine-scented cleaner.

Pine needles can also be used in potpourri, giving off a fresh, woodsy scent.

In addition, pine needles can be used to make a pine-scented household cleaner.

Simply mix pine needle vinegar with castile soap for a natural, eco-friendly cleaner. Pine needles can also be used as a natural air freshener by boiling them in water and allowing the steam to fill your home with a fresh pine scent.

Crafts and Outdoor Skills

Pine needles woven into a basket, surrounded by outdoor tools and crafts materials

Traditional and Decorative Crafts

Pine needles have been used for centuries in traditional crafts such as basketry, weaving, and embroidery.

They are especially popular in Native American crafts, where they are used to make beautiful and intricate baskets. Today, pine needle baskets are still popular and are often used for decorative purposes, such as centerpieces or wall hangings.

Another popular craft that uses pine needles is making pine cone fire starters.

These are simple to make and are great for starting fires in fireplaces, wood stoves, or campfires. To make them, simply dip pine cones in melted wax, let them dry, and then store them in a dry place until you need them.

Survival and Outdoor Uses

Pine needles can also be used for a variety of survival and outdoor purposes.

One of the most well-known uses is as a firestarter. Pine needles are highly flammable and can be used to start fires even in wet conditions. Simply gather a handful of dry needles and use them as kindling to start your fire.

In addition to firestarting, pine needles can also be used to make a shelter.

They can be used to create a thatched roof for a shelter, or they can be used to insulate a shelter by stuffing them between layers of leaves or other materials.

Pine needles can also be used to make a tincture or tea. Pine needle tea is high in vitamin C and has been used for centuries to treat colds and other respiratory ailments. To make pine needle tea, simply steep a handful of pine needles in hot water for a few minutes.

Finally, pine needles can be used as a natural herbicide.

They contain compounds that can help to prevent erosion and keep weeds at bay. Simply spread a layer of pine needles over the soil in your garden or around the base of your plants to help keep them healthy and weed-free.

Environmental Considerations

Sunlight filters through a dense pine forest, illuminating the forest floor covered in a thick layer of pine needles. Fallen branches and cones litter the ground, creating a natural and serene environment

Impact on Ecosystems

As a conscientious forager, I always consider the impact of my actions on the local ecosystem.

Pine trees play an important role in many ecosystems, providing habitat for a variety of wildlife, including birds, squirrels, and rodents such as moles and voles.

When foraging for pine needles, I make sure to avoid damaging the tree or its surroundings. I also avoid harvesting needles from trees that are diseased, stressed, or showing signs of pest infestation.

Another important consideration is the impact of pine needles on the soil and other plants in the area.

Pine needles are acidic and can affect the pH of the soil. While this can be beneficial for some plants, it may be detrimental to others. Pine pollen can also be a source of irritation for those with allergies or respiratory issues, as it can cause mucus buildup.

Sustainable Harvesting

When foraging for pine needles, I always make sure to practice sustainable harvesting techniques. This means only harvesting what I need and leaving plenty of needles for the tree to continue growing and thriving.

I also avoid using pesticides or other toxins that could harm the tree or other wildlife in the area.

Pine needles can also be used for composting, which can help improve soil quality. However, it’s important to note that pine needles can take longer to decompose than other materials, so it’s best to mix them with other organic matter to speed up the process.

Linking Pine Needles to

Pine Needles are a natural wonder with a host of health benefits, and at, we’re all about exploring these benefits! Here’s how our website and this subject harmonize:

  1. Pine Needle Prose: We provide comprehensive information about pine needles, their medicinal properties, and their uses in herbal medicine.
  2. Herbal Highlights: Our site offers insights into how pine needles can be incorporated into your herbal regimen.
  3. Culinary Creations: We share delicious recipes that showcase the versatility of pine needles in cooking.
  4. Health and Wellness: Our focus is on promoting overall health and wellness, and pine needles play a crucial role in this.
  5. Community Connection: Connect with others who are passionate about pine needles and share your experiences.

So, whether you’re a pine needle enthusiast or just starting your herbal journey, is your trusted guide. Remember, stay curious and stay healthy!


Allergies, Arthritis, Atherosclerosis, Brain Dysfunction, Cancer, Circulatory problems, Edema, Diabetic Retinopathy, Hay fever, Heart Disease, Memory, Osteoarthritis, Skin Eruptions, Sports Injuries, Stress, Varicose Veins, Viruses.


Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., Lotus Press, 1988
Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, by James A. Duke, Pub. CRP Second Edition 2007
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley

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Frequently Asked Questions – Pine Needles

Pine needles scattered on forest floor, with sunlight filtering through the trees, creating dappled shadows

How can pine needles be used in landscaping?

Pine needles are commonly used as a natural and decorative mulch in landscaping. They can be spread around trees, shrubs, and flower beds to help retain moisture, suppress weeds, and regulate soil temperature.

They also add an earthy scent to the landscape and create a natural look.

What are the environmental benefits of using pine needles?

Using pine needles as mulch is an eco-friendly option as they are a renewable resource and do not require any processing. They also decompose slowly, which means they do not need to be replaced as frequently as other mulching materials.

Additionally, pine needles are acidic, which can benefit plants that prefer acidic soil.

Are there any risks associated with using pine needles in gardening?

While pine needles are generally safe to use as mulch, there are some precautions that should be taken.

Pine needles can be flammable, so it is important to keep them away from open flames and to avoid using them near structures that could catch fire.

Pine needles can also be slippery when wet, so it is important to use caution when walking on them.

How do pine needles compare to other mulching materials?

Pine needles have several advantages over other mulching materials. They are lightweight, which makes them easy to transport and spread.

They also do not compact easily, which means they allow for good air and water circulation in the soil.

Additionally, pine needles can be used to create a natural and rustic look in the landscape.

What should be considered when purchasing pine needles for craft projects?

When purchasing pine needles for craft projects, it is important to consider the quality of the needles. Look for needles that are straight and free of debris.

It is also important to consider the length of the needles, as shorter needles are easier to work with. Finally, consider the color of the needles, as some varieties may have a reddish or yellowish tint.

How does the acidity of pine needles affect soil composition?

Pine needles are acidic, which means they can lower the pH of the soil over time.

This can be beneficial for plants that prefer acidic soil, such as blueberries and azaleas.

However, it is important to monitor the pH of the soil regularly and to adjust it as needed to ensure that it remains within the optimal range for the plants being grown.

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