Pine tea may sound a tad strange but it once was a staple for the indigenous people throughout the U.S. and Canada. This conifer tea (spruce as well) was given to the early explorers by First Nation’s people to cure scurvy. Research has proven that pine needles contain high levels of vitamin C (and other nutrients) that help nourish our health.
Natural Sources of Vitamin C
There is simply no better way to obtain vitamin C than directly from a natural source. Most conventional foods containing vitamin C include: parsley, broccoli, bell pepper, brussel sprouts, cantaloupe, kale, lemons, mustard greens, oranges, papaya, pineapple, red cabbage, strawberries and tomatoes. According to information at WebMD.com here are some of the more common foods and their vitamin C content:
• Cantaloupe, 1/2 cup – 29mg
• Orange juice, 1/2 cup – 48mg
• Broccoli, cooked, 1/2 cup – 37mg
• Red cabbage, 1/2 cup – 40mg
• Red pepper, 1/2 cup – 95mg
• Tomato juice, 1/2 cup – 22mg
Many of us think that we need to eat oranges or drink orange juice in order to get vitamin C from a natural source. Let’s face it, though – unless an orange is picked fresh off the tree, you are not getting that 48mg of vitamin C that you expect to get. As for the vegetables that are allegedly high in vitamin C, it is important to remember that soil conditions will ultimately determine the vitamin levels found in produce. According to the documentary Food Matters, today’s Big Agra is growing produce in (severely) nutrient-depleted soils therefore producing nutrient-depleted vegetables which means many of us have become nutrient-depleted.
Scientific American (Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious?) reported that in the past decade there has been a significant drop in vitamins and minerals in our produce. Add to this the fact that vitamins B2, C and E are very unstable and are easily destroyed during storage periods means that the vitamin C you think you are getting doesn’t even come close to what the experts tell you (unless produce you consume comes directly from a local farm that has rich soil).
Pining for Vitamin C
Many of us are deficient in vitamin C and you could actually say our cells are pining for vitamin C. Pine trees and/or spruce trees grow in many areas across the U.S. and Canada, and one cup of pine needles will nourish your body with a whopping 136mg of vitamin C. In addition, pine needles also contain vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and sodium. Other health-boosting nutrients in this mighty conifer include chlorophyll, polyprenols, physterols and carotenoids making this a potent antioxidant tea.