4 Amazing Pine Needle Benefits – What are Pine Needles Good For?

4 Amazing Pine Needle Benefits – What are Pine Needles Good For?

Pine needles have been used throughout history for their numerous health-supporting benefits, thanks to their rich nutritional profile and powerful bioactive compounds.

From promoting healthy respiratory function to supporting a strong immune system, pine needles offer a natural and effective way to enhance overall well-being.

In this article, we will break down the main pine needle benefits to help you understand how its unique compounds can support your health in a variety of ways. We’ll also highlight the different ways you can incorporate pine needles into your health routine—from making pine needle tea to taking more convenient and potent Pine Needle Extract tinctures.

Read on to learn about maximizing the benefits of pine needles.

Understanding Pine Needles Nutrition

As the name suggests, pine needles are the long, slender leaves of pine trees. There are over 100 species of pine trees worldwide, many of which have health-supporting properties.

Pine needles have been used for centuries by indigenous communities to support respiratory, immune, cardiovascular, and neurological health. Rich in nutrients and bioactive compounds, pine needles offer a natural way to support overall health and well-being.

The specific pine species, age of the needles, time of harvest, and processing method all affect the nutritional content and phytochemical profile of the pine needles.

At Ascent Nutrition, we’re dedicated to helping you enjoy the maximal pine needle benefits. We achieve this by offering a potent Pine Needle Extract sourced from hand-harvested Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus) needles in the beautiful Canadian forests. And rather than using alcohol as a preservative, we use an organic vegetable glycerin to help store pine needles’ nutritional profile while giving the extract a sweet taste.

Pine Needles Nutrition – Bioactive Compounds

At the core of pine needles' health benefits lies their rich nutritional profile. Pine needles are packed with essential vitamins (including vitamins A and C), minerals, and potent bioactive compounds such as shikimic acid, various other plant acids, aromatic compounds (essential oils), proanthocyanidins, free radical scavengers, and flavonoid glycosides [1] [2] [3].

The diverse pine needle nutritional profile supplies a multitude of compounds that work together to produce broad-spectrum health-supportive benefits throughout the body. Some of the key compounds found in pine needles include:


Shikimic Acid:

Shikimic acid is a unique phytochemical found abundantly in pine needles that serves as a precursor for many important compounds [4]. Many pine needle pollen health benefits are linked to this compound.

Shikimic acid facilitates the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids like phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan. These amino acids serve as precursors for key metabolites.

For example, tyrosine is needed for the formation of L-DOPA, norepinephrine, and epinephrine, while tryptophan is converted to serotonin and melatonin. Shikimic acid’s role as a molecular building block for these essential metabolites makes it valuable for supporting lung health, immune system health, brain health, respiratory function, and overall wellness.


Vitamin A:

Pine needle tea or extract is rich in Vitamin A, which may promote eye health, support a healthy immune system, encourage healthy-looking skin, support bone health, and support a healthy reproductive system in both men and women [5].

The wide-ranging benefits of this versatile vitamin make it an important nutrient obtained from pine needles.


Vitamin C:

One of the most important compounds in pPine nNeedle’s nNutrition profile is Vitamin C (ascorbic acid). It’s believed that pine needles contain 5X the concentration of Vitamin C found in lemons.

Vitamin C is a free radical scavenger with several health-supporting benefits for a healthy immune system, cardiovascular system, brain function, and respiratory function.

The multifaceted health benefits of vitamin C make it a critical pine needle nutrient.



Alpha-terpineol is a monoterpenoid compound found in pine essential oils that has been shown to have free radical scavenging properties. It also supports a healthy inflammatory response and promotes healthy respiratory function.

Through these mechanisms, alpha-terpineol provides multi-faceted support to help maintain a healthy environment within the body.


β-Pinene and α-Pinene:

Beta-pinene and alpha-pinene are monoterpene compounds that are abundant in pine trees.

As powerful free radical scavengers, these pinene molecules support the body’s natural ability to combat oxidative damage from free radicals and reactive oxygen species. This helps support healthy inflammatory processes, as oxidative stress can trigger unwanted inflammatory signaling cascades.

Additionally, research shows that beta-pinene and alpha-pinene may help promote healthy respiratory function, support brain health, and support a healthy immune system through several mechanisms [6].


Other bioactive compounds linked to pine needle benefits include β-Phellandrene, D-Limonene, Germacrene D, 3-Carene, Flavonoid Glycosides, and Caryophyllene.

What is Pine Needle Tea?

Pine needle tea is a traditional and popular way to consume pine needles, which can be found in many cultures worldwide.

This tea is made by steeping pine needles in hot water, allowing the bioactive compounds to be extracted and consumed in a flavorful and aromatic beverage.

Some of the most nutrient-rich pine needle teas are made from the needles of pine species like eastern white pine, Korean pine, and Scotch pine.

Historically, white pine needle tea has been consumed for purposes like supporting respiratory, cardiovascular, and brain health. In recent years, modern research has begun to validate some of the traditional benefits of pine needle tea.

This is why our Pine Needle Extract is so convenient and easy for people to use, since a person doesn’t need to make the tea, but rather, can get a rich extract of the pine needle tea in an extracted and sweet tasting form.

Pine Needle Benefits

What are pine needles good for? Pine needle extracts offer a variety of health benefits, thanks to their unique combination of bioactive compounds and nutrients.

In this section, we will explore the potential benefits of pine needle consumption, focusing on its ability to promote respiratory function, support the immune system, assist brain and nervous system health, support healthy detoxification processes, and act as free radical scavengers.

Here are 4 amazing pine needle health benefits:

1. Supports A Healthy Detoxification Process

Incorporating pine needles into your daily routine can provide a natural way to support your body's natural detoxification process.

Pine needles contain various biologically active compounds that may support the body's natural detoxification processes.

One especially important compound found in certain pine species is shikimic acid. This unique phytochemical plays a key role in plants and microbes by facilitating the biosynthesis of aromatic amino acids like phenylalanine, tyrosine, and tryptophan, which serve as building blocks for proteins, hormones, neurotransmitters, and other essential molecules in the body.

Although humans don't produce shikimic acid, the trillions of gut microbes that work synergistically within our bodies do utilize the Shikimic Acid Pathway.

Supporting our microbial shikimic acid pathway may be beneficial in modern times when exposure to environmental compounds is prevalent.

One such compound is the broad-spectrum herbicide and plant growth regulator glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup), which targets the shikimic acid pathway – a process used by gut microflora that is disrupted by the herbicide [7].

According to a 2020 study published in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, over half of human gut microbes are sensitive to glyphosate, which can negatively impact the microbiome’s diversity and health [7].

However, shikimic acid from pine needle extract may support the healthy function and integrity of the Shikimic Acid Pathway relied upon by these beneficial bacteria.

In this way, the shikimic acid in pine needles uniquely promotes the healthy balance of gut microbes and supports the body’s natural detoxification process in the face of environmental disruptors, such as the use of glyphosate.

Additionally, shikimic acid and other bioactive compounds in pine needles have free radical scavenging properties, which aid the body’s endogenous defenses against free radical damage induced by toxins [8]. This supports healthy tissue function during detoxification.

Through these mechanisms, pine needles assist the body's innate capacity to process and eliminate toxins and metabolic byproducts, supporting the ongoing detoxification necessary for optimal health.

2. Promotes Healthy Respiratory Function

Pine needle tea and extract have traditionally been used to support respiratory health. Modern research shows bioactive compounds in pine needles help maintain healthy bronchial airway function through several mechanisms.

The naturally occurring shikimic acid found in pine needles has been shown to support lung health and overall respiratory function.

Additionally, compounds such as β-Pinene, α-Pinene, and α-Terpineol can help support a healthy inflammatory response, which can promote respiratory health.

3. Pine Needle Benefits for Brain and Nervous System Health

Pine needles are a rich source of bioactive compounds and essential nutrients such as shikimic acid, flavonoid glycosides, and essential oils, which have been studied for their potential role in promoting neurological health.

Pine needles contain powerful free radical scavengers that can support the body’s natural ability to protect the brain from oxidative stress.

Compounds like shikimic acid also serve as precursors for metabolites that support nervous system function. The compound has also been shown to help support the health and integrity of myelin sheaths [9]. Myelin sheaths are protective coverings that surround nerve fibers and axons, acting as electrical insulation for optimal signal transmission across neurons.

Incorporating a high-quality pine needle extract into your health routine may promote brain and nervous system health.

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4. Supports A Healthy Immune System

Pine needles are packed with essential nutrients that play a crucial role in supporting a healthy immune system.

One of the key nutrients in pine needles is vitamin C, a powerful free radical scavenger that promotes immune health by supporting the body’s natural ability to protect itself from damage caused by free radicals and promoting the healthy production of immune cells. In addition, vitamin C has been shown to enhance the body's natural ability to fight off unwanted organisms and compounds, especially in the respiratory system.

Other nutrients found in pine needles, such as vitamin A, also support a healthy immune system.

Vitamin A promotes healthy mucous membranes in the lungs, gut, and eyes, which act as barriers to aid the body’s natural defense against unwanted organisms and compounds [10]. Vitamin A also supports the healthy production and function of immune cells.

By assisting healthy immune cell function, pine needles support the body’s natural ability to mount a proper immune response when needed.

How to Incorporate Pine Needles into Your Health Routine

Incorporating pine needles into your daily routine can offer various health-supportive benefits, thanks to their rich nutritional content and bioactive compounds.

One popular way to enjoy pine needle benefits is by drinking pine needle tea, which is made by steeping pine needles in hot water. This tea can be a source of free radical scavengers, essential oils, vitamins, and beneficial plant acids that help support overall health.

A more convenient and effective option is to take a pine needle extract, which offers a concentrated source of the beneficial compounds found in pine needles. And unlike pine needle tea, pine needle extract does not need to be prepared in any way.

Pine needle extract, such as Ascent Nutrition's Pine Needle Extract, provides a concentrated source of pine needle benefits in a convenient form. You simply take a dropper-full (about 1 mL) each day.

The tincture is made using Eastern White Pines (Pinus strobus) that are sustainably wild-harvested from remote Canadian forests to give you a clean and pure product as nature intended.

The pine needle is extracted into organic vegetable glycerin, without the use of alcohol or synthetic chemicals. This gives it a flavorful taste profile to complement its potent health-supporting benefits.

Visit the product page to learn more about Ascent Nutrition's Pine Needle Extract and how it can be a wise addition to your health routine.


  1. Karapandzova, M., Stefkov, G., Cvetkovikj, I., Stanoeva, J. P., Stefova, M., & Kulevanova, S. (2015). Flavonoids and other phenolic compounds in needles of Pinus peuce and other pine species from the Macedonian flora. Natural product communications, 10(6), 1934578X1501000647: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1934578X1501000647

  2. Bonikowski, R., Celiński, K., Wojnicka-Półtorak, A., & Maliński, T. (2015). Composition of essential oils isolated from the needles of Pinus uncinata and P. uliginosa grown in Poland. Natural Product Communications, 10(2), 1934578X1501000243: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1934578X1501000243

  3. Zeng, W. C., Zhang, Z., Gao, H., Jia, L. R., & He, Q. (2012). Chemical composition, antioxidant, and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from pine needle (Cedrus deodara). Journal of food science, 77(7), C824-C829: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22757704/

  4. Singh, P., Gupta, E., Mishra, N., & Mishra, P. (2020). Shikimic acid as intermediary model for the production of drugs effective against influenza virus. In Phytochemicals as Lead compounds for new drug discovery (pp. 245-256). Elsevier: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7153330/

  5. National Institutes of Health – Office of Dietary Supplements: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/

  6. Salehi, B., Upadhyay, S., Erdogan Orhan, I., Kumar Jugran, A., LD Jayaweera, S., A. Dias, D., ... & Sharifi-Rad, J. (2019). Therapeutic potential of α-and β-pinene: A miracle gift of nature. Biomolecules, 9(11), 738: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6920849/

  7. Leino, L., Tall, T., Helander, M., Saloniemi, I., Saikkonen, K., Ruuskanen, S., & Puigbo, P. (2021). Classification of the glyphosate target enzyme (5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase) for assessing sensitivity of organisms to the herbicide. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 408, 124556: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0304389420325462?via%3Dihub

  8. Koutsaviti, A., Toutoungy, S., Saliba, R., Loupassaki, S., Tzakou, O., Roussis, V., & Ioannou, E. (2021). Antioxidant potential of pine needles: a systematic study on the essential oils and extracts of 46 species of the genus Pinus. Foods, 10(1), 142: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7827367/

  9. Lu, F., Yin, D., Pu, Y., Liu, W., Li, Z., Shao, Q., ... & Cao, L. (2019). Shikimic acid promotes oligodendrocyte precursor cell differentiation and accelerates remyelination in mice. Neuroscience Bulletin, 35, 434-446: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6527532/

  10. Huang, Z., Liu, Y., Qi, G., Brand, D., & Zheng, S. G. (2018). Role of vitamin A in the immune system. Journal of clinical medicine, 7(9), 258: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6162863/ 

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