The cold and flu season is in full swing, as expected. I have been fortunate enough not to have come down with either this year, but I would like to share a natural remedy with you that has been passed down to me. I remember as a child, on a windy and cold winter night, my dad bent over a steaming pot of water on our gas stove with a dish towel over his head. A deep cough shook his tall frame as he breathed deeply of the vapor in an attempt to clear his congestion. With the effects being mediocre, he traipsed out into the dark woods and came back with a handful of green pine needles and threw them into the boiling water on the stove. “Pine needle tea, thats what I need!” He said. Pine needle tea has been used for generations before us, but is seldom heard of today. It contains five times the vitamin C of a glass of orange juice and acts as a decongestant and an expectorant. Take care to use the needles of trees that haven’t been sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, like those near a roadway. Avoid the Common Yew and Norfolk Island Pine, as these are poisonous to humans and animals. Gather the youngest, lightest green needles that you can, at least a cup or two. Chop up roughly and toss into a small pot of boiling water. Turn off the heat and let it steep for 15-20 minutes before straining and drinking. Adding a teaspoon or two of honey will improve the flavor and soothe the throat. Here’s to your health!