Lung Support Tea Infusions | By Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz

Last Updated: October 28, 2021By

The ability to breathe is something we often take for granted.

Often, it’s not until we are experiencing a cold or are working through an asthma attack that we are reminded how precious it is to take in a long, deep breath. Our lungs’ purpose is to filter out contaminants from the air and bring in life-giving oxygen so that we may live. In exchange, we exhale carbon dioxide to be used by our plant relatives, working together symbiotically.

Since our lungs work as filters, they are very susceptible to infections. We can support them during times of respiratory despair with the help of herbal lung-openers. One of my favorite go-to herbs for lung support is the needles from the piñon pine tree, a high-desert evergreen that is native to Arizona and New Mexico. My family has used piñon pine for food, healing, and in spiritual practices as it’s known for its vibrational properties.

These aromatic teas are antimicrobial, soothing and wonderful for chest congestion. When the piñon releases its balsam-like scent, it reminds me of summers when I visit relatives near Taos and Santa Fe, the tierra adentro, the far land.


Makes about 2 cups

  • Handful fresh green pine needles, rinsed
  • 2 cups water
  • Natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)

Mince the pine needles using a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors. Set aside. Bring the water to boil in a small saucepan or teakettle. Place about 2 tablespoons of the minced needles in a tea infuser, tea bag, or French press. Pour the boiling water over the needles and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, add your sweetener of choice to taste, and enjoy!


Makes 2 cups of the herbal blend

You can easily adapt the yield of this recipe to suit your needs by measuring equal amounts of each herb.

For the blend:

  • ¼ cup fresh green pine needles, rinsed and minced
  • ¼ cup dried bee balm
  • ¼ cup dried yerba santa
  • ¼ cup dried spearmint
  • 8-ounce glass jar

For the tea:

  • Natural sweetener (honey or maple syrup)

Mince the needles using a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen scissors. Add all the herbs to a small bowl and mix to combine. Put the blend in the glass jar and label. To make the tea, use 1 tablespoon of the blend per each cup (about 8 ounces) of water. Bring the water to a boil in a small saucepan or teakettle. Place your desired amount of the herbal mixture in a tea infuser, tea bag, or French press. Pour boiling water over the herbs and infuse for 15 minutes. Strain, add your sweetener of choice to taste, and enjoy.

Recipes from Earth Medicines by Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz (Roost Books)

Photo by Nicky Hedayatzadeh

Felicia Cocotzin Ruiz, a respected Curandera (Mexican traditional healer) and medicine maker, draws on the power of Water, Air, Earth, and Fire, for her recipes and rituals reminding us that the elements are the origins of everything and can heal not only our body but our mind and spirit as well. In her first book, Earth Medicines: Ancestral Wisdom, Healing Recipes, and Wellness Rituals from a Curandera, she shares her expertise, time-honored natural remedies, and life-balancing regimens in a movement to reclaim the kitchen healer approach to health and wellness with Indigenous wisdom and whole food cooking.

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