Grandma Was Right Again! – Separation of Shikimic Acid from Pine Needles

Link to this article:

Pine NeedlesHere’s a link to the study.

Shikimic acid is used as a precursor for the synthesis of oseltamivir phosphate (Tamiflu®), which is used as an anti-viral for the H5N1 strain. As concern for this virus increases, demand for medicinal products capable of treating it increases, while shikimic acid resources remain limited. In this study, for the first time shikimic acid is extracted from pine needles using water at relatively low temperature. After the subsequent evaporation, column adsorption/desorption and crystallization processes, shikimic acid crystals with a purity of over 98 % are obtained. A total recovery of approximately 85 % is reached, with the highlights of the method being simplicity, low cost and industrial practicality.

via Separation of Shikimic Acid from Pine Needles – Sui – 2008 – Chemical Engineering & Technology – Wiley Online Library.

So basically, pine needle tea is a better source of shikimic acid than star anise.

K. Sis. Nicole T.N. Lasher

Sheloya (Sis. Nicole) is a licensed U.L.C. Modesto minister, spiritual counselor, sorceress, and king of Ile Baalat Teva. She believes in education and empowerment of individuals with a holistic approach to spirituality. Order a bone reading from Sheloya to find out what the Spirits have to say about your future.


  1. THIS is Brilliant !
    I can’t wait to try it.
    Can we get some best tactics for harvest, production, use of this method?
    Would I be damaging it if I boiled it for tea instead of the “relatively low temperature” method?

    • Hey Nathan,

      Liked your question and thought I’d seen a study recently on it. Turns out, I did! So…

      If you chose to boil it, a study ( suggests that the proanthocyanidins and catachins which shikimic acid turns into (though no mention about the shikimic acid itself, to be clear) survives hot water up to at least 80 degrees CELCIUS.

      So boiling water should be fine for shikimic acid. You will however likely lose some Vit C and perhaps other ‘heat sensitives’.

      I bring my pot to boil, then cool a minute below that, then add to the needles for a 10 minute or so infusion (aka tea).

      Stay solid Nathan, and I good luck to us herbalist students both 🙂

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