Sassafras Sassafras albidum

Sassafras albidum
sassafras root bark
  • Common Names
  • Sassafras root , Sassafrass, Saloop, ague tree, root beer tree,
  • Botanical Name
  • Sassafras albidum
  • Family

Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Sassafras Root

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How to Use: Sassafras

A cup of sassafras root tea has been a traditional spring tonic in the South for hundreds of years. A pot of sassafras simmering on the back burner was a part of the home medicine for the early American colonists, who learned of it's use from the Iroquois and Seneca tribes. Sassafras tea was considered to be a blood purifier and the essential oil was used in liniments. Sassafras was exported from the colonies to Europe where it caused quite a stir.3 Sassafras combined with prickly ash, cayenne and camphor was made into liniments for rheumatism. 1,2

Sassafras is sometimes combined with sarsaparilla in herbal formulas to address prostate problems in men, however this use is based on folklore and has not as yet been supported by modern research.

In the bayous of Louisiana, filÉ powder. is made from dried and ground sassafras leaf. It is used as a seasoning and primarily thickening agent in gumbo, and has a wonderfully pungent and aromatic flavor..3

Preparation Methods & Dosage :Almost always found as a beverage or tea. The essential oil is more difficult to find and use and is often adulterated with camphor.

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Sassafras Remedies

Sassafras Side Effects:

Not for use in pregnancy. Do not experiment with sassafras if you are not knowledgeable about herbs. Not for long term use.

Animal studies in the 1970's showed that safrole caused permanent damage to liver tissue, leading to it's ban in food products by the FDA. Safrole is a precursor for the clandestine manufacture of the drug MDMA (ecstasy), and as such, its transport is monitored internationally. 1

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Plant Description

  • Flowers and Fruit:Tiny yellow flowers, blue-black fruits
  • Plant Class:Tree, up to 100 ft
  • Leaves: Young leaves are mitten shaped, with 2 thumbs, mature leaves grow more rounded,The young leaves and twigs are quite mucilaginous, and produce a citrus-like scent when crushed.
  • Bark: Thick, red brown bark, deeply furrowed
  • Preferred Habitat:Generally found on hills and ridges, mountainous areas
  • Flowering Season:Late Summer
  • Distribution:Eastern coast of North America, from Canada to Florida

Regional Traditions :North America *

Related Species Sassafras tzumu Chinese Sassafras or Tzumu.