On Harvesting Sassafras Bark For Tea
When and how do I harvest bark from my Sassafras tree to make tea?
I would suggest proceeding with extreme caution, and talking to your physician before endeavoring to make sassafras tea. According to Medical Botany: Plants Affecting Human Health by Walter Lewis , the active component in Sassafras albidum, safrole, is no longer generally regarded as safe. It is toxic to the liver and can cause cancer. There is information on sassafras here from the Natural Medicine Database. A now-unavailable article on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration website included this description of sassafras as a tea ingredient:Aromatic sassafras tea, once popular as a stimulant and blood thinner and as a reputed cure for rheumatism and syphilis, causes cancer in rats when taken in large amounts. Oil of sassafras and safrole, major chemical components of the aromatic oil in sassafras root bark, were taken out of root beer more than 30 years ago. And sassafras bark was banned from use in all food. Safrole-free extract, however, is allowed in food.
You are welcome to come in to the Miller Library and explore our resources on medicinal plants and herbs, but I would not advise you to follow any recipes you might find there.
Contraindications And Other Precautions
Sassafras tea is contraindicated during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding, as it reduces the volume of breast milk.
In high doses, the plant can have a narcotic effect, and its small, white berries should not be eaten. Because it thins the blood , sassafras should be used in small amounts, as very thin blood can cause bleeding.
Remember that every herb should be used with caution and under medical advice, as its toxicity may be unknown.
What Is Sassafras Good For
There are so many things sassafras has been used for throughout history and not just for culinary or medicinal purposes. The wood from the tree has been used to build furniture and ships in Europe, China and the U.S. Even the twigs were used as toothbrushes.
Sassafras root tea is a popular beverage made from this plant and the ground leaves are used in Creole cuisine, as well as a thickening and flavoring agent in gumbo. Perfumes and soaps were once made with sassafras for its aromatic qualities.
Commercially produced root beer no longer uses sassafras oil for flavoring due to the regulated use of products that contain safrole which is believed to be carcinogenic in large amounts.
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Sassafras Tea: Health Benefits And Side Effects
Sassafras tea is a popular beverage thats favored for its distinct flavor and aroma, which are reminiscent of root beer.
Once considered a household staple, it has become harder to find.
Despite its long-standing reputation as a powerful medicinal herb, some research suggests that sassafras could do more harm than good.
This article takes a close look at the potential health benefits and side effects of sassafras tea.
Sassafras Bark: At A Glance
Sassafras is a type of tree native to the bayous of Louisiana. Its root bark, or sometimes just its bark, is often used to make sassafras tea. The oil from its bark, meanwhile, has been used in medicine or candy or in perfume . Most famously, until a few decades ago, it was used to provide the distinct flavor of root beer.
Sassafras leaves have a sweet smell that many people compare to Fruit Loops. Its bark has a pleasant flavor that is often described as spicy or earthy.
Sassafras bark contains many natural compounds that have been used in medicine, cosmetics, fragrances, and food. These compounds include anethole, apiole, asarone, boldine, caryophyllene, elemicin, eugenol, mucilage, myristicin, safrole, tannins, and thujone.
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Medications That Increase Break Down Of Other Medications By The Liver Inducers Interacts With Sassafras
Some medications increase breakdown of other medications by the liver. Taking sassafras along with medications that increase breakdown of other medications by the liver might cause chemicals in sassafras to be metabolized to more toxic forms. Some medications that might increase the breakdown of chemicals in sassafras include omeprazole and others.
The Properties And Benefits Of Sassafras
The properties of sassafras include antirheumatic, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic and diuretic actions. It is traditionally used to treat a variety of health conditions such as arthritis, acne, dysentery, eczema, fever, gout, muscle numbness, flu, herpes, parasites, psoriasis, colds, rheumatism and measles.
Sassafras tea also acts as a blood cleanser and treats swellings, rashes and syphilis manifestations. This plant also stimulates the liver, helping it to remove toxins from the body.
In folk medicine, sassafras is used as an ointment for sore muscles in washing form, it is used for oak and poison sumach and the diluted essential oil helps fight acne, lice and other parasites. In addition, sassafras essential oil is also added to soaps, toothpaste, perfumes and mouthwashes.
The leaves and young flowers of sassafras are also used in cooking and added to salads.
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Side Effects Of Sassafras Tea
There are a number of serious side effects that can result from drinking sassafras tea, including the following:
Safrole, one of the primary active ingredients in sassafras, is known to be a carcinogen, meaning that it could increase your risk of cancer. In fact, concentrated sassafras oil and sassafras extract can be significantly harmful when consumed in even moderate quantities. While sassafras tea is not nearly as strong, it is still quite powerful, and long-term use is not encouraged.
Pregnant women, breastfeeding women, and children should avoid using sassafras tea, as it can cause miscarriages for pregnant women, and can cause severe side effects in children.
If you are having surgery, drinking sassafras tea can be very dangerous. It slows down the nervous system, which provides some of its health benefits. But in conjunction with anesthesia, the amount of safrole found in this tea can give way to major complications, and even prove fatal.
Only use sassafras tea in extremely limited quantities, and only with permission from a trained medical practitioner, who can ensure that it wont have negative interactions with any other prescriptions or medications you may be using.
What Is Sassafras Tea
Sassafras is a tree thats native to certain parts of North America and Eastern Asia.
It has smooth bark and fragrant leaves, both of which have been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat ailments like diarrhea, colds, skin diseases, and more .
Sassafras has also been used to thicken foods, brew tea, and produce filé powder a seasoning used in Creole cuisine.
Sassafras tea is made by boiling the root bark of the tree in water for 1520 minutes, allowing the flavors to infuse the liquid.
Its commonly combined with other herbs, including ginger, cinnamon, cloves, or aniseed, to produce a flavor-packed, nutrient-rich beverage.
The use of sassafras has become controversial over the past few decades. Thats because it contains safrole, a compound that has been banned by the Food and Drug Administration due to its potentially toxic effects .
Manufacturers have started removing safrole during processing, and you can now purchase sassafras root bark without safrole at many health stores and herb suppliers in dry or powder form.
Safrole-containing sassafras root bark is still available, but for legal purposes, it can only be sold as a topical skin wash or potpourri.
Sassafras tea is a beverage thats made by boiling the root bark of the sassafras tree. It can be combined with other herbs like ginger, cinnamon, cloves, or aniseed.
The following health benefits may be associated with drinking sassafras tea.
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How To Make Sassafras Tea
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Root beer gets its name from the oil extracted from the root of the sassafras tree. If you live in a region where this tree grows in the wild, you may be able to make your own drink from this same plant. Here is how to make sassafras tea.
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Jared Schubert The Monkey Wrench, Louisville** **
I use it with almost every aged spiritwhiskey, añejo tequila, rums, and gins. The older the better. Sassafras has a woody quality, with a high note like mint or absinthe. Its a rock star in a mint julep and brings more depth to a Sazerac. Just a little dash will do youtrust me.
I love this product. My grandmother used to make sassafrass tea for us as children. Pappys is an easier and safer version of the tea we drank from the boiled root. I drink it plain mixed into my water bottle and I do love the flavor. I appreciate the fact it is a family made product produced right here in the USA.
Who Should Avoid Using Sassafras
It is unsafe for anyone to use sassafras in medicinal amounts. However, there are certain populations who should completely devoid themselves from using sassafras, which include the following:
- Pregnant or breast-feeding mothers: Theres a risk of miscarriage.
- Children: A few drops of sassafras oil can be lethal.
- Planned surgery: It is advisable to stop using sassafras 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery. Sassafras can slow down the central nervous system and cause drowsiness. When combined with anesthesia, sassafras might affect the central nervous system.
- People with urinary tract conditions: Sassafras might exacerbate the symptoms of urinary tract disorders.
- People taking sedatives: Taking sassafras along with sedatives might cause too much sleepiness.
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Sassafras Tea Benefits And Side Effects
Learn Potential Risks Before You Make Sassafras Tea at Home
Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman
If you like root beer, you might enjoy sassafras tea. Sassafras was originally used to flavor the popular soda. The benefits of sassafras are widely reported on the internet. But not all of these advantages are supported by scientific evidenceeven if you make natural sassafras tea at home. And there are significant health warnings that you should be aware of if you choose to drink this tea.
Key Id Features Look For The Distinguished Sassafras Leaf
Sassafras is a deciduous tree that is often seen in groups of saplings but single trees can get to be up to 85 tall. This plant has a couple very good identification features: the first one is that a sassafras leaf can have 1,2, or 3 lobes all on the same plant. Younger plants often have more 2-3 lobed leaves than older plants. On mature trees it may be hard to spot 2-3 lobed leaves. The second great identification feature is the smell. Scratch and sniff the roots and branches, you will notice similar but distinct fragrances. Both fragrances are strong, the roots smell somewhat like root beer and the stems are slightly more citric smelling. This makes Winter identification possible. You can purchase a live sassafras sapling HERE for planting, this will ensure correct identification.
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We Have Many Different Flavors Of Tea For You To Love
Do you love herbal blends, fruity teas, novel flavors, or internationally sourced tea leaves? We have a range of bold teas to tantalize your senses and your taste buds. Enhance any occasion with our gourmet tea and take your beverage brewing game to new levels. Our selection is vast with many types of tea for every palette! Whether you like green tea, black tea, or herbal teas, we have something delicious for all kinds of tea drinkers. Browse our vast tea selection to find your perfect match today.
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Sassafras Tea A Cup Of History
Sassafras tree bark has been used in North America for centuries. According to an old Appalachian folk legend, those who carried sassafras bark in their pockets or drank sassafras root tea were protected against the evil eye, malevolence and envy.
It was also used by the Cherokee people as a blood thinner to purify blood, to treat skin diseases, rheumatism, among other ailments.
In 1512, American Indians introduced the Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon to the bark and years later the same happened to pioneers, who settled on the continent. Whether or not this is true, looking back, we can trace the word sassafras as to probably deriving from the 16th century Spanish term saxifrage.
Interestingly, Sassafras was one of the first forest products to be exported from what are now the Mid-Atlantic states, in 1603, when England sent two vessels to the New World to bring back, among other things, cargoes of sassafras bark.
Once introduced to the Europeans, they used Sassafras as a medicinal tonic in the 17th and 18th century to treat everything from rheumatism to gout. The marvels of this blood thinner helped to heal many ailments.
Later in the 19th century, sassafras extract was used to flavour one of the first soft drinks in the US root beer.
Despite the ban on safrole, some people still enjoy sassafras herbal tea today, using it as an herbal remedy, a cooking additive to thicken soup and to season dishes, or even to create perfumes.
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Stunning Shade And Color
Why Sassafras Trees?
Sassafras Trees have bold colors across all seasons, kicking off the spring with tons of bright yellow blooms to brighten up the scenery. The iconic three-lobed lush sassafras leaves grow to create a thick, full green canopy all summer long.
In the fall, the green leaves turn stunning shades of yellow and red for blazing beauty in both urban and countryside settings. Dark berries hang off of bright red stems for striking color contrast thats second to none.
Once the vibrant leaves drop, they reveal the Sassafras Trees stunning wrinkled white bark that stands out amongst the winter landscape. And the best part? You get this visual interest nearly anywhere in the country.
Whether youre in an icy area up north or hot, humid climate down south, you can grow this carefree tree. And you can even make root beer from this multi-purpose must-have! Simply plant two Sassafras Trees, and reap the benefits of your own homemade beverage brew.
Why Fast-Growing-Trees.com is Better
Its nearly impossible to find a Sassafras this healthy and robust from your local garden center or big-box nursery.
In fact, most big-box retailers sell their plants bare-root, giving you a lower chance of long-term success in your own garden.
But when you order from Fast Growing Trees, we ensure that your tree is planted, grown, and meticulously nurtured from day one.
Sassafras Trees are one-of-a-kind trees that sell out fast. Be sure to order yours before they are all gone!
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Special Precautions And Warnings
When taken by mouthPOSSIBLY SAFEPOSSIBLY UNSAFEcancerLIKELY UNSAFEmouthliversweatinghot flashesvomitinghigh blood pressurehallucinationsWhen applied to the skinLIKELY UNSAFEskinskin rashesskinUNSAFEPregnancy and breast-feedingLIKELY UNSAFEmiscarriageChildrenLIKELY UNSAFESurgerycentral nervous systemmedicationsUrinary tract conditions
Health Benefits Of Sassafras Tea
While there are health risks to consuming an excess of sassafras tea, in moderate amounts it is known to have a positive impact on your liver, circulatory system, immune system, skin, lungs, respiratory tracts, and joints. Much of these benefits come from the volatile compounds in the tea, including alpha-pinene and antioxidant tannins. However, use of this tea should be monitored carefully, and should only be prepared in the right concentrations. If you begin to feel any adverse side effects, discontinue use immediately.