Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Sassafras is a native North American deciduous tree which can be found in woods from Ontario to Michigan, and south to Florida and Texas. In places it is also grown as an ornamental. The stem, which is usually 10 to 40 feet high but sometimes reaches 125 feet, is covered with rough, grayish bark. The leaves are alternate, downy on the lower side, and variable in
shape from ovate to elliptic, entire or three-lobed. The small, yellowish-green flowers grow in racemes, blooming before the leaves appear. The fruit is a pea-sized, yellowish-green drupe.
Family: Lauraceae (Laurel family)
Other Names: Ague tree, Cinnamon wood, Saxifrax
Flowers: April – May
Parts Used: Bark of the root
Habitat: Poor soils. Ontario to Michigan, and south to Florida and Texas.
Properties: Anodyne, antiseptic, diuretic, stimulant.
Main Uses: A hot infusion of sassafras bark makes a good “blood purifier,” promoting perspiration and urination. It has been recommended for rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and skin problems. The bark of the root contains a volatile oil (safrole) that has anodyne and antiseptic properties. It has been used in the past as a pain reliever and also to treat venereal disease. American Indians used an infusion of sassafras roots to bring down a fever. Sassafras tea has also had its day as a popular tonic drink.
General ill health and malnutrition
Rheumatic pain Skin conditions
To enhance performance
To promote sweating
Caution CAUTION: Large amounts of safrole oil has been known to cause cancer in laboratory mice.
Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon bark in 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day.
Tincture: A dose is 15 to 30 drops.
Sassafras is also a wild food.