Sassafras Roots

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Disclaimer: Safrole oil, a key component of sassafras tea was declared carcinogenic by the FDA I still have some I keep stored in the freezer. This spring I will put up an instructable on identifying and harvesting Sassafras. Start by getting a few roots, and washing them off in the sink. The reason being, is that Sassafras roots like most roots are found in dirt. I generally will just rinse them, and rub any dirt off.

You may decide to use soap, but if you do make sure that you rinse them really well. I normally will just fill it half-full, but more water will be needed for more people.

Sassafras Roots

Also, for larger servings or stronger tea, add more roots. With Sassafras however you need to put them in while the water is still cool, and let it stay in the pot and boil until it turns a deep red color. Now just wait and watch until it turns a deep red color this may take a little while. Then, continue on to the next step. Once the tea turns the desired, deep red color, it's time to start steeping. Steeping will give the tea better flavor, and also give a little bit more time to cool off.

How to Steep Sassafras Roots

Put the lid on the pot and let it sit for five minutes. It is now finished, but can be sweetened if desired. Another thing about Sassafras tea is that it needs to be served hot. When ever it is drank cold it acquires a different flavor, and leaves a funny after-taste in your mouth. Also, it is just all around better hot. It tastes amazing and smells great.

Helpful Information

I was afraid to take any drugs and just toughed it out through the first 2 babies.. Then I found sassafras tea at the store--it came in a concentrate and all you had to do was dilute it to taste. Worked wonderfully! Didn't know back then about any possible carcinogenic effects, but it's still available in our southern stores commercially.

BTW, the 4 babies came out and still are :0 perfect! Reply 1 year ago.

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Im happy to here it worked but the safrol in the sassafras can cause a miscarriage. I used to make this tea growing up. I would go out in the woods and pull up the tree chop off the root and dry it after it was dried I would make me a camp fire and chop the root down enough to put in a small pot boil it for a couple minutes and drink up with a little sugar or sweeter. It was awesome. My dad used to dig up sassafras roots and then make the best tea ever. He died when I was a teen and I remember that tea. You can buy sassafras root on eBay.

I am glad to learn how to make sassafras tea because it reminds me of my childhood and my dad. A pinch of table salt will reduce bitterness. I like mine dark to very dark in color after steeping. More the color of dark coffee than of tea. A heaping teaspoon of root chunks will produce several cups even a quart of tea easily. I'm very glad to have found this instructable. Thank you. On my mother's side, my family is Native American Blackfoot to be exact Most of this knowledge was lost when she passed bc she didn't write it down.

I don't know if that claim is currently backed by medicinal science, but we believe that she knew her stuff, bc they both lived into their late nineties. We're glad to find someone who knows how to make the tea.

The drug is from the peeled root of the plant root bark. Synonyms are S. Native Americans have used sassafras for centuries and told early settlers that it would cure a variety of illnesses. The settlers then exported it to Europe, where it was found ineffective. A report on experiences of explorers and doctors finding, identifying, and describing sassafras bark and other drugs during the late 16th century is available. Over the years, the oil obtained from the roots and wood has been used as a scent in perfumes and soaps.

Medicinally, sassafras has been applied to insect bites and stings to relieve symptoms. The leaves and pith, when dried and powdered, have been used as a thickener in soups.

Green Day - Sassafras Roots lyrics

The roots often are dried and steeped for tea, and sassafras formerly was used as a flavoring in root beer. The pleasant-tasting oil of sassafras comes from the roots and the root bark. The main constituent of the oil is safrole. Sassafras oil and safrole have been banned for use as a drug and as flavors and food additives by the FDA because of their carcinogenic potential.

However, their use and sale persist throughout the US. Sassafras root bark has been used as an aromatic and carminative at doses of 10 g; however, the carcinogenicity of its constituent safrole has limited its use.


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Besides being a cancer-causing agent, sassafras can induce vomiting, stupor, and hallucinations. It also can cause abortion, diaphoresis, and dermatitis. Sassafras oil and safrole have been banned for use as flavors and food additives by the FDA because of their carcinogenic potential. Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances. The easiest way to lookup drug information, identify pills, check interactions and set up your own personal medication records.

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