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Sassafras – sources, health benefits, nutrients, uses and constituents at

Tuesday, August 15, 2017 by

Sassafras is a genus of deciduous trees native to eastern Asia and eastern North America. These aromatic plants have been extensively used by Native American tribes as food and medicine. After European settlers arrived in the country, the bark of the sassafras tree became one of the first exports of the New World. Nowadays, almost all parts of the sassafras plant are utilized in a variety of ways, ranging from cleansing the body to flavoring cuisine.

List of known nutrients

Sassafras root-bark and bark are the parts used for medical applications and are known to contain a wide spectrum of beneficial nutrients, most notably:

  • Alpha-pinene
  • Anethole
  • Apiole
  • Asarone
  • Beta-sitosterol
  • Boldine
  • Caryophyllene
  • Elemicin
  • Eugenol
  • Mucilage
  • Myristicin
  • Reticule
  • Safrene
  • Safrole
  • Sassafrid
  • Tannins
  • Thujone

These various constituents have given sassafras a reputation as an analgesic, anodyne, diaphoretic, emmenagouge, and febrifuge. Moreover, sassafras is known to possess antibacterial, anti-rheumatic, and antiviral properties.

Medicinal uses for sassafras

Practitioners of folk medicine have used sassafras to treat a wide range of common ailments and mitigate their symptoms. Some of these illnesses include:

  • Acne
  • Arthritis
  • Colds
  • Eczema
  • Fatigue
  • Flu
  • Gout
  • Inflammation
  • Kidney Ailments
  • Menstrual Pains
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Scurvy
  • Shingles
  • Skin Disorders
  • Toothache

Due to its impressive analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, sassafras can serve as an effective pain reliever. The soothing effects of sassafras are such that ingesting sassafras tea and applying a topical application made from this plant can provide respite from aches and pains.

Sassafras is an emmenagogue, or a substance that increases menstrual flow. By doing this, sassafras can ease the pains associated with menstruation, such as bloating and cramping. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties offer added relief. Because it stimulates menstrual flow, pregnant women should avoid sassafras.

Body systems supported by sassafras

Tannic acid and sassafrid are two compounds that are believed to be a sufficient treatment for many skin disorders like acne and eczema. Sassafras leaf poultice can reduce the skin inflammation and discoloration associated with these conditions.

Sassafras can strengthen the immune system thanks to its analgesic, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties. Taking sassafras internally and externally can keep the body free from infections.

The pleasant flavor and antiseptic nature of sassafras twigs mean that they can be used as natural toothbrushes and measures for boosting dental health. A natural mouthwash made with sassafras can clean the mouth.

Sassafras tea has a diuretic effect that keeps the urinary system healthy by easing the load on the kidneys.

Sassafras is an effective blood purifier, and some Native American tribes used sassafras for this exact purpose.

Ways to use sassafras

Once the major ingredient of root bear, the more modern and hassle-free way to take sassafras is as a tea.

Simply chop up a small handful of sassafras roots and boil them in a saucepan with half a cinnamon stick. Decrease heat and simmer for 20 minutes before adding a slice of fresh ginger. Simmer for an additional two minutes. Strain the mixture over a bowl and feel free to add honey or maple syrup to sweeten the brew.

Outside of tea, sassafras is used to flavor Creole dishes.

Concentrated sassafras essential oil is also available, but this should be used with extreme caution. Safrole, the volatile oil of sassafras, can cause vomiting and nausea in teaspoon-sized amounts, and can be fatal in larger doses.

Where to learn more


Thanks to the plethora of health-promoting natural compounds, sassafras can support the skin, immune system, teeth, and blood. Moreover, sassafras can prevent inflammation, menstrual pain, and skin disorders. The concentrated essential oil form can be dangerous even in minimal amounts, so avoid ingestion.

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