Sassafras albidum



Traditional Use


Medicinal & Psychoactive Properties & Applications: Mild Psychoactive, Oneirogen, Immune support, Fever, contains Mucilage, Thujone, Safrole, and more, infusions for Colds, Flu, alterative, anodyne, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant and vasodilator.


          The original root beer recipies used Sassafras root for the flavor, and to add a psychoactive kick to the brew. Traditionally, a tea is used in herbal medicine to help the immune system. It's even been used to recover from a bout with poison oak or sumac, especially when the leaf is chewed. It's made into a tea in order to induce sweating which results in breaking a fever. For over three centuries it's been made into a tea that has been consumed in the lower Mississippi valley. The ground dried up leaves are used to make a file' powder, to compliment certain types of gumbo. It was a favorite of my grandmother and the grand parents of some friends of mine too. This is further indication of its historic consumption.


An oil from the bark known as safrole was used to flavor medicines and candy, and even in some perfumes. It was believed to have psychoactive properties. The FDA banned the use of it in any products intended for human consumption in the 60's. You can still legally buy Sassfras though, just not in anything that's to be consumed. There's been some skepticisms on whether or not this is true. If you check the FDA website you will see that it is. Cool random fact for ya, a Native American friend of mine says that Sassafras and Kratom go good together. In the past, other plants were combined in over the counter drinks such as coca leaf being added to Coca cola, and in modern times Vanilla extract is added to Root Beer.


Constituents


Alpha-pinene, anethole, apiole, asarone, beta-sitosterol, boldine, caryophyllene, elemicin, eugenol, mucilage ( also found in Mullein ), myristicin, reticule, safrene, safrole, tannins, thujone ( also found in Passion flower ), Wormwood, and even Damiana.


It has a very unique aroma which is probably what originally attracted humans to this plant. Its smell is very sweet and pleasant. As far as constituents goes, or active chemicals found within the plant, it's a gold mine of phytochemistry, science, and potential medical value. It has been rumored that it is carcenogenic, and that may be, however; I do not believe it. The studies conducted on the carcenogenic activity of certain compounds is based on the free-based version of these chemicals and in very high concentrations. Drinking a tea and eating a pile of synthetic powder are two completely different things.


I'd like to remind everyone of a medical law known as the Arndt Schulz rule that states any poison in a dilute enough amount has the medicinal effects. Many modern medicines work by giving the patient a small amount of the poison or bacteria, etc. The toxcicity vs medicinal benefit of different plant species seems to depend greatly upon the dosages administered. I'm not a scientist though but I do like to read academic journals and come to my own conclusions based off science and logic. On a final note I'd like to add that Licorice can add to the flavor of Sassafrass. and they go quite well together!


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