The Dangers of Sassafras

Sassafras is on the list of natural supplements and food additives with a bad reputation. This herbal medicine made from trees has a long history of use that dates back centuries. It is a famous ingredient in everything from tea to gumbo. However, despite its popularity among Native Americans and early settlers, the usage of sassafras does come with some significant warnings.

There are several convincing reasons to avoid using this plant product, which was considered a potent tonic, whether used in sassafras baking, cooking, or drinking. Before beginning to utilize sassafras, it is worthwhile to learn more if you are thinking about harvesting your own or looking for it in ready-made supplement or extract form.

Sassafras - What is it?

Sassafras trees can reach heights of up to 60 feet and are found in the eastern United States. The flowers of these trees are little and lovely, and the hue ranges from brilliant yellow to green blossoms. The tree is also known as saxifras, saloop, ague, and cinnamon wood.

In recipes for sassafras cookery and herbal treatments alike, it is the root or bark of the root that is most commonly used. Nonetheless, the leaves are utilized as ingredients in several sassafras tea recipes.

Sassafras - How is it Used?

Sassafras is frequently attributed to Native Americans who introduced it to the rest of the world. The tree was a common ingredient in many recipes and was utilized for several medical purposes. Early American settlement saw a significant increase in its popularity. One of the first and most pivotal exports from the New World to Europe was sassafras, used as food and medicine.

Sassafras has a variety of possible use in both culinary and medicinal uses. Sassafras cooking once included using its roots to make root beer. Moreover, it helps to thicken soups, add flavor to baked goods using sassafras, and more. Sassafras is often added to cosmetics and perfumes.

However, it appears that making sassafras tea is one of the plant's most popular uses. To make this beverage, dried roots are steeped to make tea. The primary component that distinguishes sassafras is safrole considered to have therapeutic benefits.

Sassafras is no longer as popular as it once was despite being used throughout the Americas and Europe. Sassafras tea and cosmetic products containing it are still sold on the market, but many people believe they should avoid it despite having a pleasant flavor.

Advantages of Sassafras

There isn't much evidence to back up claims that Native Americans frequently used sassafras as a medicine, despite being developed in several places. The fact that sassafras has no discernible medical or therapeutic value is an essential factor in this discussion of the safety and effectiveness of the plant.

Sassafras, sassafras tea, and other forms of consumption may have several advantages despite the lack of scientific data to back them up. Beneficial blood thinner is another claim made for sassafras.

Conventional physicians in the late 19th and early 20th centuries considered sassafras a valuable diaphoretic (a compound that promotes sweating) and diuretic plant, primarily for easing rheumatism and fevers, and for treating infections in the urinary tract. Sassafras was considered effective against eczema, head lice, and even syphilis.

Sassafras cooking, baking, or drinking has few documented health advantages. Despite this, many people think that the bark and roots of this tree are highly valuable. Sassafras was originally (and in some cases still is) highly valued for its flavor, which leans towards the citrus and peppery side by nature.

Disadvantages of Sassafras

Sassafras is no longer considered safe for consumption by humans, especially when coupled with safrole oil. Currently, sassafras bark, oil, and safrole cannot be used as food flavouring or additives.

Sassafras is said to have a connection with cancer, which is one of its largest possible drawbacks. In 1979, the FDA prohibited the use of sassafras after studies revealed that it gave rats cancer. One cup of strong sassafras tea is said to contain as much as 200 mg of safrole, which is four times more than the quantity that is thought to be potentially harmful to humans if eaten frequently. However, the amount of sassafras that may cause cancer in people is still unclear.

Poisoning may occur if too much oil is eaten. At this point, heart palpitations, hallucinations, and others may happen. Even worse consequences from an overdose are possible. Sassafras oil is said to be poisonous. Surviving for more than 48 hours is typically an indicator that healing will take place. If the kidneys have been harmed, recovery could take many months.

Sassafras can make the central nervous system less active when taken in therapeutic doses. It implies that it may result in fatigue and sleepiness. Sassafras helps slow the central nervous system. It happens when combined with anesthesia and other drugs are taken during and after surgery. Quit using sassafras at least two weeks ahead of an upcoming operation.

If you are pregnant, sassafras is likely, not safe for you. Evidence suggests that sassafras oil may result in a miscarriage. Whether it is safe for use during breastfeeding, there is not much information to substantiate it. Do not use it to enhance safety.

Using sassafras as medicine is likely unsafe due to their safrole content. Avoid applying it to your skin. The root oil and bark of Sassafras constitutes safrole. It can lead to cancer in the liver. When applied to the skin, it can result in skin rashes in certain persons. Sassafras at medicinal doses is not safe for anyone to use, but some individuals have additional reasons not to.

Certain drugs accelerate the breakdown of other medicines by the liver. Sassafras may cause the substances to be converted into more harmful forms if taken with drugs that speed up the liver's breakdown of other medication. Omeprazole (Prilosec), among other drugs, may speed up the breakdown of sassafras' chemical constituents.


It is helpful to prepare yourself with health facts by reading and talking to friends, but always check your doctor before taking medical action or changing your health regimen.