WILD FOODIES' HOME PAGE
PLANT PROFILE LIST

         

 

NAME: Sassafras

SPECIES / FAMILY:  Sassafras Albidum / Lauraceae

OTHER COMMON NAME(S): 

CONDITIONS: sun-partial shade
 

PARTS:

EDIBLE cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

TASTE

RAW/COOK

SEASON

All

 

 

 

 

Shoots

spicy/rootbeer

COOK

Fall

Leaves

 young

rootbeerish

RAW/DRY/COOK

Spring/Summer

Stalk/Stem

 

 

 

 

Buds

rootbeerish

RAW/COOK

Spring

Flowers

 

 

Spring

Fruits

 

 

 

 

Pods

 

 

   

Seeds

 

 

 

 

Nuts

 

 

 

 

Roots

spicy/rootbeer

COOK

Spring

Bark

cid:image001.jpg@01D3EC3E.A305A520

 

 

 

 

PORTION: small

 

COMMENT: Paleobotanists say the sassafras is like the ginkgo, a living fossil, going back some 100 million years. It sends up dozens of saplings from its roots. (2) Leaves, Shoots, Root, Bark, Buds, Flowers. The young leaves can also be added to salads whilst both old and young leaves can be used as a flavouring and as a thickening agent in soups etc, (most notably “Gumbo”). They have a mild aromatic flavour. The leaves are often dried and ground into powder for later use. The young shoots have been used to make a kind of beer. The dried root bark can be boiled with sugar and water until it forms a thick paste. It is then used as a condiment. The root and the berries can also be used as flavourings.(However, the Green Deane says that the berries are not edible. #2) Winter buds and young leaves - raw. A tea is made from Flowers, leaves, roots, and root bark (considered to be a tonic). The tea can also be made by brewing the root in maple syrup, this can be concentrated into a jelly. It is best in spring.(1)

 

CAUTION:  The extracted essential oil is poisonous in large quantities. The essential il contains safrole which is known to be carcinogenic and potentially harmful to the liver. The essential oil has been banned as a food flavouring in America, even though the potential toxicity is lower than that of alcohol.(1)

 

NUTRITION/MEDICINAL:  Alterative;  Anodyne;  Antirheumatic;  Antiseptic;  Aromatic;  Carminative;  Diaphoretic;  Diuretic;  Stimulant;  Vasodilator.(1)

·        https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-674/sassafras

·        https://draxe.com/sassafras

 

LOOK-A-LIKES:  

 

POISONOUS LOOK-A-LIKES: 

 

OTHER USES: Dye;  Essential;  Repellent;  Wood. An essential oil is obtained from the bark of the root and also from the fruits. The oil is medicinal and is also used in soaps, the coarser kinds of perfumery, toothpastes, soft drinks etc. It is also used as an antiseptic in dentistry. A yellow dye is obtained from the wood and the bark. It is brown to orange. The plant repels mosquitoes and other insects. Wood - coarse-grained, soft, weak, fragrant, brittle, very durable in the soil. It weighs 31lb per cubic foot and is used for fence posts and items requiring lightness.(1) Sassafras has no natural enemies and its oil has been used as an antiseptic, a pain killer, and externally to treat lice and insect bites. It was once used in soaps, perfumery and toothpaste. The twigs were used as toothbrushes. Before WWI, research reportedly showed people who drank sassafras tea had fewer throat infections and colds. The wood is heavy, strong and aromatic and was used in boat and bed building. The bark can yield an orange dye.(2)

 

SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):

  1. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Sassafras+albidum
  2. http://www.eattheweeds.com/sassafras-root-beer-rat-killer
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum (good photos)
  4. http://www.foragingtexas.com/2008/08/sassafrass.html (good photos)
  5. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum