Sassafras Anti Inflammatory Tea
Sassafras Bark - Ocotea pretiosa Mez
Used part: Bark
The Cherokee, Chippewa, Creek, Delaware and Iroquois have used this plant for centuries. It is especially popular due to its sweet and spicy taste and aroma, which is one of the reasons it's used in root beer. It's especially well-known in the Southeast, with most people remembering the taste and smell of sassafras tea from their childhood.
You can identify this plant through its leaves, which are 3 to 5 inches long and may be two-lobed or three-lobed. In the fall, the leaves usually take on a bright orange hue. Its young branches are bright green, which explains why the Native Americans referred to it as "green stick."
In an animal study, concentrated safrole was found to cause liver damage and liver cancer if taken in large amounts. However, other studies suggest that if sassafras is ingested without safrole, it wouldn't expose people to the risk. Some suggest that you can ingest sassafras tea in small amounts or you can use sassafras products that have undergone the FDA-approved process to remove the safrole content.
The anti-inflammatory properties of sassafras may assist in inflammatory conditions like arthritis. It may also help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by these conditions. The pith of the sassafras plant was originally used as a mucilaginous demulcent for eye infections. A demulcent functions as a protective layer for inflamed tissues, easing and combating further irritation. Sassafras has been used to promote urination, sweating and fluid congestion drainage. As a diuretic, sassafras may help facilitate detoxification and uric acid flushing.
In addition to these, sassafras has also been used to help alleviate various skin conditions, mucositis, sprains and urinary tract infections. But take note that sassafras tea should not be taken for long periods of time due to the possible side effects posed by safrole. To benefit from this tea and greatly reduce the risk of complications, limit your intake to a maximum of 2 cups per day.
Good Herbal Remedy:
- Eye Infection
- Skin Allergies
- Urinary Tract Infection
- Kidney problems
In case of delayed menstruation, a pregnancy test must be performed before consuming the tea prepared with this plant, in order not to run the risk of abortion.
- Infuse 1 tablespoon of Sassafras in a liter of boiling water
- Turn off the heat and set aside for 10 minutes
- Strain and drink
How to drink:
Take no more than 2 cups a day for no longer than 7 days.
While sassafras has potential health benefits, remember that drinking sassafras tea may also cause a significant amount of damage if taken in excess. Studies on sassafras show that safrole may trigger the development of liver cancer. A 1976 study shows safrole can lead to liver damage and cancer when administered orally or through a stomach tube. While safrole is present in other herbs and spices, including cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger, it only appears in these other foods in small amounts.
Other side effects include hot flashes, increased perspiration, vomiting, high blood pressure and hallucinations. Take note that drinking sassafras tea when you're pregnant is not recommended because of the limited studies that discuss its safety.