I am a junkie for sassafras tea. Every time I go camping or for a walk in the woods, I find myself unable to resist the urge to pull up one of those sweet, flavorful roots and brew it into a tea. For me, sassafras tea isn’t just a rustic campfire treat; it’s a delightful concoction made of memories and symbolism.
Sassafras tea is not only delicious; it is also subtly medicinal. For centuries, naturopathic healers have turned to sassafras as a treatment for common ailments and discomforts. Although none of sassafras’s medicinal values have been verified by modern science, many of its historic uses remain popular among traditional herbalists.
Historically, Native Americans and colonists both valued sassafras as a spring tonic– a natural intervention to boost immunity, energy and stamina during the final weeks of winter. Down a glass of sassafras tea or natural sassafras root beer to chase away the remnants of the winter blues and prepare yourself for the warmer months.
Sassafras is known in herb-savvy circles as a weak stimulant, although its exact impact on mood and metabolism remain unresearched and unverified. Try sassafras tea as a caffeine-free alternative to coffee, tea or ephedra. A few sips can offer that gentle pick-me-up without jitters or anxiety.
Sassafras may possess weak anti-inflammatory properties similar to willow. Sassafras tea may ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, muscle tension and certain injuries. Bathing an injured area in sassafras tea may also help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Sexually Transmitted Disease
Sassafras tea has been used extensively throughout history to treat sexually transmitted infection. According to traditional lore, sassafras tea can cure the bacterial sexually transmitted infections gonorrhea and chlamydia. Since the 1600s, it has also been used to treat syphilis, a potentially deadly STD that is now relatively rare.
Sassafras root’s pleasant flavor and mildly stimulating properties make it an ideal herbal alternative to chewing tobacco. The inner bark and the outermost layer of the root both make a pleasant quid that is free of nicotine and sugar.
Although likely safe in small, occasional doses, sassafras tea has lost some popularity in recent years to concerns about its safety. Unprocessed sassafras root contains a compound that has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals. Additionally, large doses of sassafras can lead to short-term side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
If you are interested in using sassafras tea for its medicinal properties, get in touch with an experienced health care provider who is knowledgeable about botanical medicine. Professional counsel is essential for using herbal medicine in a safe, effective manner.
The School of Forest Resources and Conservation