It used to be used in making root beer but the government stepped in and stopped that. It is used to make File powered which is a seasoning for gumbo.
The taste is different but unique and tasty on a hot summer day. It is easily identified by its 3 different leaves. Below are picture of all 3 leaves
I love hunting for it and have have found it everywhere. There is controversy on its use so if you find it use your judgement on this. We don't drink it daily and have had it only twice this summer it is a rare treat that we enjoy. It is always brewed at girls camp since they find it on their hike and then one of the brethren make it in the kitchen for the girls to try if they want. Most of them try it and some like it and some don't.
Go hunting in your woods and see if you can find this fun tree to look at.
Have a Blessed Day