Friday, April 29, 2011
The dried and ground leaves are used to make filé powder, an ingredient used in some types of gumbo.
The roots of Sassafras can be steeped to make tea and were used in the flavoring of traditional root beer until being banned for mass production by the FDA. Laboratory animals that were given oral doses of sassafras tea or sassafras oil that contained large doses of safrole developed permanent liver damage or various types of cancer. In humans liver damage can take years to develop and it may not have obvious signs. Along with commercially available sarsaparilla, sassafras remains an ingredient in use among hobby or microbrew enthusiasts.
In 1960, the FDA banned the use of sassafras oil and safrole in commercially mass produced foods and drugs based on the animal studies and human case reports. Several years later sassafras tea was banned, a ban that lasted until the passage of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act in 1994. Sassafras root extracts which do not contain safrole or in which the safrole has been removed are permissible, and are still widely used commercially in teas and root beers.
Sassafras tea can also be used as an anticoagulant.
A Modern Herbal
Have a blessed day