Spaniards discovered the exuberant and aromatic sassafras tree in the forests of Florida in 1538. Soon after this, they observed the natives used it as a febrifuge.
Sassafras Tree Scientific Facts
- Scientific name – Sassafras officinalis Nees.
- Other names – Angue tree.
- French: Sassafras.
- Spanish: Sasafrás.
- Environment: Native to the Atlantic coast of North America, it has spread to Central and South America.
- Description – Tree of the Lauraceae family, growing up to 20 m high. It has a thick trunk with hard, reddish bark. The leaves are different even on the same tree, some are oval-shaped, and other ones are lobulated.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The trunk and root bark.
Sassafras Tree Healing Properties
The trunk and root bark contain up to 9 percent essence, formed by 80 percent safrol, 10 percent pinene and phellandrene, and 0.5 percent eugenol. This essence is the responsible agent for the properties of this plant.
- Depurative, diuretic, and sudorific – It is used against rheumatism, gout, and arthritis. Sassafras is also recommended for infectious diseases to produce sweat and urine and eliminate toxins.
- Antiseptic – It formerly was a desirable remedy for syphilis and other venereal diseases, a fact which is possibly justified by its antiseptic properties.
- Antitoxic – It has been used as an antidote for poisoning by lead, arsenic, and several plants such as tobacco, henbane, and lobelia, all belonging to the Solanaceae family. With tobacco intoxication, it stops nausea, vomiting, and cephalalgia.
- Stimulant – Its stimulating properties enhance its other properties.
In America, sassafras is one of the most respected and oldest herbal remedies. It is a blood purifier and a spring tonic. It promotes perspiration and urination, stimulates and cleans the liver of toxins, and thins the blood after a heavy winter. It is usually combined with other herbs for the best results as a blood purifier. Therefore, it is recommended for skin problems, arthritis, gout, and rheumatism.
Indians employed the plant as a remedy to treat fevers. The root’s bark contains oil with antiseptic and anodyne properties. The bark has been used to treat venereal diseases and as a pain reliever. It can be given in cases of painful menstruation and can relieve suffering in childbirth and its afterpains.
For chronic blood disorders, Sassafras is often combined with other herbs, such as sarsaparilla, echinacea, burdock, and licorice. This herb can be used internally and externally to treat ulcers and skin issues, including acne. The oil can be applied externally to treat rheumatic pains.
Please do not exceed the recommended dose, nor apply it for an extended period. The essence in high doses causes convulsions and may produce a circulatory breakdown. Sassafras oil should only be used externally and never internally.
How to use Sassafras
Decoction: Simmer for five to fifteen minutes and take three ounces three to four times daily. Tincture: Take fifteen to thirty drops three to four times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ¼ to one teaspoon three to four times daily. Powder: Take five to ten #0 capsules (30 to 60 grains) three to four times daily.
- George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 678. Print. [sassafras tree]
- Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 178.