SASSAFRAS

 Chapter: Entheogens

AKA: Ague tree, cinnamon wood, gumbo, mitten tree, Sassafras albidum, Sassifras variiflium, saxifrax.

Effects: There is one report of a "visionary experience" after an ingestion of 10 ml of Brazilian oil of sassafras.

Precautions: The oil of any herb in any dose can be toxic.

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Questions and Answers

sassafras?,

General info:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras
Photos:
http://www.georgian.edu/pinebarrens/bi_p...
http://www.sfws.auburn.edu/samuelson/den...
Constituents, etymology:
http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Sass...
http://www.efloras.org/florataxon.aspx?f...
Use of sassafras oil and safrole banned:
http://www.drugdigest.org/DD/DVH/HerbsWh...

where can I find sassafras wood in Texas?, I'm looking for sassafras wood for tea & aroma from the fireplace. Where in Texas can I find some?

If you are looking for it wild, check the map at the link below -- it shows which counties in Texas have it growing natively. They are mostly in eastern Texas.

Good luck!

How do I make hot sassafras tea?, Do I use the leaves grounded? OR Do I use the root grounded or in pieces (in hot water of course)? How much is to much? Finally, do use the root of sassafras saplings or sassafras trees? Thanks.

ask grannie Klampet

Is it ok to drink Sassafras tea?, I was on the Appalachian Trail and picked up some Sassafras leaves for tea. But I don't know if its safe to pour water onto them and make them tea. Thanks for your answers in advance.

from the british columbia cancer agency

"An overriding consideration in this entire matter of the safety and efficacy of sassafras is that the plant material has no really significant medical or therapeutic utility. Sassafras oil, in common with large number of volatile oils, does possess some mild counterirritant properties on external application, but beyond these, none of the claims of its supporters has been documented in the modern medical literature. Despite its pleasant flavor and its folkloric reputation as a useful tonic, prudent people will avoid this drug because of its potentially harmful qualities." (Tyler)

"Sassafras should not be used internally or externally." (Newall)

Description/ Source/ Components

This tea is made from the young root of sassafras, Sassafras abdidum. The active ingredient is safrole. (Stich)

"It contains up to 9 percent of a volatile oil, which, in turn, consists of about 80 percent safrole." (Tyler)

Safrole is also a component of many essential oils, such as star anise oil, micranthum oil and camphor oil. (Homburger)

History

"Sassafras was always popular in folk medicine, being regarded by rural people as a spring tonic or purifier of the blood." (Haines)

"The root bark was being used to treat fevers by the natives of Florida prior to 1512 and formed one of the earliest exports of the New World. It still enjoys a considerable reputation as a stimulant, and as treatment for rheumatism, skin disease, syphilis, typhus, dropsy (fluid accumulation), and so on." (Tyler)

Sassafras is used for medicinal purposes as well as for a beverage. Aromatic oil derived from the sassafras root bark was formerly much utilized in flavoring confections, soft drinks, and pharmaceutical products. Such use was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960 after safrole was found to be hepatocarcinogenic (liver-cancer-causing) in the rat. (Stich)

"A new use has emerged in the past decade. Clandestine producers of 'designer drugs' have used safrole and isosafrole, derived from the oil of sassafras root bark, as a precursor in the manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (known as MDMA, ecstasy, XTC, and Adam). This illicit drug gained notoriety in the early 1990's, but it is not a new compound. The synthesis of MDMA from safrole was first described in a German patent published in 1912." (Tyler)

Toxicity/ Risks

"As a result of research conducted in the early 1960's, safrole was recognized as a carcinogenic agent in rats and mice." (Tyler)

"Several naturally occurring aromatic ethers, of which safrole [1-allyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy)-benzene] is one example, are hepatocarcinogens." (Bolton)

"Both benign and malignant tumors have developed in laboratory animals, depending on the dose of safrole administered." (Newall)

Safrole is a chemical carcinogen, which can induce DNA modification. (Tan)

"No one really knows just how harmful it is to human beings, but it has been estimated that one cup of strong sassafras tea could contain as much as 200 mg [milligrams] of safrole, more than four times the minimal amount believed hazardous to humans if consumed on a regular basis." (Tyler)

"In concentrations of 1% of the diet, safrole is toxic, producing weight loss, testicular atrophy, and bone marrow depletion. It also induces hepatomas (liver cancer)." (Homburger)

"It is estimated that a few drops of sassafras oil are sufficient to kill a toddler and as little as one teaspoonful has proved fatal in an adult. Symptoms of poisoning are described as vomiting, stupor, and collapse. High doses may cause spasms followed by paralysis. Large amount of the oil are reported to be psychoactive with the hallucinogenic effects lasting for several days." (Newall)

"Recent studies have shown that even safrole-free sassafras produced tumors in two-thirds of the animals treated with it. Apparently, other constituents in addition to safrole are responsible for part of the root bark's carcinogenic activity." (Tyler)

A 72-year-old woman drank sassafras tea up to 10 cups a day and developed diaphoresis and hot flashes. When the woman "stopped drinking the tea, the diaphoresis and hot flashes promptly resolved." (Haines)

"We have shown in preliminary pharmacological experiments that certain aqueous and alcoholic extracts prepared from sassafras root bark are capable of eliciting a variety of pharmacological responses in mice, including ataxia, ptosis, hypersensitivity to touch, central nervous system depression and hypothermia. Safrole is also a potent inhibitor of certain liver microsomal hydroxylating systems, a property that could lead to toxicity problems if drugs metabolized by these enzymes are administered together with sassafras teas... To ensure safe and effective drug therapy, it would seem appropriate for physicians to evaluate their patients in terms of extemporaneous herb tea usage and to discourage these practices whenever feasible." (Segelman)

"Carcinogenicity of safrole following transplacental exposure of the mouse fetus and exposure of the neonatal mouse via the mother's milk was investigated in mice by intragastric administration of the agent to pregnant and lactating females... Renal epithelial tumors were observed in 7% of female offspring exposed to safrole in utero; none of the other experimental and control animals developed these tumors. Only male offspring nursed during the preweaning period by mothers treated with safrole developed hepatocellular tumors. In contrast, direct administration of safrole, beginning at the time of weaning and continuing for the duration of the experiment, led to a significantly high incidence of hepatocellular tumors in females, but not in males. Eighty-six percent of the liver tumors observed in females were hepatocellular carcinomas with a high rate of pulmonary metastasis. The data suggest that safrole or its metabolites came into contact with fetuses by crossing the placenta and with infants through its excretion in milk to exert the perinatal carcinogenicity." (Vesselinovitch)

Sassafras beer by boiling the actual roots?, I found sassafras roots in the woods. Was thinking on making a beer out of it, but concerned that the high oil content in the root would wreck the head (similar to adding espresso to a batch). Think it's doable?

Man, I don't know, it may not turn out well.

What are the pros and cons of sassafras tea?, I had one health store person tell me that it has a poisoning substance in it and should be taken with caution.
When I was a child and a little older we used to drink it all time with no ill feelings. Now that I am much older I have to use caution with everything I do.
Does anyone have an opinion or is knowledgeable about this tea?
Appreciate you help.
Rene

Sassafras Tea


The role of your cancer health professional is to create an environment of openness and trust, and to help in making informed decisions about alternative/ complementary therapies. Collaboration will improve the safe integration of all therapies during your experience with cancer. The "Summary" and "Professional Evaluation/ Critique" sections of this Unconventional Therapies manual are cited directly from the medical literature, and are intended to help in the objective evaluation of alternative/ complementary therapies.

Summary

"An overriding consideration in this entire matter of the safety and efficacy of sassafras is that the plant material has no really significant medical or therapeutic utility. Sassafras oil, in common with large number of volatile oils, does possess some mild counterirritant properties on external application, but beyond these, none of the claims of its supporters has been documented in the modern medical literature. Despite its pleasant flavor and its folkloric reputation as a useful tonic, prudent people will avoid this drug because of its potentially harmful qualities." (Tyler)

"Sassafras should not be used internally or externally." (Newall)

Description/ Source/ Components

This tea is made from the young root of sassafras, Sassafras abdidum. The active ingredient is safrole. (Stich)

"It contains up to 9 percent of a volatile oil, which, in turn, consists of about 80 percent safrole." (Tyler)

Safrole is also a component of many essential oils, such as star anise oil, micranthum oil and camphor oil. (Homburger)

History

"Sassafras was always popular in folk medicine, being regarded by rural people as a spring tonic or purifier of the blood." (Haines)

"The root bark was being used to treat fevers by the natives of Florida prior to 1512 and formed one of the earliest exports of the New World. It still enjoys a considerable reputation as a stimulant, and as treatment for rheumatism, skin disease, syphilis, typhus, dropsy (fluid accumulation), and so on." (Tyler)

Sassafras is used for medicinal purposes as well as for a beverage. Aromatic oil derived from the sassafras root bark was formerly much utilized in flavoring confections, soft drinks, and pharmaceutical products. Such use was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960 after safrole was found to be hepatocarcinogenic (liver-cancer-causing) in the rat. (Stich)

"A new use has emerged in the past decade. Clandestine producers of 'designer drugs' have used safrole and isosafrole, derived from the oil of sassafras root bark, as a precursor in the manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (known as MDMA, ecstasy, XTC, and Adam). This illicit drug gained notoriety in the early 1990's, but it is not a new compound. The synthesis of MDMA from safrole was first described in a German patent published in 1912." (Tyler)

Toxicity/ Risks

"As a result of research conducted in the early 1960's, safrole was recognized as a carcinogenic agent in rats and mice." (Tyler)

"Several naturally occurring aromatic ethers, of which safrole [1-allyl-3,4-(methylenedioxy)-benzene] is one example, are hepatocarcinogens." (Bolton)

"Both benign and malignant tumors have developed in laboratory animals, depending on the dose of safrole administered." (Newall)

Safrole is a chemical carcinogen, which can induce DNA modification. (Tan)

"No one really knows just how harmful it is to human beings, but it has been estimated that one cup of strong sassafras tea could contain as much as 200 mg [milligrams] of safrole, more than four times the minimal amount believed hazardous to humans if consumed on a regular basis." (Tyler)

"In concentrations of 1% of the diet, safrole is toxic, producing weight loss, testicular atrophy, and bone marrow depletion. It also induces hepatomas (liver cancer)." (Homburger)

"It is estimated that a few drops of sassafras oil are sufficient to kill a toddler and as little as one teaspoonful has proved fatal in an adult. Symptoms of poisoning are described as vomiting, stupor, and collapse. High doses may cause spasms followed by paralysis. Large amount of the oil are reported to be psychoactive with the hallucinogenic effects lasting for several days." (Newall)

"Recent studies have shown that even safrole-free sassafras produced tumors in two-thirds of the animals treated with it. Apparently, other constituents in addition to safrole are responsible for part of the root bark's carcinogenic activity." (Tyler)

A 72-year-old woman drank sassafras tea up to 10 cups a day and developed diaphoresis and hot flashes. When the woman "stopped drinking the tea, the diaphoresis and hot flashes promptly resolved." (Haines)

"We have shown in preliminary pharmacological experiments that certain aqueous and alcoholic extracts prepared from sassafras root bark are capable of eliciting a variety of pharmacological responses in mice, including ataxia, ptosis, hypersensitivity to touch, central nervous system depression and hypothermia. Safrole is also a potent inhibitor of certain liver microsomal hydroxylating systems, a property that could lead to toxicity problems if drugs metabolized by these enzymes are administered together with sassafras teas... To ensure safe and effective drug therapy, it would seem appropriate for physicians to evaluate their patients in terms of extemporaneous herb tea usage and to discourage these practices whenever feasible." (Segelman)

"Carcinogenicity of safrole following transplacental exposure of the mouse fetus and exposure of the neonatal mouse via the mother's milk was investigated in mice by intragastric administration of the agent to pregnant and lactating females... Renal epithelial tumors were observed in 7% of female offspring exposed to safrole in utero; none of the other experimental and control animals developed these tumors. Only male offspring nursed during the preweaning period by mothers treated with safrole developed hepatocellular tumors. In contrast, direct administration of safrole, beginning at the time of weaning and continuing for the duration of the experiment, led to a significantly high incidence of hepatocellular tumors in females, but not in males. Eighty-six percent of the liver tumors observed in females were hepatocellular carcinomas with a high rate of pulmonary metastasis. The data suggest that safrole or its metabolites came into contact with fetuses by crossing the placenta and with infants through its excretion in milk to exert the perinatal carcinogenicity." (Vesselinovitch)

can sassafras trees or Russian olive trees become bonsai's?, i would really like to know, cause the both seem to be very interesting plants.

Contrary to what Carole said, both make good bonsai. 100's of species of trees are used for bonsai. On my site, I don't have any sassafras, but do have some very nice Russian olive bonsai. You are welcome to view them at:
http://www.american-bonsai.com and also you'll want to read the Bonsai Care page to give you more ideas.

What is a good root beer recipe that doesn't use root beer extract or sassafras?,

I have never done this, but I have made beer and this guy really knows what he's talking about.

http://www.greydragon.org/library/brewin...

This is his main page

http://www.greydragon.org/library/index....

Is there anywere in the UK were the Sassafras plant in growing? Forests/countryside etc?, can you list locations were it might be? or identified places pref within the UK, thanks!

hope this helps http://www.answers.com/topic/sassafras?c...

I have a sassafras grove in my yard - is it better for the tree to keep cutting all the suckers...?, ...and just leave one main tree to grow or should I let all the smaller trees grow into a proper grove? I don't care either way, I just want to do what is healthiest for the plant.

it is better for the tree if you want a single trunk tree. better in that more growing energy will go the one. but leaving the suckers will not hurt, and i like the grove look