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Sassafras tea – Benefits and properties

by Dianna Leon

Sassafras, scientific name Sassafras albidum , is a plant with medicinal properties, also known as Sassafras cinnamon. It is a tree that can reach up to 25 meters in height, with dense dark green foliage, a generally tortuous trunk and a brownish-gray to brown outer bark. Some philologists attribute the origin of the word “sassafras” to a corruption of “saxifraga”, a plant already known to Europeans and which means “stone breaker”, a name given due to its origin.

Capixaba natives already used this plant to lower fever; in the northern region of the state of Espírito Santo and southern Bahia, sassafras was used in cooking to thicken sauces; and in the region of Itaúnas, the new roots were used in the production of cachaça and beer.

In the constitution of sassafras are found essential oils (anethole, asarone, eugenol, myristicin, thujone, pinene and safrole), alkaloids (boldina, norboldina, reticulin), lignans, tannin and resin.

In this article, learn about the properties and benefits of sassafras tea, available for sale at some health food stores.

The properties and benefits of sassafras

The properties of sassafras include antirheumatic, antiseptic, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic and diuretic actions. It is traditionally used to treat a variety of health conditions such as arthritis, acne, dysentery, eczema, fever, gout, muscle numbness, flu, herpes, parasites, psoriasis, colds, rheumatism and measles.

Sassafras tea also acts as a blood cleanser and treats swellings, rashes and syphilis manifestations. This plant also stimulates the liver, helping it to remove toxins from the body.

In folk medicine, sassafras is used as an ointment for sore muscles; in washing form, it is used for oak and poison sumach; and the diluted essential oil helps fight acne, lice and other parasites. In addition, sassafras essential oil is also added to soaps, toothpaste, perfumes and mouthwashes.

The leaves and young flowers of sassafras are also used in cooking and added to salads.

How to prepare sassafras tea?

To enjoy the benefits provided by sassafras, simply prepare your tea according to the following procedures:

Put two tablespoons of sassafras root bark in a quart of water. Let it cook for 3 or 4 minutes from the moment it starts to boil. After this time, remove from heat and let stand, covered, for 10 minutes. Strain and the tea will be ready to drink. Drink two and three cups a day.

Contraindications and other precautions

Sassafras tea is contraindicated during pregnancy and for women who are breastfeeding, as it reduces the volume of breast milk.

In high doses, the plant can have a narcotic effect, and its small, white berries should not be eaten. Because it thins the blood (it is a detoxifying agent for the body), sassafras should be used in small amounts, as very thin blood can cause bleeding.

Remember that every herb should be used with caution and under medical advice, as its toxicity may be unknown.

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