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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I'm enjoying a cold glass of this right now.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras

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 (emphasis mine) 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.

During the establishment of the Virginia Colony, including Jamestown in the seventeenth century, sassafras was a major export commodity to England. A medicinal root and a wood prized for its beauty and durability, sassafras was popular from its first import by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1602 until the eighteenth century. There was a brief period of time in the early seventeenth century in which sassafras was the second largest export from America behind tobacco.

Now you know why tea was dumped in the harbor at the Boston Tea Party!

You would have to drink a gallon a day, 7 days a week for many years, to cause this tea to do you any harm! The tests above were conducted with large doses of safrole, much more than you would get in gallon of the tea. However, there have cases reported where individuals show evidence of being alergic to Sassafras Tea!
 

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Yep! They grow all over the place down here.
 

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Not just tea! The wood from the Sassafras tree is also a really good wood for making fire, full of natural oils. Ever had gumbo? Down here in the south we add a little filé (pronounced fe-ley) to our gumbo. Filé is made from the leaves of the tree. There are several medical usages also.
 

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Concentrated Sassafras tea is also a mild hallucinogenic! Found that out by accident when me and a friend made up a batch that was on the strong side and we did a little research.
I did not know that!

When I was a kid, I would head out into the woods with a camping shovel, ax, matches and a metal pot. I would dig, cut, boil and drink this stuff by the gallon - -
That might explain some of the stranger events of my childhood, though - - -
 

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Concentrated Sassafras tea is also a mild hallucinogenic! Found that out by accident when me and a friend made up a batch that was on the strong side and we did a little research.
Are you going to post that recipe!:D
 

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Carver, I would really like the recipe that you use. I was raised on the stuff and have access to a grove of the trees on our family farm, but have no idea how my mother prepared it, other than boiling the roots.:)
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
That's the way it's done. Dig the roots, it they are active they will smell like root beer! Wash off the dirt, cut them up into slivers about 4" long, bark, and all, then boil them. The longer you boil them the stronger the tea gets. I usually just throw in about a half a cup of cut up roots, and boil for a few minutes. I just watch the color, and when I think it's right, I strain the tea thru a tea strainer into a gallon jug that has some water in it. Fill the gal jug up with water, add sweetner to taste, stir, and pour over ice. Do not throw away the roots you have boiled, you can use them again!
 

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You betcha...Brew up a big pot almost every time I go to the camp...Good over ice or mixed with a little soda water and sugar...instant and natural Root Beer..
 

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been years since I have had some! no trees where i have been for a long time! anyone willing to ship me some roots?
 

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been years since I have had some! no trees where i have been for a long time! anyone willing to ship me some roots?
They grow from Ohio to the gulf thru the Eastern U.S. You just need to find some where you live in SC. Check with some wild life management types, and they just love to grow along fence rows.
 

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Hi everyone. I just joined the forum and found this thread. I live in West Virginia and we use Sassafra tea quite often during the winter months. We harvest the root and found that it tasted better during the winter months as most of the sap is in the root at this time of year yielding more flavor. I also have links to this on my website at and will be posting a new video on the site very soon on how to harvest and make the tea.
 

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That was our favorite tea when we were kids. It was fun to go find the roots.
 

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The house I lived in in 1974 & 5 had the trees in the fence row. As I remember, I used the ends of the branches to make tea.
 

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I did not know that!

When I was a kid, I would head out into the woods with a camping shovel, ax, matches and a metal pot. I would dig, cut, boil and drink this stuff by the gallon - -
That might explain some of the stranger events of my childhood, though - - -
I'd like to hear some of the these 'strange' events. :D
 
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