|Herb Thursdays with Sea-Sassafras|
I better get my herb blog up before the storms hit tonight. I was not sure what I wanted to focus on today, then sassafras came to mine, as it grows wild here along with the oaks and hickorys. Back in the 70s when I lived in North Carolina I always remembered the sassafras plant grew wild every where there too. I love the smell of it too-very woodsy
I always thought it was such a cool plant as it has more than one shaped leaf on the same plant and one of the leaves looks like a hand.
as always good information here http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/s/sassaf20.html
I also remember that in North Carolina the tea from the bark was used as a tonic in the spring. I always went to the health food store and bought me a little bag of bark.
http://au.health.yahoo.com/041101/25/1unv.html?r=967673115 the article here expresses concerns about why not to take sassafras oil based internally
http://www.thedance.com/herbs/sassafras.htm good reading here too, saying not safe to use sassafras in any oil form, but the bark is ok in water.
http://www.glenbrookfarm.com/herbs/sassafras.htm interesting reading here too and a little history found this paragraph informative:
Although Sassafras shrubs and trees are plentiful and grow wild from Maine's Appalachian range to the Ozarks, they cannot be cultivated. The roots have to be dug by hand in the early springtime when the flavor- filled sap is still in the sassafras root.
and from Mother Earth News http://www.motherearthnews.com/Natural-Health/1983-07-01/Mothers-Herb-Garden-Sassafras.aspx an excerpt
Not all of the versatile plant's uses are medicinal. The leaves, dried and powdered, are the file used in Creole cookery to thicken and flavor soups. The dried root bark, steeped to a tea that was served with milk and sugar, made a popular drink called "saloop",offered at almost every street corner in England up through the early 1900's.
In more recent times, the U.S. Food and Drug Administrationin-1960-conducted tests on the chemical constituent safrole which showed that massive amounts fed to rats caused liver cancer in the rodents. This prompted a ban on sales of sassafras tea . . .although not, it
might be remarked, on nutmeg, pepper, star anise, or ordinary China tea, all of which contain the substance. Safrole is practically insoluble in water, however, which may help to account for sassafras tea's long history of evidently safe use.
So, after reading thru these articles I believe sassafras teas made from the bark and then steeped in water would be safe, but do not make a tincture with oil, or use a sassafrass oil as the unsafe safrole component will be released in the oil but not the water.
Recipes with sassafras
Put a handful of bark or a small chunk from a scrubbed sassafras root into an enameled kettle. Put at least a gallon of water in. Boil until it is red in color. Sweeten to taste. The same roots can be used several times. Dig sassafras roots early in the spring before the sap comes up.
this tea recipe comes from http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,173,154165-241205,00.html
http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/request210.asp this link will tell you how to make sassafras wine
more tea http://www.gamecalls.net/wildgamerecipes/sassafrastearecipes.html
do visit this site for sure http://www.southernangel.com/food/sassafras.html a little more history and information and also recipes for candy, mead, and jelly
a recipe for sassafras beer here http://www.abc.net.au/tasmania/stories/s971336.htm