Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name : Sassafras officinale

Synonyms: Sassafras varifolium. Laurus Sassafras. Sassafrax. Sassafras radix.

Common Names : Sassafras

Parts Used: Bark-root and the root, pith.

Habitat: Sassafras is  native to eastern North America and eastern Asia.

Sassafras trees grow from 9–18 m (30–59 ft) tall and spreading 7.5–12 m (25–39 ft). The trunk grows 70–150 cm (28–59 in) in diameter, with many slender branches, and smooth, orange-brown bark. The branching is sympodial. The bark of the mature trunk is thick, red-brown, and deeply furrowed. The wood is light, hard, and sometimes brittle. All parts of the plants are very fragrant. The species are unusual in having three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant, unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten-shaped), and trilobed (three-pronged); the leaves are hardly ever five-lobed. They have smooth margins and grow 7–20 cm long by 5–10 cm broad. The young leaves and twigs are quite mucilaginous, and produce a citrus-like scent when crushed. The tiny, yellow flowers are five-petaled, and bloom in the spring; they are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. The fruit are blue-black, egg-shaped, 1 cm long, produced on long, red-stalked cups, and mature in late summer. The largest sassafras tree in the United States is located in Owensboro, Kentucky, which measures over 100 feet high and 21 feet in circumference.
The name “sassafras,” applied by the botanist Nicolas Monardes in the 16th century, is said to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage.

*Sassafras albidum (Nuttall) Nees – sassafras, white sassafras, red sassafras or silky sassafras, eastern North America, from southernmost Ontario, Canada through the eastern United States, south to central Florida, and west to southern Iowa and East Texas.

*†Sassafras hesperia (Berry) – from the Eocene Klondike Mountain Formation of Washington and British Columbia.

*Sassafras tzumu (Hemsl.) Hemsl. – Chinese sassafras or Tzumu, central and southwestern China, it differs from S. albidum in the leaves being more frequently three-lobed, the lobes having a tapered acuminate apex (not rounded to weakly acute).

*Sassafras randaiense (Hayata) Rehd. – Taiwanese sassafras, Taiwan, is treated by some botanists in a distinct genus as Yushunia randaiensis (Hayata) Kamikoti, though this is not supported by recent genetic evidence, which shows Sassafras to be monophyletic.

Medicinal Uses:

Parts Used: Bark-root and the root, pith.

Chemical constituents: Significant phytochemicals include alkaloids, boldine, elemicin, phellandrene, safrene, safrole, tannin, and thujone. (7)
Pharmacy.Tincture of the root by percolation.

Aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic, alterative. It is rarely given alone, but is often combined with guaiacum or sarsaparilla in chronic rheumatism, syphilis, and skin diseases.

The oil is said to relieve the pain caused by menstrual obstructions, and pain following parturition, in doses of 5 to 10 drops on sugar, the same dose having been found useful in gleet and gonorrhoea.

Safrol is found to be slowly absorbed from the alimentary canal, escaping through the lungs unaltered, and through the kidneys oxidized into piperonalic acid.

A teaspoonful of the oil produced vomiting, dilated pupils, stupor and collapse in a young man.

It is used as a local application for wens and for rheumatic pains, and it has been praised as a dental disinfectant.

Its use has caused abortion in several cases.

Dr. Shelby of Huntsville stated that it would both prevent and remove the injurious effects of tobacco.

A lotion of rose-water or distilled water, with Sassafras Pith, filtered after standing for four hours, is recommended for the eyes.

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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