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wvgardener
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Joined: Sun Mar 30, 2008 1:45 am
Location: West Virginia

Sassafras Trees?

I was wondering if anyone here knew much about sassafras trees.
I live in the country, and it grows around here, so I was wanting to know a little more about it.
I know how to get the roots for tea, but what about storing them? And how much is needed to make half a gallon or so?
I've also read that sassafras contains a carcinogen called safrole, but it is no worse than beer or wine. Safrole can be removed for things such as root beer, but how is it removed?
Also, can the leaves be used to make tea? I haven't read anything about it, but if it is possible, what are the steps?


I was just curious...any new information would be great!

Thanks.

TheLorax
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Posts: 1416
Joined: Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:40 am
Location: US

I know how to propagate Sassafras albidum and I know that this is a tree that idealistically should be planted in full sun. Can tolerate drought. Pleasing shape to this tree. You'll want to buy a few to make sure you get a male and a female. Leaves are interesting although the blooms are somewhat insignificant on the females. Excellent fall color. Sassafras albidum is a great wildlife species. Leaves are an important source of larval food for swallowtail butterflies. In the fall, it develops red fruits but they don't last long as the birds pick the trees clean.

Don't believe it's a good idea to use sassafras for human consumption but I know people do it. I think there are other concerns regarding its use other than merely its carcinogenic properties. Grow the tree for its beauty but not to make tea, toothpaste, or rootbeer. I thought it was banned in the US, maybe not. If you want to make your own rootbeer, try getting a recipe that uses Smilax officinalis (Sarsaparilla).

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