Sassafras plant has a particularly pleasant taste, making it a popular flavor in medicines. The herb has composite parts that are used in foods such as sassafras root tea, salads, and root beer. It is also a potent medicine that can either be consumed directly or applied topically. In addition, sassafras essential oil is very effective for treating a range of ailments. However, the oil should be used with caution, in small doses, and with the recommendation of a medical doctor.
In fact, sassafras contains many impressive health benefits, including its ability to boost energy, support kidney health, boost dental health, alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, cleanse the body, relieve menstrual pain, eliminate colds, inhibit certain cancers, and boost immunity.
The Health Benefits of Sassafras
Let’s talk about the many amazing health benefits of sassafras.
According to some studies, sassafras contains antiseptic and analgesic properties that have natural anti-microbial properties for fortifying the immune system. The herb serves as a remedy for safeguarding the body against foreign agents as well as pathogens, both internally and externally. Sassafras is also effective for keeping infections at bay, particularly in the stomach and respiratory system, making it potent for fighting off colds.
Sassafras has stimulant effects, making it effective for boosting energy boost. In fact, chewing on the leaves or drinking sassafras tea can significantly take care of extreme fatigue or feelings of sluggishness.
The analgesic effect of sassafras leaves includes its ability to treat wounds as it possesses analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Sassafras root tea is, in fact, effective as a pain-relieving herb. Applying it topically can help relieve aches and pains as well.
While studies are still ongoing on the anti-cancer claim of sassafras, it shows significant antioxidant potential in the body. It facilitates the elimination of free radicals and boosts the immune system. In fact, the plant functions like several other superfoods by minimizing a person’s risk of cell mutation that leads to cancers.
Detoxifies the Body
Sassafras leaves contain diuretic properties that increase urination which, in turn, facilitates the removal of excess fats, toxins, and salts from the body. To boost the health of the kidneys, sassafras tea can help flush the body’s system due to its diuretic effects.
Sassafras is also effective as a remedy for gout and rheumatism. It is common knowledge that inflammation can affect the body’s system adversely. But thankfully, the herb can help alleviate fevers, headaches, arthritic symptoms, and gastrointestinal processes.
Boosts Dental Health
Traditionally, sassafras twigs were used as the early forms of toothbrushes, especially due to its pleasant flavor and antiseptic properties. It is used as a dental disinfectant and for scrubbing your teeth. Interestingly, it is good for the gums as well.
The herb does not only contain pain-relieving properties, it actually helps to speed up the healing process. The stimulant effect of sassafras brings freshly oxygenated blood to the wounded spot, helps to speed up the body’s healing process, and improves metabolism all over the body.
Relieves Menstrual Pain
Due to the analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of sassafras, women who suffer from the painful symptoms of menstruation, such as cramping, bloating, heavy bleeding, and irregular periods can use the herb. Sassafras is a natural remedy that can reduce the discomfort and pain women experience during menstruation.
Good for the Skin
For centuries, sassafras has been used for several topical problems and skin health is one of such issues. The poultice of the leaves of sassafras can be applied to sores, boils, and rashes to minimize inflammation or skin discoloration. In fact, sassafras contains a unique compound known as tannic acid that offers this protective remedy to the skin.
Side Effects and Precautions
Sassafras essential oil, which is known as safrole, is very potent. Although it is safe when used in small doses (especially in foods and beverages that are labeled “safrole-free”), it is likely to be harmful to some people.
It is important to keep in mind that:
- The safrole present in sassafras root oil and bark can lead to liver damage and certain cancers. In fact, “safrole-free” sassafras used for medicinal purposes has been linked with tumors and even death.
- Sassafras can result in hot flashes and excessive sweating. Large doses can lead to skin rashes, hallucinations, high blood pressure, as well as vomiting.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should avoid the use of sassafras. There are reports that sassafras oil might induce a miscarriage.
- Sassafras is harmful to children. In fact, as little as a few drops of sassafras oil may be fatal.
- When used in small doses, sassafras can slow down the central nervous system. This means it can lead to drowsiness and sleepiness. If it is used in combination with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system more than necessary. It is then advisable to avoid the use of sassafras at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Sassafras might worsen urinary tract infections.
The Bottom Line
Sassafras is a plant with leaves and root bark that are used for medicinal purposes. Although there are safety concerns regarding the herb, sassafras is used for treating arthritis, rheumatism, gout, high blood pressure, insect bites, urinary tract disorders, swollen eye, bronchitis, cancer, syphilis, skin problems. It is also effective as a tonic and “blood purifier.”
It is important to also remember that sassafras tea contains high amounts of safrole, the chemical that makes the herb poisonous.
In addition, like we always advise, consult with a medical professional when incorporating an herbal remedy to your health regimen.