Sassafras and Distilled Sassafras Oil: Skin Diseases and Natural Plant Remedies

Sassafras tea and distilled sassafras oil

Location: The sassafras plant can be found in the Eastern United States, Canada to Florida and Mexico.

Description: The Sassafras plant is a member of the laurel family which grows to approximately 10 metres in height.

Leaves and bark: The plant has a characteristic reddish bark and carries three different shapes of leaves. These leaves are thick, smooth on the upper side and hairy on the underside. One is three-lobed, another oval in shape and the other shaped like a mitten. Leaves have a root beer-like smell when torn or crushed.

Roots: The roots of the plant large and woody, reddish or grey brown and are very fragrant. It is said to have an aromatic and astringent type of flavor.

Flowers: It is a flowering plant. In spring the plant produces and tiny yellow five-petal flower.

Fruit: The flowers develop into a blue-black/reddish, oval-shaped half inch fruit containing one seed.

Usable parts of the plant: Bark, leaves and stems.

Curative properties

Sassafras is known to have medicinal properties which are useful in the

following manner:

  • Sedative: a boiled liquid of the roots used for bothersome skin diseases such as psoriasis
  • Stimulant: a boiled liquid of the roots used for stimulating the thyroid gland
  • Diuretic: a boiled liquid of the roots used for rheumatism

Uses and Preparations

How to make Sassafras Tea and more.

Leaves: Pour boiling water over a handful of leaves and allow to sit covered for approximately 20mins. Strain and use. The roots of the saplings of this plant are found to be even better for this purpose.

Roots: Place 2 teaspoons of powered/crushed/crumbled root in a pot with 1 cup of water and allow to sit for 10mins. Bring to a boil then decrease heat and allow to continue boiling over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain. Roots can be reused.

Root Beer: To use the prepared liquid to make root beer simply chill the boiled liquid, add honey to sweeten and some sparkling water for fizz.

Oral hygiene: Twigs from the plant can be chewed on to freshen the breath.

Perfume: A fragrant oil which is distilled from the rootbark is used in the manufacture of perfumes and in soaps.

Distilled Sassafras oil: Sassafras oil is obtained from the dried root bark chips through the process of steam distillation. Oil of sassafras is largely used as flavoring. Other uses of the oil include being used to alleviate menstrual pain, rheumatic pain as well as a dental disinfectant among other uses not mentioned here.


Take one cup of the boiled liquid three times daily.

As is the case with all conventional medications it is best that persons taking herbal medicines be aware of the active ingredients of the substance they are taking into their bodies as well as the dosage. It is well advised that persons who take herbal medicines do a thorough research and advise themselves accordingly.

Active ingredients in the sassafras plant: Traces of essential oils, glucosidase, saponin, sitosterol, resin, sugar and fat.


It is said that a ban was placed on the use of sassafras by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because it was found to cause cancer. This seems to be in some dispute and as such might be inconclusive, but as usual, it is best to be advised.

Distilled sassafras oil is said to be able to produce narcotic poisoning and even cause death. It causes death through a degeneration of the internal organs such as the heart, kidneys and liver.

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