Beemaster's International Beekeeping Forum

ALMOST BEEKEEPING - RELATED TOPICS => FARMING & COUNTRY LIFE => Topic started by: GSF on October 09, 2014, 09:55:22 pm

Title: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 09, 2014, 09:55:22 pm
I went today down in the woods back behind the field and got some sassafras. The goats ate all the small sassafras in their pen. I plan to make a tea out of it and drink it over the weekend. As a child I remember grandmaw Farmer making some for us. Here's an excerpt from the book "Mountain Medicine: The herbal Remedies of Tommie Bass" I love and highly recommend this book, the herbal cures are Alabama specific. I have some dogwood berries drying out as we speak. It'll be a while before I report on the effect. Back to sassafras;

Sassafras is a real old timer and everyone knows about it. When I was a boy, we always used to drink sassafras tea in the springtime. It would thin the blood and pull all of the poisons out of the body. It gives you strength and energy and makes you feel like you can work all day. It's one of the best blood purifiers there is.

If you drink the tea real hot and cover up, it will make you sweat and get rid of colds. Now  mind you, I mean it will make you sweat just like boneset and you will feel like you have run a mile, but you will feel better.

If you have lice, you can make a tea and wash your hair in it. It will kill the lice and make your hair real soft and shiny. You can take sassafras pith and mash it real good in water and put it on sore eyes. It'll make them feel better real fast.

COMMON NAMES; Sassyfras, Ague Tree, Red Sassafras
PARTS USED; Root bark, leaves

Preparation and Use: Take a double handful of the cut up roots and boil in on-half gallon of water on a low boil for 20 minutes. Drink a hot cup and cover with Blankets if you want to sweat. A hot cup of tea and not covering up with heavy blankets will make you sleep like a baby.

An old Southern tradition, drinking sassafras tea as a spring tonic to thin the blood dates way back past recorded history on this continent and, at one time, was a large part of our trade with England, where it had become extremely popular.
Blood purifier and thinner, tonic or source of filet powder, sassafras is one of those literal medicine chests in a tree. If you can't sleep, just drink a warm cup of the tea about an hour before going to bed. It will calm your nerves and put you into a deep, restful sleep for the rest of the night. Have a stubborn cold you just can't seem to get over? Drink hot sassafras tea and feel the wave of relief sweeping over you. Again, is your system run down and you feel sluggish all the time and can't seem to lose those few extra pounds? Sassafras tea may be just the thing you need to get  you over the hump.
One word of advice when it comes to making and drinking sassafras tea.  slowly simmer in spring water to make it sweet and not strong and bitter.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: 10framer on October 09, 2014, 11:48:55 pm
my grandfather taught me how to make sassafras tea.  i read an article not too long ago and found out that it contains something that you find in the drug ecstasy and it also has something that may cause cancer.  take all that for what it's worth, i still might pull up some roots or mark some trees before the leaves fall this year.  every time i think i'm the biggest redneck on here you prove me wrong gary. 
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: BeeMaster2 on October 10, 2014, 07:04:54 am
As a child, we drank sassafras. We were not allowed to drink coke. Most people thought that it still had cocane although I do not think it did. I will have to look up what a sassafras tree looks like and see if we have any doun here in FL.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 10, 2014, 07:23:34 am
One positive way to identify one is to break a new green looking stem and smell it. Good smell and unique.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: 10framer on October 10, 2014, 09:26:38 am
jim, it will have leaves with different numbers of lobes. it also has yellow blooms in early spring.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: jayj200 on October 10, 2014, 09:51:16 am
so will it grow down here? south Florida this tree sounds cool

anyone have  seeds
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: danno on October 10, 2014, 03:32:59 pm
I drank it as a kid and still do on rare occasions but here's a article on how it can cause liver problems including cancer (
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 10, 2014, 10:49:17 pm
Danno, as always, thanks for the info, we need differing opinions so we won't get tunnel vision. I'll have to very much disagree with them folks. (but I'll keep it in mind as well)  My grandparents along with my great grandmother raised me. My grandfather was "THE" jack of all trades in the community during the mid 1900's. He was a lot of stuff, veterinarian, butcher, meat curer, farmer, carpenter, other stuff, and an herbalist. He could cure just about any sick animal.
He had a salve that all I can tell you is it turned blue-ish yellow when applied on you. He used it on all the livestock and all the kids. I can remember folks talking about his salve and how good it healed. All that knowledge went to the grave with him. He managed to teach me a couple of things but I was more interested in smoking pot, drinking, and womanizing in my teens. But I distinctly remember sassafras as part of the medicine chest. I remember hearing my grandma telling him to go get some more roots, one of the kids has a cold, they'll all have it next thing you know.
He died of a heart attack at 75, grandma was 95, and my great grandma was a little over 100. The older I get the more suspicious I get. I can't help but questioning anything the gov't, or a college, or a drug company says. But the main reason is it was normal for folks to drink it when I was growing up, and I drank it as well. Most of those folks died of old age around here.

Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: iddee on October 10, 2014, 11:10:29 pm
I remember back in the 70's when they discovered bacon would cause cancer. Then shortly some wise guy decided to do the math. 250 lbs. of bacon eaten daily for 350 years would give you cancer. Suddenly you quit hearing anything about the bacon cancer.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: danno on October 11, 2014, 03:13:14 pm
As I stated I have always dug roots and always will.   I first heard of it as a carcinagen back in the early 80s but it has not stopped me either.    On the same line I have known beefsteak mushrooms are poisonous for ever and I should add very good eating
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: OzarksFarmGirl on October 11, 2014, 04:13:56 pm
I had my first taste of sassafras tea at the knee of my great granny.  That woman drank it on a regular basis and lived just shy of 100. I still drink it to this day, as do my children (they love it!).  It's so much better than soda.  Winter is the best time to harvest sassafras as that's when the sap is down in the roots and when it's the most beneficial. Speaking of, my big jar of dried sassafras roots is almost empty.   

Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 11, 2014, 09:44:21 pm
Ozarkfarmgirl; How to you make yours? Do you use roots only, or root bark only, or everything from top to bottom?
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: OzarksFarmGirl on October 17, 2014, 04:55:18 pm
GSF, I answered your IM before I saw this post, so I'm posting the reply I sent to you here as well, just in case you miss it or if anyone else wants to know. ;)

I use whole roots that are about the size of a child's chubby pencil (I try to leave anything bigger than that still attached to the plant as to not kill or compromise its health).  As soon as I get the roots to the house I wash them off in cold water, scrubbing them lightly with a nail brush to get off any dirt.  After they are all nice and clean, I cut them up into pieces about 2" in length or so, where they fit nicely into the bottom of my small pot.  The roots  are ready to use right then.  But for storing them for later use, I let them completely dry out before putting them up into a jar (don't want them to mold).  To make the tea, I just take a hand full of the root pieces and toss in the pot, then cover with cool/cold filtered water, bring to a boil, and then steep for about 10-15 minutes.  Then strain.  What you end up with is very strong tea, also called a tincture. Simply add enough water to the brew until it's your preferred strength and either drink plain or add a little bit of honey or raw sugar.  But I don't throw away the used roots just yet. I keep re-using the roots until the tea is past the point where I need to dilute it.  If I'm not going to be re-using the roots right away, I take them and spread them out on a cookie rack (placed over a plate to catch any drips) and let them dry out so that they don't mold in the meantime. 

While there may be other ways of doing it, this is just the way my great-granny taught me, and so that's how I've always done it.   
Oh, and just like with horehound, you can make sassafras candy with the undiluted tea. Reminds me of the "root beer barrels" they used to have.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 17, 2014, 06:56:59 pm
Thanks! I got the PM and read it. You brought out a point I speculated on. That being you could use the roots more than once. The other good point you mentioned was about getting the smaller roots and saving the tree. Although they're not hard to find around here that might change if we dug them all up.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: danno on October 18, 2014, 09:17:42 am
We only use the bark of the roots and only once.   I will have to give the root pc a try.   Thanks for the info
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 18, 2014, 11:12:51 am
Danno, I've read it both ways. Kind of like beekeeping, two different angles for the same thing.
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: Michael Bush on October 20, 2014, 10:21:41 am
They vacillate on the healthy benefits/problems of coffee about every couple of years... I used to be able to get sassafras but since the 70's it has gotten more difficult.  I wish it grew around here... I planted some once and probably should try it again...
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: danno on October 20, 2014, 10:43:49 am
It grows like crazy around here.   I do right of way clearing and spraying as part of my job.    I am a Lic. Commercial Applicator and sassafras is one of the targets. 
Title: Re: Sassafras
Post by: GSF on October 20, 2014, 10:17:26 pm
What's the dosage? What I'm asking is, I know how good it is but I'm not sure if it's a once a year thing or how often. The impression I got from reading is the old timers used it every spring to purify the blood. That would suggest annual. I've just got through with my batch today. Now once the berries dries up I'll do some dogwood tree tonic.