This North American species of sassafras provides spectacular fall color for east coast residents of Canada and the U.S., as well as food and lodging for various birds and the spicebush swallowtail butterfly. Up until the mid-1970s, the shoot and roots of this tree were used to flavor root beer soft drinks, but has since been banned in the U.S. because its main constituent, safrole, was found to be carcinogenic. The dried leaf, however, is safely and deliciously used in Creole and Cajun cooking as a component of file and gumbo seasoning blends. Sassafras root bark is also used to flavor beverages and to produce natural fragrances and dyes.
Sassafras albidium Named in the 16th century by the famed botanist Nicolas Monardes, the word Sassafras is generally agreed to be a corruption of the Spanish word for saxifrage. Despite this, the latin name developed as Sassafras albidium, and the common name Sassafras stuck. Since this time, it has long since been known for its medicinal and culinary properties, as well as having been the subject of a variety of folklore. With the saplings often growing in clusters, you can usually find larger Sassafras trees in bunches, with many shoots and branches deviating from a main trunk.
Known for this clustering and its distinctive leaves and flowers, it is also famed for the sweet fragrances it is said to produce. Many say that the roots and leaves possess an aroma that reminds them of citrus, though, depending on who you are speaking with, some might tell you that the crushed leaves produce a scent that is very similar to root beer.
In Spanish lore, this Sassafras was well known for its treatment of syphilis, rheumatism, and similar such illness, and it`s leaves still finds use in some regions as a condiment or thickening agent for soups. Some lore also speaks of it in a supernatural light, fearing that if it is burned that it will cause another`s death as it crackles and pops-perhaps in part due to the fact that its oily wood does not burn well, and produces much smoke.
Today, it is mostly viewed as a wonderful ingredient for tea, with many using its bark and leaves to produce a flavorful tea blend. Though there is some controversy over the matter, Sassafras is still often viewed as a potent holistic aid in relieving the pains of menstruation and rheumatism Folklore states sassafras was used as a spring tonic to clean bad blood. It is helpful with eczema, psoriasis, rheumatism and gout. As with all herbs do your own reseach on them.
In Louisiana, the leaves are used as File condiment in sauces, and also for thickening soups Also smoked, in a pipe, the root bark, which is highly aromatic and inebriating makes a wonderful organic smoke.
Magickal uses of Sassafras include health, money and overcoming addictions. Place in wallet or purse to attract money. Use as a prosperity incense. Add to sachets for healing.
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