Sassafras is a deciduous tree, with yellow flowers and blue fruits. Every part of this tree has either a medicinal or a culinary benefit, which supports the fact that it has been used for thousands of years. The tree extract was majorly used for making alcoholic root beer. Sassafras tea, however, has gained a lot of importance and is being used across the world for its health benefits.
The tea is made by brewing the crushed root, bark, and leaves in water for 15 minutes. Some choose to add sugar and lemon to this concoction to enhance the taste.
Mentioned below are the health benefits of sassafras tea.
1. Treats Cold And Flu
Sassafras oil present in the roots of this tree has decongestant properties, which can effectively cure the nasal congestion caused due to cold. The soothing properties promoted by the spicy and aromatic flavors treat the symptoms of flu. The flavors induce sweat which is one way of the body to dissipate heat. The tea is also useful in alleviating the symptoms of bronchitis.
2. Acts As A Diuretic
The diuretic properties of sassafras tea can increase urination, which is effective in treating urinary tract infection. Frequent urination removes toxins at a faster rate, promoting quicker healing. This indirectly improves your kidney health.
3. Strengthens The Digestive System
Sassafras tea relieves problems associated with the gastrointestinal tract. It improves digestion, prevents constipation and diarrhea, and detoxifies the liver. The detoxification occurs by stimulating the liver to release toxins, which are flushed out of the body.
4. Acts As A Blood Thinner
The anti-coagulant properties of sassafras tea make it an efficient blood thinner. It thins and purifies the blood, given, it is consumed within the permissible limits. The body then flushes out the excess toxins due to the aforementioned diuretic properties.
5. Boosts Energy
Sassafras tea has stimulants which give you a boost of energy, just like coffee. If you are feeling lethargic and sluggish, a hot cup of this tea does the trick. It helps you overcome fatigue and weakness caused due to excess physical activity.
6. Fights Arthritis
In most of the cases, an illness is caused due to the production or presence of toxins in the body. Arthritis is one such disease which is characterized by the inflammation of joints. As sassafras tea has the ability to remove toxins from the body, it can effectively manage arthritis.
7. Treats Skin Ailments
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of this tea make it a perfect solution for skin problems. Apart from the topical application of the tree extract, drinking sassafras tea heals the skin problems from within. Some of the diseases it can treat are eczema, insect bites, and skin irritation.
Note Of Caution
Sassafras tree contains safrole, the component that gives sassafras its flavor. It is a poisonous chemical, which if consumed even in quantities as less as 1 gm can have adverse effects. The side effects might range from nausea, vomiting, skin inflammation, sweating, to mental confusion, and chest pain. Higher doses might even prove fatal.
According to studies, one cup of tea made with 2.5 grams of sassafras contains about 200 mg of safrole. This is about 4.5 times the dose which is approved permissible. So, in 1976, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the usage of sassafras tea.
However, there are sassafras products available in the market which are “safrole free,” but the safety of their usage still stands questionable. Therefore, if you are planning to use this tree as a part of your routine or for a therapeutic benefit, check with your doctor before consuming it.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women, patients with hypertension, cardiovascular disorder, and kidney disease should strictly avoid sassafras tea.