Sassafras is here to spice things up this Valentine's Day!

Sassafras is here to spice things up this Valentine's Day!

Sassafras officinale or sassafras albidum, also sometimes referred to as the ague tree is a North American native tree and member of the Lauracea or Laurel family. [1] North American colonists were introduced to the sassafras tree by the natives in Florida. The tree is characterized by having three different leaf shapes, ovate, tri-lobed and mitten-like, and deeply grooved bark that is reddish in color when scraped. [2] Trees are often easily identified by reddish bark that has been scraped off my wildlife.


  • FIBER- yellow dye from wood and bark [3]


    • gumbo filet - louisiana - thickener made from leaves. Grind dried leaves to a powder and serve with stews or soups.

    • Saloop - sassafrsas tea


Precautions & Regulatory Notes

  • Safrole oil

  • James Duke “However, the safrole oil in a 12-ounce can of old fashioned root beer is not as carcinogenic as the alcohol (ethanol) in a can of beer.”

  • Drug Enforcement Agency Advisory

Harvesting & Processing Methods







  1. Bruton-Seal et al., The herbalist's bible: John Parkinson's lost classic -- 82 herbs and their medicinal uses: Theatrum Botanicum (1640) 2019

  2. Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things : Jeanne Rose’s Herbal. New York, Gd/Perigee, 1983.

  3. M Grieve. A Modern Herbal ... London, Tiger Books International, 1994.

  4. Perry Daniel Strausbaugh, and Earl Lemley Core. Flora of West Virginia. Morgantown, 1964.