Sassafras Tea au naturale in Virginia - No! - Safrole was found to be a carcinogen and banned as a food additive in the 1960's.

Here is a young tree with mostly three lobed leaves. Sassafras trees can have three different shaped leaves on the same tree. Sassafras root / bark tea in its natural form is suspected to cause cancer therefore it is no longer considered safe or used to make root beer. Artificial flavorings are substituted for the "real thing." That's good news for the Sassafras Trees I guess..... well at least for this Chesterfield County one!
Photo by Carolyn Hietala


Jim Robb said...

The banned ingredient in Sassafras is safrole. Safrole is found in black pepper, nutmeg and basil. It's carcinogenic effects are questionable.

There are toxins everywhere, but to match the equiv. doses that are fed to rats to make them have cancer as staggering. Remember that sassafras was considered a bigger American export to Europe than tobacco because of it's tonic effects.

I think the jury is still out on Sassafras.
Remember, tobacco is considered cancer-causing, but it has not been banned, and, leaded gas was used in ALL NASCAR races until THIS YEAR, even though it had been "Banned" in the US.

Carolyn Hietala said...

Thank you so much for your input Jim.
I was VERY surprised and yes concerned about the information I was able to find on the internet about sassafras tea because as a young adult I made & ingested on several occasions the tea made from sassafras roots.... oops! Thanks again for your comments,

Add to Technorati Favorites