(Member of the Laurel family (Lauraceae)
Known as Tea Tree, Mitten Tree, Cinnamon wood, or Smelling Stick, Sassafras is one of the first things my mother sent me into the woods each spring to dig up. The plant/tree is easy to identify in that it has 4 different shaped leaves.
Mom made sassafras tea and made everyone in the family drink it. She said the reason we got sluggish during the winter was our blood got thick and that’s why we didn’t have any energy so if we thinned our blood by drinking the tea made from the roots, we’d get our energy back.
I’m not sure if sassafras tea contains a blood thinner or not but I do know that it has a laxative effect on me if I drink a lot of it. I think that’s the reason we got our energy back; we were constipated from eating all that greasy fried food and not getting any fresh vegetables or salad during the winter; it ‘cleaned’ us out.
Dig the roots and hose them down to get rid of the dirt. Cut the roots into pieces about 1 inch long. Split the big roots into smaller pieces. Dry the root pieces and bag them for use later on.
To make the tea, bring a large pot of water to the boiling point and throw in a small handful of the root pieces. Cook/simmer until the tea has a nice red color. Strain and serve plain or with milk and sugar. I prefer mine sweetened with honey.
A lot of stores carry the Sassafras tea concentrate so that all you have to do is add a large spoonful to a cup of hot water; it sure beats diggin’.
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