How to Make Sassafras Tea

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Introduction: How to Make Sassafras Tea

Sassafras tea has long been forgotten by most. Mostly due to the ban of its commercial use in the early 1960's. Luckily enough for me, my family has always cherished it, and has passed on this trait through the generations.

Disclaimer: Safrole oil, a key component of sassafras tea was declared carcinogenic by the FDA...try this at your own risk.

Step 1: What You Need...

like any tea you need...

water
pot(to put water in...just to clarify)
lid
and of course Sassafas roots.

Sassafras roots will need to be dug from a sassafras tree in spring, and dried...I still have some I keep stored in the freezer. This spring I will put up an instructable on identifying and harvesting Sassafras.

Step 2: Preparation

Start by getting a few roots, and washing them off in the sink. The reason being, is that Sassafras roots like most roots are found in dirt. I generally will just rinse them, and rub any dirt off. You may decide to use soap, but if you do make sure that you rinse them really well.

Step 3: Now...

...fill a pot with water. I normally will just fill it half-full, but more water will be needed for more people. Also, for larger servings or stronger tea, add more roots.

In most tea's you pour hot/boiling water on whatever your making tea out of and let it steep. With Sassafras however you need to put them in while the water is still cool, and let it stay in the pot and boil until it turns a deep red color.

Start by turning the stove all the way up, but once it reaches a rolling boil turn it down a little so that it doesn't boil quite as violently. Now just wait and watch until it turns a deep red color(this may take a little while). Then, continue on to the next step.

Step 4: Steeping

Once the tea turns the desired, deep red color, it's time to start steeping. Steeping will give the tea better flavor, and also give a little bit more time to cool off. Put the lid on the pot and let it sit for five minutes.

Step 5: Enjoy!

It is now finished, but can be sweetened if desired. Another thing about Sassafras tea is that it needs to be served hot. When ever it is drank cold it acquires a different flavor, and leaves a funny after-taste in your mouth. Also, it is just all around better hot. It tastes amazing and smells great. almost like rootbeer, but healthier, and better tasting.

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    33 Comments

    Years ago, when pregnant, I had intractable nausea/vomiting for the first 3 months. I was afraid to take any drugs and just toughed it out through the first 2 babies.. Then I found sassafras tea at the store--it came in a concentrate and all you had to do was dilute it to taste. Worked wonderfully! Didn't know back then about any possible carcinogenic effects, but it's still available in our southern stores commercially. BTW, the 4 babies came out (and still are :0) perfect!

    Im happy to here it worked but the safrol in the sassafras can cause a miscarriage. but I'm happen that wasn't the case with you. :)

    I used to make this tea growing up. I would go out in the woods and pull up the tree chop off the root and dry it after it was dried I would make me a camp fire and chop the root down enough to put in a small pot boil it for a couple minutes and drink up with a little sugar or sweeter. It was awesome.

    My dad used to dig up sassafras roots and then make the best tea ever. He died when I was a teen and I remember that tea. You can buy sassafras root on eBay. I am glad to learn how to make sassafras tea because it reminds me of my childhood and my dad.

    A pinch of table salt will reduce bitterness. I like mine dark to very dark in color after steeping. More the color of dark coffee than of tea. A heaping teaspoon of root chunks will produce several cups even a quart of tea easily. one may brew a mug then refill the mug and steep again but longer then brew overnight. to extract a third mug for maximum value and in my case maximum enjoyment with a lot of sugar, very smooth.

    I'm very glad to have found this instructable. Thank you. On my mother's side, my family is Native American...Blackfoot to be exact...and my great-grandmother had all sorts of precious knowledge about treating sickness with herbs, barks, leaves, & other flora. Most of this knowledge was lost when she passed bc she didn't write it down. However, there is a genetic blood disorder in my family that causes the blood to be over-coagulated (thick & prone to clots.) We know that my great-grandfather had it, and that Nana treated it in him by giving him sassafras tea because she "knew" that sassafras root has natural anti-clotting/blood-thinning properties. I don't know if that claim is currently backed by medicinal science, but we believe that she knew her stuff, bc they both lived into their late nineties. We now have people whom are having issues with traveling blood clots that can often be lethal, & theyve taken the usual medicines to no avail. We're glad to find someone who knows how to make the tea. Thank you. And we hope there was nothing else in grandpa's tea, but she always just said "sassafras."

    Interesting. My grandmother used to make this tea & she was also Blackfoot. I didn't know it's medicinal purpose; we just liked it. My mom still makesr it occasionally.

    I boiled it for an hour, is that long enough? Also, it doesnt look deep red but neither does yours. Maybe my colour perception is different. Mine looks pretty similar to yours though. Is that the right color i guess?

    I like it cold. One way to help release the oils is to pound the root prior to boiling it.

    Dig sassafras in fall or spring or winter thaw when leaves are gone and the sap is down. The root bark is the most beneficial. Experiment with how much to boil to your liking. I have drank out of one pot of it for months. I just add more water and a few more roots. Mom used to boil it strong and use it to make root beer hard candy. The same with Anise root to make clear liquorish hard candy.