Introduction: How to Make Sassafras Tea

Picture of 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...

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like any tea you need...

pot(to put water in...just to clarify)
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

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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...

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...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

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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!

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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.


sylviahamilton (author)2017-04-28

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!

JohnS940 (author)2016-07-03

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.

SuperPuma (author)2016-05-07

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.

davidkp (author)2016-02-15

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.

calliope.lyric (author)2015-01-28

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.

OLawdy (author)2015-03-21

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?

lisa.m.dishner (author)2015-01-13

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

arthur.hall.1238 (author)2014-11-30

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.

ROCKETMAN (author)2014-11-10

Thank you for the information. Now I know why three local herb and tea shops don't carry Sassafras Tea. It also precludes me from harvesting and selling Sassafras Root for making tea wholesale to local merchants.

AnthonyB1 (author)2014-07-26

There are a couple of different type sassafras trees. Which type is used?

Zaphod Beeblebrox (author)2009-12-27

cool i might do this if i remember to

cool dude, i think the tests they did were inaccurate. They tested it on rats, and a certain chemical or somethin like that would show up in the rat urine that proved it carcinogenic, yet that indicator didn't show up in humans who drank it. so it could be a total coincidence that rats are sensitive to it and not humans. That and my family and others on the web that have drank it all their life never developed cancer.

kikiclint (author)harley_rly2014-01-09

They tested with straight safrole oil, at amounts that would require drinking deadly amounts of rootbeer for sheer overhydration. It took 30 days of being fed pretty much only safrole oil before anything happened. Do the same thing with most anything and things go out of balance in a body. the quantity within the tea/rootbeer should be low enough that it won't hurt your, or won't do enough damange that your body can't readily fix. Aspirin probably is worse for you. You can find sassafras root from mountain rose herbs.


btw cut ur hair tho!!

lol...whats with people always dissin' my hair

what's with it? well at first glance i thought you were a girl,it took me a sec to realize u werent

if the cup wasn't there it wouldnt be as hard to realize

actualy before i was looking at ur profile pic,haha

u still need to cut ur hair

i'll let ya know if i ever cut it...don't be expecting to hear from me lol

go bald!

jaycobra (author)2011-05-13

Be Carefull, sometime ants love to live in these.

harley_rly (author)jaycobra2011-07-07

It's fine. Worst that could happen is ya get a lil' extra protein in your tea. lol

jaycobra (author)2011-05-13

I have Sassafras growing all over my property, so much that I can get it at any time. Years ago when I was in the military, one of the sgt's taught me about this. beem waiting a long time to have some again.

MsJaxFla (author)2010-07-16

I did not know the FDA had outlawed Sassafras. No wonder I have not found it in so many years. Anyone know if you can buy seeds or such in Jax, Fla? I would like to grow it for myself, just for the sake of it all. Also, when I last had and made the tea, I chopped the roots up a bit and or you can grate them a bit..... makes more tea, but I am sure no expert or such. I would like to try it again, so if you know a place to find it. NO rip off folks please! Thanks for the info.

harley_rly (author)MsJaxFla2010-09-03

I just go out in the woods(I live in the country)during spring and dig it up. I don't know if it grows there, but it would be worth it to look it up and find out.

MsJaxFla (author)harley_rly2011-03-28

Oh thank you so much harley_rly. I am not knowledgable (sp) enough to do this... and I am not going in the woods alone now. When I was a kid, I could have done so.... but not now. Plus, I don't know what it looks like in it's green mode.

Again, thank you so much for your help.

Sheryll & Critters.

harley_rly (author)MsJaxFla2011-05-10

Good news, the FDA ban on it is only for the safrole oil within the root, and i believe its only banned in commercial use. I seen some for sale at a health food store in one of the larger cities here in Oklahoma, also you can probably find a website that sales it

seltzer10 (author)2010-02-24

hey man i would like to say that you do not need to dry the sassafras to use it the best sassafras tea i had was literally using roots i dug up an hour before use.  People, this is a comment section for comments pertaining to the topic at hand not hair i would like these postings to be on the topic of tea.

hey dude im going to post another instructible on sassafras tea not to steal your thunder but to add to this great topic.

harley_rly (author)seltzer102010-03-01

hmmm, i'll try the fresh root dill here pretty soon. but yeah its cool if you post another ible, let me know when its finished man

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