One of the most interesting plants that exists today is the Sassafras tree. The Sassafras tree is more of a shrub than a tree and is well known for several curious and controversial uses. Below are some facts and answers to frequently asked questions about Sassafras Powder.
- Sassafras powder is not dangerous. It is made from the leaves of the Sassafras tree and not the root. This means it does not contain detectable amounts of safrole.
- Safrole, which is a liquid extracted from the root-bark of the Sassafras plant, (and not the leaves where powder comes from) is considered carcinogenic if consumed in large quantities.
- Sassafras has been a main ingredient in root beer. Most commercial root beers use a safrole-free sassafras extract. Sassafras powder from leaves is not used in root beer making.
- Sassafras is most scrutinized because it can be used in the production of MDMA (ecstasy). However, this drug can’t be made using sassafras powder from leaves.
- The Sassafras leaves have been celebrated as a healing plant by Native American people and were used for many medicinal purposes such as treating wounds.
- Sassafras powder is the main ingredient in gumbo file powder. This powder is used to flavor and thicken meat, poultry, and seafood dishes as well as soups, stews and the famous Louisiana Creole gumbo.