Sassafras, found mostly in the eastern United States, is characterized by its’ three distinct leaves on the same tree – unlobed or oval (top left); bilobed or mitten-shaped (top right); and trilobed (bottom). If you’ve living in New York City like I do, you can find it in Prospect Park. Root beer was originally made from sassafras until the FDA banned it in the late 1960s as a potential carcinogen, but no human studies have ever been made and many believe the ban to be unwarranted. (Read more about that here.)

The roots of a sassafras sapling can be uprooted and used to make a damn good tea – it tastes just like root beer – so next time you’re out east and want something other than pine needle tea, look around for some sassafras. It won’t hurt you.


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One Response to Sassafras

  1. Eric September 28, 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    Man, I love sassafras tea. Something I miss about living on the east coast.

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