Authentic root beer owes it distinctive flavor to Sassafras, a tree native to the eastern U.S. The root or root bark of sassafras can also used to make tea. The leaves are used for thickening sauces and soups, and when dried and ground are known as filé powder, a spice used in Cajun, Creole, and other Louisiana cooking, such as the dish filé gumbo.
Sales of sassafras oil are monitored by the DEA due the fact that it is used in the production of MDMA. The aromatic oil, used for flavoring candies and tea, comes from the bark of the roots. The smell of this oil is said to make an excellent repellent for mosquitoes and other insects, which makes it a nice yard plant.
You can purchase bulk sassafras root from Frontier Natural Products
3 thoughts on “Efficient Native Flavor: Sassafras”
Are you sure 22615 about this?!?
Someone did a study demonstrating that this substance was carcinogenic in rats.
However, Dr. James Duke reports that even if this same carcinogenicity were applicable to humans, a cup of sassafras tea would be 1/14 as carcinogenic as a cup of beer.
The article seems to have left out the fact that sassafrass is carcinogenic.