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What Does Sassafras Taste Like?

Many people wonder what sassafras taste like, especially after the ban on the popular root beer in the 1960s.  While you’re unsure of what sassafras taste is somewhat similar to the flavor of eucalyptus, lemon, and anise. This tree is a native of the United States and is the only one of the eight spices globally that are not native to a tropical region. It was traditionally used to make sodas, and the safrole it contains was used to produce the popular Creole dish gumbo.

The leaves and stems of the sassafra plant have a slightly bitter taste, but the flavor of the fruit is sweet. Some people have described its flavor as resembling a blueberry in a red cup. However, it is not edible and should only be consumed in moderation. For this reason, consuming it in its new form should be limited.

What is Sassafras?

Sassafras is a genus that belongs to the Lauraceae family, which includes other well-known spices like cinnamon and bay leaves. It was once thought to be a miracle cure for various ailments. Summer green leaves on sassafras trees can be found in three different shapes. They can be oval, mitten-shaped, or divided into three lobes, and a single tree can have all three types of leaves. The leaves, twigs, berries, and roots are all edible parts of the tree, and they have a strong aroma when crushed.

On the other hand, the root is the most commonly used part, which is dug, dried, and powdered. Sassafras has a unique taste. In the early 1800s, it was primarily consumed by the Indians in Louisiana. Today, it is grown and harvested in the southern United States and is a popular herb in many parts of the world. Despite its unsavory reputation, sassafra is still used to make tea, and it’s a traditional drink in many parts of the country.

What does Sassafras Taste Like?

The flavor of sassafra is very similar to that of root beer. The leaves and stems of the plant have an earthy, nutty flavor. Sassafras is a fragrant spice with an earthy flavor and anise and lemon notes. It pairs well with various other herbs and complements a variety of dishes and curries. Sassafras teas, including commercial tea bags, are popular as refreshing beverages with a strong aroma that wakes you up. If you enjoy root beer, you’ll probably enjoy sassafras as well. They have a similar flavor, and sassafras is even thought to be the forerunner of root beer.

Sassafras has a flavor similar to vanilla or licorice, in addition to the citrus flavor. Sassafras has been used as a medicine by South American natives for a long time, and many modern studies back this up. They work as a diuretic, lowering blood pressure, increasing urine output, and reducing bloating. Several compounds have also been found to reduce inflammation and aid in healing. Some sassafras compounds fight a parasitic infection known as leishmaniasis in tropical areas.

So, why did the FDA ban sassafras despite their apparent health benefits? In several studies, safrole, a chemical compound found in sassafras, has been linked to cancer and tumor growth in mice. Although no human trials have proven that sassafras is carcinogenic, it is widely regarded as a potential health hazard. However, there are several safrole-free sassafras products that you can safely consume.

Sassafras has Several Health Benefits

The health benefits of sassafras are numerous, and its safrole-rich content is responsible for most of them.

Skin Rejuvenation

Sassafras has long been used to treat various ailments, including skin problems. If you have boils, sores, rashes, or excessive marks on your skin, apply a poultice of sassafras leaves to the affected areas to reduce the inflammation and discoloration. These benefits and protective measures for the skin are thought to be provided by the presence of tannic acid and a unique compound called Sassafras.

Reduces Inflammation

Rheumatism and gout are two of the most common uses of sassafras, and it has been a trusted remedy for thousands of years in various parts of the world. Because inflammation affects the body in so many ways, this remarkable plant can also help with gastrointestinal issues, arthritis symptoms, and headaches in some cases. One of the oldest uses of this versatile plant is as a fever reducer!

Immunity Booster

According to modern research, sassafras has analgesic and antiseptic properties, and these natural anti-microbial properties are ideal for boosting the immune system. This remedy can be a sweet-smelling shield for your overall health by protecting the body against foreign agents and pathogens both internally and externally. It can also help prevent infections in the stomach and respiratory system, so this plant was traditionally used to prevent colds before they started.

Dental Hygiene

Because of the pleasant flavor (similar to root beer) and natural antiseptic properties, sassafras twigs have been used as toothbrushes for centuries. Using it as a dental disinfectant is still a viable option, and if you really want to go old school, grab a twig and scrub your teeth. Your gums may thank you!

Potential anti-cancer properties

Although safrole, a component of sassafras, has sparked debate for various reasons, it has also piqued interest due to its anticancer potential. Safrole was found to induce apoptosis in a 2015 study that looked into its viability as a carcinogen in the case of gastric cancer. Its anti-hepatoma effects were investigated in another study published in the International Journal of Clinical & Experimental Pathology. It suggests that safrole may be useful in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Safrole has been shown to have antitumor and chemopreventive effects against cancers such as gastric cancer, blood cancer, tongue cancer, oral cancer, prostate cancer, bone cancer, and lung cancer in various studies (including animal studies).

Pain is relieved

Sassafras’ analgesic properties are well known, and the tree’s leaves were commonly wrapped around wounds for their anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. In some natural healing communities, sassafras tea is still used for pain relief, and topical applications for aches and pains are popular.

Heals Injuries

It’s one thing to relieve pain from a wound, but it’s quite another to speed up the healing process. The stimulant nature of this remedy causes freshly oxygenated blood to rush to the site of the wound, speeding up the body’s natural healing process and increasing metabolic processes all over the body.

Enhances Energy

If you’re feeling a little sluggish, the stimulant nature of this plant can help you feel a little more energized. Chewing the leaves or drinking a cup of sassafras tea are both effective ways to rev up your internal engines and overcome fatigue or weakness.

Menstrual Pain Relief

Sassafras’ analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties are a godsend for women suffering from painful menstrual symptoms like bloating, cramping, and heavy bleeding. For thousands of years, this natural remedy has helped women cope with menstruation pain, and herbalists still recommend it to women who have particularly painful periods.

The Body Is Detoxified

Sassafras leaves are a well-known diuretic that increases urination and thus helps the body eliminate excess toxins, salts, and fats. The best way to improve the health and function of your kidneys is to flush your system with a diuretic, and sassafras tea is an excellent choice.

Is Sassafras Licorice-like in Flavor?

They have a similar flavor profile, and sassafras is often mistaken for root beer. Aside from the citrus flavor, it has a vanilla or licorice flavor. In some studies, safrole, a chemical component found in sassafras, has been linked to cancer and tumor growth in mice.

Is Sassafras the Same as Root Beer in Terms of Meaning?

Both beverages are named after the distinct differences in ingredients used in their creation. Sarsaparilla was made with the roots of the sassafras plant, and Root Beer was made with the roots of the sassafras plant. Sassafras is no longer used in Root Beer recipes because the plant has been linked to health issues.

Is the Sassafras Plant Poisonous?

Sassafras was a popular flavoring agent in both candy and drinks to enhance root beer flavor, and tea was also made with it. On the other hand, the tea sassafras contains a lot of safrole, the toxic chemical found in sassafras. Safrole is 200 mg per cup of tea made from 2.5 kilograms of sassafras.

Where can you Find Sassafras?

Even though the United States Food and Drug Administration has banned safrole as a food additive and flavoring, sassafras and products containing sassafras can still be found. In many cases, a safrole-free extract is used in these products. Sassafras tea, essential oils, and other sassafras-based products are available.
Sassafras tea is still produced and sold in some areas despite the ban.

Other establishments continue to provide recipes for homemade brews. SouthernHumorists.com has several sassafras-based recipes, including sassafras jelly, candy, and even mead. The majority of sassafras-based products on the market today do not contain safrole. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t be cautious and do your homework.

At best, Sassafras has a shaky past. Despite its widespread use in early America, the current prohibition makes this a potential herbal treatment that many experts advise against. With side effects ranging from allergies to hallucinations and the possibility of cancer, sassafras is no longer as popular as it once was. Despite this, many people enjoy the flavorful addition sassafras brings to teas, candy, and other dishes.

What are the Uses of Sassafras?

  • While the plant’s leaves and twigs smell like a ginkgo tree, the actual fruit is not. You can eat the sassafra leaf or stalk, and the leaves and stems are edible, but the root is better for making tea. The tree’s jelly is sweet and tastes like a blueberry, but it’s not edible.
  • Its roots are used for tea and other recipes, and the sassafra powder is commonly found in soups and stews. If you’re curious about what it tastes like, you can purchase it online and buy a sassafra extract.
  • Unlike other herbs, sassafra has a strong, earthy flavor. It is not addictive and is a good addition to spice racks. The only downside to sassafras taste is its toxic nature.
  • It can be added to various dishes, but it is best consumed in small doses. Whether you’re a health-conscious person or just looking for a tasty alternative to your favorite root beer, sassafra is worth trying.
  • While sassafra has a sour, citrus-like flavor, sassafras flavor is reminiscent of root beer, and it’s hard not to get high from sassafra tea. Its benefits outweigh its taste, but remember to consume sassafra in moderation.


Sassafras has a distinct aroma. When brewed, it smells similar to root beer. It’s a bitter herb with a distinctly strong taste. Its leaves are edible and can be eaten raw. The berries are popular with songbirds and black bears, but they can be toxic in large doses. Although there is no known way to consume sassafra, it is important to note that sassafra can be poisonous.

The leaves of sassafra are oval and divided into three lobes. The root of sassafras is a good addition to any recipe because it is a diuretic. Its leaves are edible, but sassafras tea is the most common ingredient.