Mother Earth's Medicine Cabinet: The Healing Benefits of Sassafras

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum) is actually a really versatile healing plant, and it looks really interesting, too - often times one bunch of this herb can contain different types of leaves!  This tree smells so amazing -- every part of it has a strong, sweet aroma that’s almost relaxing.

Sassafras tea is my go-to for a nice body detox after a long winter. Not only does it help detoxify your system, but it also gives your body a natural energy boost – which is perfect to get you ready for gardening! Sassafras tea is full of healthy vitamins, minerals, and much more. Native Americans used every bit of the tree for medicinal purposes, food, and various other cultural rituals. Not only is sassafras its own medicine, but it is actually used to flavor other medicines to make them taste better. Just like with anything used to detoxify your system, sassafras shouldn’t be consumed regularly or it can have negative effects on your body. It is something that should be enjoyed every once in a while when you’re not feeling well or if you need to cleanse your system.

Sassafras tea has several medicinal and health benefits. I want to share with you five of them. I’ve mentioned before that sometimes things that affect more than one of your senses at a time can have what seems like a bonus effect. Sassafras does just that!  So here goes…

  1. Detoxification – Sassafras leaves have been used for centuries for their diuretic properties. Diuretics increase the flow of urine which is how the body flushes out all of the extra salts, toxins, and fats. Detoxification for your kidneys is important in order to maintain the body and keep it operating at its best.
  2. Anti-inflammatory – Not only is Sassafras tea good for treating overall inflammation, but it is also very helpful to women dealing with cramps, bloating, and heavy bleeding during menstruation. The anti-inflammatory properties produced by sassafras also provide a decent amount of pain relief.
  3. Immune Booster – The anti-microbial and antiseptic properties make sassafras tea an awesome immune booster. It’s almost like letting a little militia loose in your body sent to protect you from pathogens and harmful bacteria. If you are prone to stomach or lung infections this tea is something to add to your shopping list.
  4. Pain Relief – Not only do the anti-inflammatory properties help to ease the pain but sassafras also contains a good amount of analgesics, which are a natural pain reliever. The tea will help ease general aches and pains but you can also make topical analgesics using the leaves – for example, the Natives would simply bruise a leaf and wrap it around the painful wound or area.
  5. Energy Boost – The nutrient-packed leaves and roots provide a positive energy boost to your system that really helps to get you going and feeling good. Just remember, this isn’t something you’d want to go to ALL the time. Too much of anything can be a bad thing.


There are a number of things research is proving that sassafras is good for –  the five on my list are simply things that I know worked for me. When I see the little flower buds beginning on the trees it is usually a telltale sign that it’s time to get ready for my Spring Detox. Winter can be long and sometimes our bodies need to be refreshed. A nice cup of sassafras tea will definitely do the trick. You can purchase Sassafras tea from most local grocery stores but I like to go out and find the trees and harvest some fresh leaves for my next season. Sassafras is full of health benefits and it is really delicious!


Photo Credit: "sassafras branchby Liz West is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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