Sassafras is a native plant from eastern North America and Eastern Asia. All the parts of this plant are used in either food or medicine.
Nowadays, sassafras oil is gaining popularity. It is extracted from the roots and barks of the plant.
Sassafras oil and plant has been of late used as a medicinal and aromatic herb since long times in America.
To know more about this super vegetable scroll down.
Table of Contents
What Is Sassafras?
Sassafras is a well-known North American tree which grows to 60ft height. The tree gives yellow flower and oval bluish fruit. Indians of Eastern United States held the tree scared because of its therapeutic values. Later the essential oil made from it gained much acceptance. File powder is prepared from Sassafras.
For producing the essential oil the inner parts of the root, the wood, bark, and rootlets were used. Even leaves and flowers were added for a more lemony subtle flavor. The essential oil is yellow or reddish yellow in color with the safrol smell, reminiscent of anise, lemon and fennel. The principal constituents od sassafras oil is 80% safrol and pinene, 8 -10% cadinene, camphene, eugenol, oleoresins, phellandrene, tannic acid, and wax.
Sassafras is more like a herb but does not contain any notable vitamins and minerals. The bark of the tree has only three potent active ingredients: methyleugenol, safrole, and camphor. But, interestingly all these compounds are considered carcinogenic in some respect. Despite, of this, all of them can cause a positive impact on the body.
However, in few countries, the use of sassafras is banned due to its carcinogenic ingredients. In U.S. safrole use is not permitted. Safrole is also present in cinnamon and nutmeg but in traces and hence are considered safe by the FDA. The quality of essential oil varies so it must be sued carefully. It is widely used to treat rheumatic pain and gout. However, due to its carcinogenic properties, it is restricted in cosmetic and food industry.
Health Benefits Of Sassafras Oil
Sassafras Oil is used to treat a variety of health ailments. A few of the prime health issues which can be effectively treated using sassafras oil are mentioned below:
1.Reduces Arthritis Pain
The sassafras essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties. It soothes the muscles tissues and joints and also increases the blood flow to the lubricate the joints.
It can effectively relieve pain too. Regular application of the oil to the sore joints and muscles is common. People with arthritis pain can benefit from it. However, the pure form is the best for the desired results.
2.Effective Treatment For Various Type Of Cancers
Despite the fact that a few of the ingredients of sassafras oil are carcinogenic but it can act as an anticancer agent too sometimes. The anticarcinogenic properties are proved in few of the researchers as well.
The safrole in it can act destructively against various types of cancers like gastric cancer, leukemia, oral cancer, tongue cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and liver cancer.
Camphor is another active ingredient that potentially acts to prevent the spread of the cancer cells. However, the manner in which the cells are killed using this oil is complex. But, it seems the safrol like compounds present in it can cause cell death by the way they target the endothelial-to-mesenchymal transition(EndoMT). EndoMT can significantly lessen the spread of fibrotic disorders like cancer. Safrole has such EndoMT process to prevent cancer spread.
The researchers concluded safrol can not only cure cancer but can also be sued as an active agent in few of the cancer-treating medications.
3.Positive Interaction With Medical Drugs
Conventional medicines should be absorbed by our body to produce the desired effect. Sometimes the medicines are not absorbed effectively by our body leading to undesired results.
In such cases, there are few substances that can cause the body to effectively metabolize drugs or foods. The same work can be done by sassafras. It can strongly increase the absorption of certain medicines and food items.
4.Prevents Liver Damage
Sassafras oil has certain antioxidants and detoxifiers which expels out the toxins and the eliminate the free radicals from the body. This strengthens the liver and also induces easy urination. Consuming the oil as a diuretic and a liver-booster in small amounts to cleanse the body and keep your liver healthy.
5.Boosts The Immune System
Sassafras has huge antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It can boost the immune system exorbitantly as it has the potential to give a boost to the white blood cells and prevent the oxidative stress caused by the free radicals. Studies have regarded this oil as an excellent immune tonic. For optimum results, you can consume a little amount of sassafras oil.
6.Used As an Insect Repellent
Sassafras oil is a natural insect repellent and is often a common ingredient in pesticides and herbicides. It has an ingredient that keeps the insect away from its strong aroma. Traditionally, it was widely used in areas with a high concentration of tropical diseases to prevent mosquito bites. You can spray this oil in your room or alternatively, you can it in aromatherapy preparations. This will keep the room clear of insects.
7.Kills Head Lice
Kill Head liceTraditionally, head lice was a common problem for kids. People use to apply it to the kid’s head to kill the lice. Sassafras oil is very effective, it can quickly kill head lice, due to its potential anti-parasitic nature. Massage a diluted sassafras oil into the scalp.
Leave it for few minutes and then wash it off. Prefer combing your head with a narrow tooth comb to remove all the dead lice from the scalp. Be cautious, sassafras oil is very strong always dilute it before use. Moreoff, go for the sassafras oil that does not have too much safrol content in it.
8.An Excellent Aromatherapy Oil
Sassafras oil can be effective for aromatherapy. It is because it has a strong aroma which will stay in the room for a long time. Moreoff, the oil gives a soothing and calming effect on both mind and the body. From traditional days, it is used as an aromatherapy oil. Alternatively, you can also put a few drops of oil in your humidifier to get an aromatic mist. Put a few drops of pure oil for a long-lasting aroma.
9.Used As A Sedative
Sedatives are substances to induce sleep and relieve anxiety, stress, and nervousness. The oil interacts directly with the central nervous system to produce a sedative effect. For people struggling with sleep, insomnia, or other sleep disorders this oil works well.
Inhale a small amount of oil before the bed or apply topically to your chest to get a sound sleep. In addition to it, people who suffer from anxiety can use this il topically to calm their mind and body. Be cautious, use in a diluted form or very small amount of sassafras oil as it has a very high potential.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder which produces abnormal brain cell activity resulting in body seizures. Usually, the seizure medications have potential side-effects so research is going on to develop alternative natural seizure-stopping potential.
Safrole present in sassafras oil inhibits the lactate dehydrogenase. Preventing lactate dehydrogenase is a way to prevent seizures. If you suffer from epilepsy, try applying the oil topically or intake a few drops to prevent epilepsy seizures.
11.Improves Blood Circulation
Camphor is a potent substance which has the ability to improve the blood circulation system. Researchers suggest applying substances with camphor can induce the blood circulation all over the body. The oil relaxes the muscles and thus enhances the circulation.
Camphor present in sassafras oil can give a cold and warm sensation to the body that further enhances the circulatory system of the body. Use the oil as a general circulation enhancing substance.
Sassafras oil is a potent detoxifier and a body cleanser. It is extremely useful in purifying the blood and eliminating all the toxins from the body. You can drink a few drops of oil or can prepare a tea using sassafras root and bark.
For best results consume this tea before bed on a regular basis. removing the toxins would maintain your weight, healthy skin and hair, and to maintain blood pressure too. However, prevent continuous long-term usage, prefer consuming it in intervals.
13.Gives A Glowing Skin
Sassafras oil is also a massaging oil. It has healing properties to heal the broken skin and rashes. In addition to it, it also repairs the damaged skin cells and aids in the growth of new skin cells. You can simply apply it on your face or on your body daily before going to be for a glowing skin.
Be cautious, it is a very strong oil always use it in a diluted form when applying on skin. A few people may develop an allergic reaction. If you face a red itchy skin after application immediately discontinues the use and consult a doctor if required.
Gout occurs due to uric acid build up in the body. Gout can be cured naturally by some herbs and changes in dietary patterns. Sassafras oil has the ability to prevent uric acid build up in the body as it has a variety of antioxidants. Moreoff, symptoms of gout include joint pain occurring due to inflammation of joints.
Sassafras oil has anti-inflammatory agents t release the muscle and decreases the swelling. This way sassafras oil is not only a gout treating agent but also a potent substance to relieve the symptoms of gout. Forgetting optimum relief, you can apply it to your joints and can consume sassafras tea to cure the condition.
Side-effects Of Sassafras
There are many potential side effects of using sassafras oil. A few short-term side-effects are nausea, vomiting, dizziness, hallucination, high blood pressure, a risk of cancer and allergic reactions. The safrole-free varieties of this oil have lesser side-effects than the pure form. However, some people might develop long-term complications too with it. A few long-term complications are discussed below:
1.May Cause Cancer
Researchers have found the safrole in sassafras oil as a potential carcinogen. However, it is a highly controversial topic. Studies done on rat and mice have found safrole and methyleugenol as malignant liver tumors causing agents.
Pure safrole injections seem to be the most potent cancer-causing method. This was the main reason why FDA discarded safrole from the food, beverage and cosmetic products in 1979. However, the reports were not absolutely true and the results were quite exaggerated.
Later a study in 1977 done on the rats found the cancer-causing metabolites found in mice with safrole were not true for humans. The human body never produced such cancer-causing metabolites with safrole intake. So, still, it was unsure whether the safrole is a cancer-causing agent are not. Since the research is so inconsistent, the FDA has put a ban on safrole.
2. Could Negatively Influence Heart Conditions
There is a chance that sassafras could be dangerous for people with cardiovascular diseases. In a study done in China, it was found that sassafras oil contains safrole which could increase the plaque formation in the arteries and veins of the heart. If this study is true, the presence of safrole could further impede the risk of atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart failure in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
3. Unsafe For Pregnant Mothers
A few researchers suggest sassafras be unsafe for pregnant women as it can cause miscarriage and abortion in few pregnant ladies. So, the consumption and application is not at all fit for would-be mothers.
4. May Produce A Harmful Sedative Effect
People who are on already on sedative medications should never use sassafras oi. It is because the oil has a potent sedative action and taking it along with a sedative drug would double the action and cause prolonged dizziness.
5. Other Potential Risks
Sassafras has also been reported to cause a few more adverse effects. They are as follows:
- Hot flushes
- Urinary Tract Infections
Sassafras tree has been grown for centuries in North America and parts of Asia. Traditionally, it was considered sacred due to its high medicinal properties. Later, it was found that it has a strong carcinogenic agent safrole. This research led FDA in 1979 to ban the use of sassafras in food, cosmetic, and beverage industry. But the results of the research were unsure as there were a few more types of research that proved it to be a cancer-curing agent.
The researchers are still controversial. Because of this still people uses it as a flavoring agent. Another study found out that pure sassafras has significantly powerful health benefits like cancer curing treatment, cure gout and arthritis, and many more. Overall, the sassafras is a tree with several medicinal properties. Nevertheless, one should take it in a diluted form to prevent any adverse reactions.