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Sassafras bark is found in the bayous of Louisiana. When the tree is young, its leaves are shaped like “mittens,” sometimes with two “thumbs.” As the tree matures, sometimes reaching a height of 100 feet (30 meters) and a trunk diameter of up to 6 feet (200 cm), the leaves grow more rounded, free of indentation. Sassafras tea, made from the root bark or just the bark, has been drunk for over three centuries in the lower Mississippi valley. Sassafras bark oil is used to flavor medicines and candy and in some perfumes.
- The essential oil in sassafras bark contains traces of safrole, a toxic chemical, and its use as an oil is greatly cautioned. Sassafras bark is not to be used while pregnant. When used as a tea it is should only be administered by someone familiar with the appropriate use of this substance and only for brief periods of time. The FDA strictly prohibits the use of Sassafras bark and oil in food products. Its internal use is not recommended. For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.