How to Prepare Sassafras Root for Tea

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The sassafras tree grows native to North America. It features aromatic leaves and bark with curved, multi-lobed foliage. Sassafras, according to Southern Angel, was one of the first American teas brewed by pioneers. The spicy, sweet taste led to the invention of root beer in addition to the tea's rising popularity. Sassafras is often used to treat stomach upset, arthritic joints and fever. You can brew this tasty tea at home by preparing the roots properly.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh sassafras roots
  • Warm water
  • Scrub brush
  • Sharp knife
  • Cheesecloth
  • Tea kettle
  • Honey
  • Pour warm water over your sassafras roots so they're thoroughly wet. Scrub each root with a small scrub brush, loosening dirt and grime. Rinse them in warm water five or six times to ensure they're clean.

  • Chop your roots up into fine pieces, making sure to reserve any bark that falls off of the roots. The bark is where most of the flavor is. Scoop about a tablespoon of chopped bark into a square of cheesecloth and tie it into a bundle.

  • Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a tea kettle. Remove the kettle from heat and toss in the cheesecloth-wrapped sassafras root. Let the tea steep for about 10 minutes. Remove the cheesecloth. Fill a mug with tea and sweeten to taste with honey or your preferred sweetener.

Tips & Warnings

  • Reserved your steeped roots for future batches of tea. You can reuse sassafras roots up to four times before they lose their flavor.
  • Pour your steeped tea into a pitcher and chill for a tasty summertime beverage.
  • Those with blood conditions, including anemia, should not drink sassafras tea. It is a blood thinner that can cause illness in these individuals.
  • Don't drink more than two 8 oz. glasses of sassafras tea per day, limiting yourself to about 4 cups a week. Prolonged usage could cause blood problems.

References

  • Photo Credit Ted Mead/Photodisc/Getty Images
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