This past week my family and I headed from North Florida where we live to camp in central Alabama. The area is absolutely beautiful and we have made this trip our traditional Thanksgiving adventure. Last year I had discovered a patch of wild roses and had hoped to pick some rosehips to bring home with me. However, much to my dismay the area had been contaminated. The owner on the land is “Round-up” happy. He is on a quest to pretty much destroy most of the wild weeds on his property. This man is the sweetest and most kind hearted man you would want to meet, but he just doesn’t understand that he is poisoning his surroundings. So alas…no rosehips from there anymore. I did, however, discover some Sassafras on a piece of uncontaminated property. The area was about to be cleared so I ask the owner if we could harvest the Sassafras before it got destroyed and he obliged. If you’ve never chewed a leaf off of a Sassafras tree you must. The leaf turns into a jelly like substance. My 7 year old thought it was gross, but he really enjoyed the harvest. He is such a great little apprentice. He is learning so much about health and living naturally. So while we are on the subject of Sassafras I thought I would tell you a little about the wonderful plant.
Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)
Energetics: Spicy, warm
Organ/Meridian affected: lung and kidney
Properties: Aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic, alterative, anodyne, vasodialator and carminative.
Parts Used: Root bark
Long before it was combined with other herbs and used in patented medicines Sassafras was used in the folk tradition as a spring tonic. As a blood purifier and thinner the root of the plant was used in the early spring as a tonic to be taken after a long winter of eating heavy foods with little physical activity. The leaves can be used as thickener for foods such as gumbo. Sassafras has been used historically to treat high blood pressure, rheumatism, gout and arthritis. Another use for the root is to make root beer.
Simple Root Beer Recipe:
Make an herbal decoction of the root (fresh or dry root) by simmering it for 20 minutes or more depending on how strong you want the flavor. Strain the tea and add a natural sweetener and seltzer or sparkling water for the fizz.