Sippin’ Sweet Sassafras

Reader Contribution by Sherry Leverich Tucker
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Sassafras tea in the spring is supposed to thin your blood and get those stiff, hibernated winter bodies ready for springtime chores. My husband, Daniel, loves sassafras tea and will hunt and dig up roots to ensure that he gets his special sipping serum. Sassafras trees can be easily identified and if you scratch the bark it will become obvious instantly that you have come across this super sap! If you have ever had old-fashioned sarsaparilla soda you are already familiar with the flavor, and it is also similar to the flavor of root beer. Pieces of bark on the lower trunk of a large Sassafras tree, or parts of root can be used, or whole roots from suckers can be dug and used. It is good to get the bark or root before the tree leaf’s out in the spring.

The root and bark pieces need to be thoroughly washed and scrubbed. Pruners or clippers can be used to snip the root or bark into 1-inch pieces. Place about one-half cup or so of root with a quart of water and simmer 30 to 45 minutes. Strain and sweeten to taste. This tea is good hot or cold. Please be aware that there is evidence that sassafras is carcinogenic. We drink it so infrequently that we do not worry about this. Sweet sippin’ to you and yours no matter what your taste in tea be!

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