Q:

What are the health benefits of drinking sassafras tea?

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Quick Answer

Historically, sassafras tea was used for urinary tract disorders, swelling in the nasal passages and as a remedy for gout and arthritis, but the safrole chemical in sassafras tea is now known to be poisonous. The Food and Drug Administration no longer approves of the sale of sassafras tea in the United States.

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Full Answer

The roots of sassafras trees are the main component in sassafras tea. The safrole that come from the oils in the roots is pleasant tasting, but also a known carcinogen. Sassafras tea is made from the dried roots of the sassafras tree. Native Americans and early settlers used sassafras tea as a tonic for urinary infections and common upper respiratory ailments or general pain. The effectiveness of sassafras for these purposes was limited according to medical studies. Because the health benefits are limited and the potential for harm is high, sassafras tea is no longer considered beneficial to the health of humans.

According to WebMD, one cup of sassafras tea contains about 200mg of safrole. This dose is over four times the dose considered poisonous according to the scientific research. The safrole oil from the dried roots causes liver damage and cancer with sustained use in laboratory studies.

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