I found this information;
Sassafras is a medium to large tree that is native to North America, growing abundantly in the eastern half of the continent. Each sassafras tree usually has three types of different shaped leaves that appear as a three lobed finger-like leaf, a mitten shaped leaf and a single oval shaped leaf. When the leaves or bark are crushed, the sassafras gives off a pleasant aromatic sent reminiscent of root beer
. In fact, root beer was first made using the roots of sassafras, although sassafras is no longer an ingredient.
The sassafras tree has green or yellow flowers that bloom in April and May. In August and October, the tree bears fleshy blue fruits that are enjoyed by songbirds, bobwhites, wild turkeys and black bears. The twigs of the sassafras tree are also part of the diet of marsh
rabbits and white tail deer.
Human beings have also found many uses for sassafras. The lumber derived from the sassafras tree is sturdy, thick and coarse, and it is commonly used for making rustic barrels, buckets, small boats, canoes and furniture. Yellow or orange dye can also be made from the bark of the sassafras tree. Sassafras is also a good source of firewood, because it is slow to burn and releases a pleasant fragrance.
Sassafras has many medicinal qualities. For centuries, people have been using this plant as an antibacterial and antiviral agent. It is also used to thin the blood and increase liver function by helping to remove toxins from the body. Some other uses include treatment for rheumatism
, breaking a tobacco habit, treating skin rashes and use as a stimulant. Centuries ago, in Europe, sassafras was used to treat syphilis
Sassafras tea is made from the leaves and roots of the tree and is a common way for people to reap the plant's medicinal benefits. Many people simply enjoy the flavor of sassafras. However, in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration has banned the use of sassafras in food and beverages because it contains safrole, an oil believed to be carcinogenic.
.... and this
In 1960, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned the use of sassafras oil and safrole in foods and d**gs based on the animal studies and human case reports. Several years later, the sale of sassafras oil, roots, or tea was prohibited by law. Subsequently, both Canada and the United States have passed laws against the sale of any consumable products (beverages, foods, cosmetics, health products such as toothpaste, and others) that contain more than specific small amounts of safrole
... here's the kicker
It is also used in the manufacture of the drug ecstasy
, and as such, its transport is monitored internationally.
Hmmm.... Uncle Sam wouldn't like that!