Sassafras officinale. N.O. Lauraceae.
Synonym ► Kuntze.
Habitat ► West Indies—imported from U.S.A
Features ► Rootbark is a bright, rusty brown, soft and brittle. Short, corky, layered fracture, with many oil cells. Chips of the woody root are commonly used—they are brownish-white in colour, showing concentric rings and slender medullary rays.
Part used ► Root, bark of root.
Action ► Stimulant, diaphoretic (according to Coffin mildly antiseptic and detergent also).
Combined with alteratives for the treatment of skin eruptions and uric and other acid complaints. A decoction of 1 ounce to 1 pint (reduced) is taken in frequent wineglass doses. The decoction is sometimes used externally for ophthalmia.
Powdered Sassafras root was formerly (and in some places still is) sold as a substitute for tea or coffee, under the name of salap or saloop.