SASSAFRAS

OTHER NAME(S):

Ague Tree, Bois de Cannelle, Cinnamon Wood, Common Sassafras, Kuntze Saloop, Laurier des Iroquois, Laurus albida, Saloop, Sasafras, Sassafrax, Sassafras albidum, Sassafras officinale, Sassafras variifolium, Saxifrax.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Sassafras is a plant. The root bark is used to make medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, sassafras is used for urinary tract disorders, swelling in the nose and throat, syphilis, bronchitis, high blood pressure in older people, gout, arthritis, skin problems, and cancer. It is also used as a tonic and “blood purifier.”

Some people apply sassafras directly to the skin to treat skin problems, achy joints (rheumatism), swollen eyes, sprains, and insect bites or stings. Sassafras oil is also applied to the skin to kill germs and head lice.

In beverages and candy, sassafras was used in the past to flavor root beer. It was also used as a tea. But sassafras tea contains a lot of safrole, the chemical in sassafras that makes it poisonous. One cup of tea made with 2.5 grams of sassafras contains about 200 mg of safrole. That equates to a dose of about 3 mg of safrole per 1 kg of body weight. This is about 4.5 times the dose that researchers think is poisonous. So, in 1976, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) ruled that sassafras could no longer be sold as sassafras tea.

How does it work?

There isn't enough information available to know how sassafras works.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of sassafras for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Sassafras seems safe in foods and beverages if it is “safrole-free.”

However, it is UNSAFE for use as a medicine. Don’t take it by mouth or put it on your skin. The safrole in sassafras root bark and oil can cause cancer and liver damage. Consuming just 5 mL of sassafras oil can kill an adult. Even “safrole-free” sassafras used in medicinal amounts has been linked with tumors.

Sassafras can cause sweating and hot flashes. High amounts can cause vomiting, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and more severe side effects. It can cause skin rashes when used on the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

It is UNSAFE for anyone to use sassafras in medicinal amounts, but some people have extra reasons not to use it:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Don’t use sassafras if you are pregnant. There is evidence that sassafras oil might cause a miscarriage.

Children: Sassafras is UNSAFE for children. A few drops of sassafras oil may be deadly.

Surgery: In medicinal amounts, sassafras can slow down the central nervous system. This means it can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. When combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system too much. Stop using sassafras at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Urinary tract conditions: Sassafras might make these conditions worse.

Interactions

Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with SASSAFRAS

    Sassafras might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking sassafras along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.<br /><br /> Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of sassafras depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for sassafras. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Nowicky, J. W., Manolakis, G., Meijer, D., Vatanasapt, V., and Brzosko, W. J. Ukrain both as an anti cancer and immunoregulatory agent. Drugs Exp.Clin Res 1992;18 Suppl:51-54. View abstract.
  • Nowicky, J. W., Staniszewski, A., Zbroja-Sontag, W., Slesak, B., Nowicky, W., and Hiesmayr, W. Evaluation of thiophosphoric acid alkaloid derivatives from Chelidonium majus L. ("Ukrain") as an immunostimulant in patients with various carcinomas. Drugs Exp.Clin Res 1991;17(2):139-143. View abstract.
  • Panzer, A., Joubert, A. M., Eloff, J. N., Albrecht, C. F., Erasmus, E., and Seegers, J. C. Chemical analyses of Ukrain, a semi-synthetic Chelidonium majus alkaloid derivative, fail to confirm its trimeric structure. Cancer Lett. 11-28-2000;160(2):237-241. View abstract.
  • Pinto, Garcia, V, Vicente, P. R., Barez, A., Soto, I., Candas, M. A., and Coma, A. [Hemolytic anemia induced by Chelidonium majus. Clinical case]. Sangre (Barc.) 1990;35(5):401-403. View abstract.
  • Spiridonov, N. A., Konovalov, D. A., and Arkhipov, V. V. Cytotoxicity of some Russian ethnomedicinal plants and plant compounds. Phytother.Res 2005;19(5):428-432. View abstract.
  • Staniszewski, A., Slesak, B., Kolodziej, J., Harlozinska-Szmyrka, A., and Nowicky, J. W. Lymphocyte subsets in patients with lung cancer treated with thiophosphoric acid alkaloid derivatives from Chelidonium majus L. (Ukrain). Drugs Exp.Clin Res 1992;18 Suppl:63-67. View abstract.
  • Steinacker, J., Kroiss, T., Korsh, O. B., and Melnyk, A. Ukrain therapy in a frontal anaplastic grade III astrocytoma (case report). Drugs Exp.Clin Res 1996;22(3-5):275-277. View abstract.
  • Stickel, F., Seitz, H. K., Hahn, E. G., and Schuppan, D. [Liver toxicity of drugs of plant origin]. Z.Gastroenterol. 2001;39(3):225-227. View abstract.
  • Susak, Y. M., Yaremchuk, O. Y., Zemskov, S., Kravchenco, O. B., Liepins, A., and Yatsyk, I. M. Randomised clinical study of Ukrain on colorectal cancer. Eur J Cancer 1995;31(S153)
  • Haines, J. D., Jr. Sassafras tea and diaphoresis. Postgrad.Med. 9-15-1991;90(4):75-76. View abstract.
  • Kapadia, G. J., Chung, E. B., Ghosh, B., Shukla, Y. N., Basak, S. P., Morton, J. F., and Pradhan, S. N. Carcinogenicity of some folk medicinal herbs in rats. J Natl.Cancer Inst. 1978;60(3):683-686. View abstract.
  • Lima, L. M., Ormelli, C. B., Brito, F. F., Miranda, A. L., Fraga, C. A., and Barreiro, E. J. Synthesis and antiplatelet evaluation of novel aryl-sulfonamide derivatives, from natural safrole. Pharm Acta Helv 1999;73(6):281-292. View abstract.
  • Segelman, A. B., Segelman, F. P., Karliner, J., and Sofia, R. D. Sassafras and herb tea. Potential health hazards. JAMA 8-2-1976;236(5):477. View abstract.
  • Simic, A., Sokovic, M. D., Ristic, M., Grujic-Jovanovic, S., Vukojevic, J., and Marin, P. D. The chemical composition of some Lauraceae essential oils and their antifungal activities. Phytother Res 2004;18(9):713-717. View abstract.
  • Ueng, Y. F., Hsieh, C. H., and Don, M. J. Inhibition of human cytochrome P450 enzymes by the natural hepatotoxin safrole. Food Chem Toxicol 2005;43(5):707-712. View abstract.
  • Ueng, Y. F., Hsieh, C. H., Don, M. J., Chi, C. W., and Ho, L. K. Identification of the main human cytochrome P450 enzymes involved in safrole 1'-hydroxylation. Chem Res Toxicol 2004;17(8):1151-1156. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
  • Foster S, Tyler VE. Tyler's Honest Herbal, 4th ed., Binghamton, NY: Haworth Herbal Press, 1999.

Vitamins Survey

Have you ever purchased SASSAFRAS?

Did you or will you purchase this product in-store or online?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

What factors influenced or will influence your purchase? (check all that apply)

Vitamins Survey

Where did you or where do you plan to purchase this product?

Do you buy vitamins online or instore?

What factors are most important to you? (check all that apply)

More Resources for SASSAFRAS

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.