Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sassafras Tea

Walking around our neighborhood lake I noticed this growing in the middle of the soon to be blackberry patch.

It reminded me of my grandmother Edith Wilson Fulford. I grew up in Tallahassee, Florida and we had about 10 acres of woods behind our house. There were a lot of small Sassafras trees growing there and somehow my grandmother found out about them.

She decided it was my job to bring her sassafras roots so she could make tea. I would pull up some of the small trees, cut off the roots and clean them up. After they dried out I would put them in a brown paper bag and take them to her the next time we visited Cortez, Florida.

Grandma would boil the roots on the stove and drink the tea it produced hot. All the other tea in her house was the more typical sweet variety.

I guess she wanted it for medicinal purposes. She never explained what it was supposed to do. She grew up on a farm with a large family so I'm sure she had plenty of cures. I tried to stay clear of Grandma Edith's home remedies. She had a big jar of Caster Oil she would pull out anytime someone was sick or had any complaints so I never had any when I was visiting her.

After seeing how much Grandma Edith liked it I tried to sell the roots to some of the neighbors. I put it in small bags and went door to door. There were a couple older widows down the street who would buy almost anything you were selling.

The FDA has now banned sale of sassafras roots because they are supposed to cause liver damage. I tried the tea a couple times and it was ok. I'm sure I haven't had any in 40 years.

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