Sassafras is a plant of the laurel family that reaches 10 metres in height. It has thick reddish bark, thick green leaves divided into three lobes, smooth on the upper side and woolly underneath. The flowers are yellow and the fruit is a reddish berry that produces one seed. In this article we will explore its oil. Sassafras oil is oil taken from the root bark of the sassafras tree.
Sassafras oil overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this substance. Sassafras oil was formerly used in numerous household fragrance applications such as floor waxes, polishes, soaps, detergents and cleaning agents. Its ability to blend with other oils and its powerful masking properties made it valuable for such purposes.
In ancient herbal medicine Sassafras was used in the treatment of high blood pressure, rheumatism, arthritis, gout, menstrual and kidney problems, and for skin complaints. The oil used in perfumes is also extracted from the fruits. The wood and bark of the tree furnish a yellow dye.
The oil is said to relieve the pain caused by menstrual obstructions, and pain following parturition, in doses of 5 to 10 drops on sugar, the same dose having been found useful in gleet (inflammation of the urethra) and gonorrhoea.
The volatile oil of sassafras, which contains safrole, was also used to combat assorted ailments, the usual dosage being from one to five drops in boiled water. More than this small amount of essence could be dangerous: One teaspoon of the pure oil is enough to cause vomiting, dilated pupils, stupor, spontaneous abortion, collapse, and even death! Despite the possibility of adverse effects from overdoses, however, sassafras oil was often employed as flavouring.
A health care provider must be contacted before using oils especially if pregnant or breast feeding and must not be used on children.