Sassafras tea, like ramps, are another “Spring Tonic”. My mother-in-law was a firm believer that one must make and drink Sassafras Tea every spring in order to cleanse and thin the blood. She would drink it each day until it would build up enough in the blood and her nose would bleed. Then she felt her blood was “thinned” enough. Her belief in this was that it prevented heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure. I don’t know if she was right or not, but she lived to be 82 years old and never has any of these problems.
Sassafras trees are found in cool damp shady areas. It is a thin tree, usually with few limbs, and leaves that have three unequal lobes opposite the leaf stem. When the sap is down (the tree is dormant for winter), the bark and roots have a distinctive root beer odor when scraped.
Dig or pull the tree up with its roots, remove them, and wash and cut them into 2 to 3 inch pieces.
Allow to dry for a week or so. Keep in a cool, dry place to prevent from rotting.
Strip the bark (or skin) from the roots after it has dried, cutting it slightly into the woody part of the root. Store in airtight containers like zipper freezer bags until ready to use.
Boil about 2 to 4 ounces of this bark in a quart of water for twenty minutes or so and allow it to steep until it cools.
Add more water to make it a gallon and enjoy.
Add the same amount of sugar you would for regular Iced Tea adjusting it to your personal tastes.
To make your tea stronger or sweeter add more or less roots or sugar.