Species Detail

Sassafras albidum Nees.
Sassafras; Ague tree


Scientific Name:  
Sassafras albidum Nees.
Common Name:  
Sassafras; Ague tree
Myaamia Name:  
mankiišaahkwi
Uses:  
Medicinal
Harvest Seasons:  
Undetermined
Habitats:  
Undetermined
Locations:  
Undetermined
Growth Forms:  
Undetermined

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Sassafras albidum Nees.
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  root used for drink/tea. "mangi cakwi"
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  leaves made into tea for a spring tonic. Barbara Mullins grandparents; both sets; including Ethel Goodbo Gamble; believed in the health-inducing properties of sassafras tea; drunken as a spring tonic. Barbara said; "My grandfather said on the first day of February that you had to have a cup of sassafras every day through the month of February and then you would not be ill all year . . . And he lived to be 93." Her brother-in-law owns several trees and gets the roots for selling. She goes out every year to collect the roots; except this last year. "We always knew what it looked like; at that state [without leaves]. It has a certain smell . . . You can tell." They would cut the gathered roots into small segments and boil. Patches need to be identified in the summer; so they could return in the winter to the right place"
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  sassafras tea was considered a tonic. "And sassafras; of course; has always been known since the earliest days of this country; in the Middle West and all the way to the coast of South Carolina."
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  sassafras tea made from root and used as a blood thinner/conditioner
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  tea made
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  used roots to make tea
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  root used to prevent bleeding; the pith used in treating sore eyes; and tea used in spring. "the pulverized root is an aboriginal remedy against bleeding; its pith is helpful fore sore eyes; it is drank in spring time as we drink tea or coffee. Being considered as the best blood purifier it was called medicine bush. Sassafras officinale; it belongs to the family of the laurineae and is a native of the united states. As it furnishes one of the most important remedies to the Indians; they call it for short the medicine tree; either m.; or m. tawani. They drink the decoction of the root; m. tchipki chiefly in spring time as a drug as tea and as an every day beverage and regard it as the best blood purifier. The pulverized root is their remedy against bleeding; its pith is helpful for soreness of the eyes"
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  roots harvested for making tea. "The tea is good all year long; but especially in the spring when you get fresh root." For storage can make shavings and dry.
No Reference Specified Use - Medicinal  roots dug up; sliced; boiled and steeped in water to make tea. Honey added for taste. Used in the longhouse during a sweat
No Reference Specified Use - Unknown  "makinjak8i"; sassafras
No Reference Specified Horticultural Info  Collect roots in January. "You need to know what it looks like without leaves. . . it has a certain smell; . . . you can tell. Pull up small trees and get roots. You have to go to different patches [so you dont kill all the trees in one patch]."
No Reference Specified Horticultural Info  Collect roots in early spring. Tie a ribbon to stems in the fall to remember which stems to dig up. The cut roots resprout usually
No Reference Specified Horticultural Info  Smaller roots 1/2 to 2 inches diameter harvested in fall; around the end of October; when the sap is down; always offering tobacco as he harvests. Once he harvested a 3-4" diameter root; but only took the top half of the root; and left the bottom intact so the root could still grow. He covered the exposed portion of the root with sassafras bark and packed earth back around it
No Reference Specified Description  Also known as "Ague Tree"
Botanical Sources  
Sassafras albidum Nees.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Occurs in disturbed woods; thickets; roadsides and oldfields
No Reference Specified   Occurred in many places; especially along railroad tracks
Related Sources  
Sassafras albidum Nees.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
No Reference Specified   Barbara Mullins recipe for sassafras tea: boil a few pieces of sassafras roots. Simmer for about 20 minutes until tea is clear and very bright pink/red. Add sugar or honey if desired. Serve hot
No Reference Specified   The Miami word mankii?aahkwaapowi means sassafras tea; and incorporates the Miami words for medicine; bush and drink
No Reference Specified   Sassafras jelly recipe from Barbara Mulllin; from a Choctaw; includes sassafras tea; honey; and sassafras root bark
No Reference Specified   Oil from roots are aromatics; stimulants; diaphoretic; diuretic; aseptic and astringent. This oil is used mostly as a flavor. Large doses causes circulatory depression and respiratory paralysis. Oil is reported to cause contraction of the uterus and abortion
No Reference Specified   Due to lead; cadmium and zinc contamination in the Tar Creek Superfund Sites watershed; around Miami; Oklahoma and the Miami Tribe of Oklahomas headquarters; Miami and other local tribal members worry that traditional gathering of food; medicine and customs items may be contaminated. Fish; wild blackberries; sassafras; pokeweed; basket-making supplies and wild onions could have high concentrations of lead; as do the waters of nearby lakes; and it is not always successful keeping tribal members out of these areas. The Seneca-Cayugas berry dance could not be held; if all the wild blackberries and strawberries in the area are found to be contaminated
No Reference Specified   Charlevoix describes use of tree sap and sassafras against palsy; dropsy and venereal diseases; by the general Great Lakes region tribes
No Reference Specified   "Recurring ague and fever however; was a condition affecting the lands in the Miami Tribe claim as of the dates of this appraisal" --possibly the "ague" tree was used in the treatment of diseases like malaria