Sassafras Radix, B.P., Sassafras Root.
Sassafras root (Sassafras, U.S.P.) is obtained from Sassafras officinale, Nees and Eberm. (N.O. Laurineae), a tree which is widely distributed over the eastern United States. The dried root comes into commerce in large, branched pieces, more or less covered with a dark reddish or greyish-brown spongy bark. The wood is greyish-yellow or greyish-red in colour, soft, and easily cut. Both bark and wood, but especially the former, have an agreeable, fragrant odour, and an aromatic, slightly astringent taste. On incineration, it yields about 2 per cent. of ash.
Constituents.—The root contains about 2 per cent. of volatile oil, while the bark alone contains from 6 to 9 per cent.
Action and Uses.—Sassafras is an ingredient of compound decoction of sarsaparilla; its action, by virtue of its volatile oil, is that of a mild aromatic and carminative.