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Tree grows to 100ft (30m). The entire plant is edible. Eat the leaves., use roots for tea. This is one of the three ingredients in the original root beer recipe- sarsaparilla, sassafras and birch. Another way is to boil the roots, combine with molasses and allow to ferment. Voila- root beer. The tree is used for purifying the blood, stomach aches, rheumatism, skin problems, colds, fever, kidney, liver, problems, arthritis. The trees have many slender branches, and smooth, orangebrown bark. The bark of a full grown tree is thick, red-brown, and deeply furrowed. All parts of the plants are very fragrant when crushed. 3 different types of leaves on the same plant, oval, 2-lobe (mitten) and 3-lobed. Young leaves and twigs are best for consuming. Great on salads. They give a citrus-like scent when crushed. Delicious 5-petal tiny yellow flowers in clusters. Leaves can be dried and powdered and added to soups and gumbos. Fruit is blue-black eggshaped berry sized on a reddish cup/stem. Roots and leaves can be eaten raw or powdered or steamed. The root makes a good tea that tastes like root beer. Antiseptic, diuretic, vasodilator. Used to thin blood, cleanse liver, ease menstrual pain. Do not take for extended long periods or liver damage can occur because it contains safrole. Do not consume if pregnant or taking blood thinner.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz