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A deciduous tree, the bark of which is antiseptic, diaphoretic and diuretic. It was regarded by Native Americans as a blood purifier; in herbal medicine, it was used topically for syphilis, abscesses, acne, poison ivy and poison oak, and internally for colic and rheumatic complaints.
Carcinogenic and hepatotoxic in rats due to safrole; it is listed by the FDA as “unsafe”. Sassafras oil and raw bark should not be used internally.