This section is from the book "An Experimental History Of The Materia Medica", by William Lewis.
Sassafras Pharm. Lond. & Edinb. The root of a large American tree of the bay kind, (laurus (sassafras) foliis integris trilobisque Linn. Arbor ex florida ficulneo folio C. B.J brought over in long slraight pieces, very light and of a spongy texture, covered with a rough fungous bark, outwardly of an ash-colour, inwardly of the colour of rufty iron.
This root has a fragrant smell, and a sweet-ifh subastringent, aromatic taste*. the bark is much stronger than the internal woody part, and the small twigs than the larger pieces. It gives out its virtues, together with a reddish colour, totally to spirit, less perfectly to water: the spirituous tincture smells weakly and tastes strongly, the watery fmells stronger and tastes weaker of the root. Distilled with water, it yields a fragrant essential oil, of a penetrating pungent taste, so ponderous as to fink in water, limpid and colourless when newly distilled, by age growing yellowish and at length of a reddish brown colour: the remaining decoction, infpiffated, yields a bitterish subastringent extract. Rectified spirit, distilled from the tincture made in that menstruum, brings over with it nothing considerable: the infpiffated extract retains, along with the bitterness and subastringency, nearly all the aromatic matter of the root, though the smell is in great part suppressed in the extract as well as in the tincture.
Decoct. sar-sapar. comp. Ph. Lond
01. efrentiale rad. faffafr. Ph. Lond. & Ed.
Sassafras is used as a mild corroborant, diaphoretic, and sweetener, in scorbutic, venereal, cachectic, and catarrhal disorders. For these purposes, both the volatile and the fixt parts, the distilled oil and the watery extract, have been given with success: the spi rituous tincture or extract, which contain both, appear to be the most elegant preparations, Infusions made in water, from the cortical or the woody part rasped or shaved, are commonly drank as tea: in some constitutions, these liquors, by their fragrance, are apt, on first taking them, to affect the head; an inconvenience, which is generally got the better of on continuing their use for a little time, and which neither the watery nor spirituous extracts are at all subject to,