Sassafras. - The bark of the root of Sassafras variifolium (Salisbury) O. Kuntze (nat. ord. Laurineae).

Habitat

North America from Eastern Texas and Kansas eastward to Florida and Ontario; in woods.

Characters

In irregular fragments, deprived of the gray, corky layer, bright rust-brown, soft, fragile, with a short, corky fracture; the inner surface smooth; strongly fragrant; taste sweetish, aromatic, and somewhat astringent.

Composition

The chief constituents are - (1) A volatile oil (see below), about 5 per cent. (2) Sassafrid, a peculiar decomposition product of Tannic Acid. (3) Resin. (4) Tannic Acid.

Sassafras is contained in Decoctum Sarsaparillae Compositum, and Extractum Sarsaparillae Fluidum Compositum.

Dose, 1/4 to 1 dr.; 1. to 4. gm.

Sassafras Medulla. Sassafras Pith

The pith of Sassafras variifolium (Salisbury) O. Kuntze (nat. ord. Laurineae).

Characters

In slender, cylindrical pieces, often curved or coiled, light, spongy, white, inodorous and insipid. Macerated in water it forms a mucilaginous liquid, which is not precipitated on the addition of Alcohol.

Preparation

Mucilago Sassafras Medullae. Mucilage Of Sassafras Pith

Sassafras Pith, 2; Water, 100. By maceration and straining. Dose, freely.

Oleum Sassafras. Oil Of Sassafras

A volatile oil distilled from Sassafras.

Characters

A yellowish or reddish-yellow liquid, having the characteristic odor of Sassafras without the odor of Camphor, and a warm, aromatic taste. It becomes darker and thicker by age and exposure to the air. Sp. gr., 1.070 to 1.090.

Solubility

Soluble, in all proportions in Alcohol, in Glacial Acetic Acid, and in Carbon Disulphide.

Oil of Sassafras is contained in Syrupus Sarsaparillae Compositus.

Dose, 1 to 5 m.; .06 to .30 c.c.

Action And Therapeutics Of Sassafras

The external and internal action of sassafras is, so far as is known, the same as that of volatile oils generally. The mucilage is somewhat stimulant in its action, and is an excellent vehicle.