Active Ingredients. - Sassafras wood has a warm and aromatic taste, and a peculiar fragrance. It contains a volatile oil, fatty matter, resin, a principle called sassafrine, tannin in small quantity, and some other less important ingredients. The volatile oil is light yellow; it has a pungent taste like the odor of the wood, a sp. gr. of 1.094, and is itself composed of two other oils, one of which sinks in water, while the other swims. The properties are yielded to hot water and to alcohol. It is to be observed, however, that the wood of the tree contains a less amount of the active principles than exists in the bark and in the roots.

Physiological Action. - Taken in infusion, both the wood and the bark of the root are reputed stimulant and sudorific, but little is accurately known on this subject. The sudorific action is much assisted by the use of warm clothing and tepid drinks. Employed as an adjuvant to other medicines, sassafras mitigates disagreeable flavors, and renders them more tolerable to the stomach.

Therapeutic Action. - On account of its sudorific and alterative properties, sassafras is advantageously employed in cutaneous disorders, also in rheumatic and syphilitic complaints. It is seldom used alone; more usually in combination with sarsaparilla and guaiacum. When the system presents febrile and inflammatory conditions, it should, on account of its stimulating nature, not be resorted to.

Preparations and Dose. - Oleum Sassafras, mij. - x. (.10 -

.50). Sassafras is an ingredient of the Comp. Syrup and Comp. Decoct. of Sarsaparilla.