looking for sarsaparilla

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I live in southern mississippi, and I am looking for sarsaparilla to plant in my herb garden - we love root beer here, and my sister has been experimenting with teas - we would like to grow our own... Does anyone know how I can get some to grow for ourselves?
Tony snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
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I am trying to find a source for sarsaparilla for us to grow - We are in Southern Mississippi... we love root beer, and my sister has started making teas with what she finds at the herb shops, but we want to grow it, not buy it in bulk...
I have searched Burpee's, and done google searches looking for a source... does anyone have ideas on where to obtain some?
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When I was a young boy, we had a terrible storm in Kentucky where we lived. The wind had blow down many trees including a Sarsaparilla tree. (At least that's what my grand dad called it) He cut off several of the roots and boiled them in a large kettle of water and added a lot of sugar. Best root beer I have ever drank.
I don't know if you can find sarsaparilla herbs, but I have found a concentrated liquid form in the food stores that can be diluted and brewed into a good non carbonated drink.
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http://www.biologie.uni-hamburg.de/b-online/library/falk/Risk/risk.htm Safrole is the offending ingredient but I see here it is also in black pepper. Oh well, Frank
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On 4/28/05 2:02 PM not too long ago, Bear Drummer attempted to enlighten me, thusly:

You are looking for the wrong thing, I believe. Sarsaparilla is a vine and not really used to make root beer. You are most likely thinking of the Sassafras tree whose roots are used to make "root" beer. In your searches did you find this?: http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_354.html
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Bear Drummer wrote:

Sarsaparilla is an extract from the roots of Smilax officinalis. Its use in root beer was for the foam (head) it creates, not for its flavoring.
You want either sasparilla (different from sarsaparilla) or sassafras, each of which (or together in combination) have been used to FLAVOR root beer. Sasparilla is extracted from the roots of Aralia nudicaulis, a perennial. Sassafras is extracted from the roots of Sassafras officinale or Sassafras albidum, both of which are trees.
Sarsaparilla, sasparilla, and sassafras are all toxic in significant quantities. Thus, care should be taken in how strong you make your root beer and how much you drink in a day.
Producers of illegal drugs use safrole and isosafrole, derived from the oil of sassafras root bark, as a precursor in the manufacture of methylenedioxymethamphetamine (known as MDMA, ecstasy, XTC, and Adam). The use of sassafras as a flavoring was banned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1960 after safrole was found to be hepatocarcinogenic (liver-cancer-causing) in the rat.
--
David E. Ross
Climate: California Mediterranean
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Anyone who has ever pulled up a sassafras sapling knows instantly that the roots smell exactly like root beer......They grow like weeds in the woods of the Southeast. However, I didn't know this until I started clearing some underbrush from the woods behind my house in north Florida.
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thing to get a toxic ticturn. And the person saying there was something at the store, is speaking of the bottled concentrate (it's not THAT strong) is called "Pappy Sassafras" and it's safe to use. I would suspect living in Mississippi youi have it growing in the woods and just don't know it. Ask an older person. They'll point out the palmate leaves and you can dig up a sapling. I have six of them given me by the southern fairies and will encourage them to grow as they are also beautiful trees in the fall. madgardener
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The Root Beer Concentrate I wrote about is called just that "Root Beer Concentrate" It is from McCormick.
A 2.0 Ounce bottle of concentrate will make 5 Gallons of Root Beer. That seems pretty strong to me!
A URL for this product may be found at:
http://www.mccormick.com/productdetail.cfm?id `33
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Contains no sassafras. Sassafras oil was banned as a food additive by the FDA. They said it was because it's a mild carcinogen, but probably the real reason is that the main chemical is a precursor to the recreational drug ecstacy, and the government wanted to shut down the X labs in the US.
-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.
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one of the smaller roots. IIRC, an inch of root will make a pot of tea.
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therein lies the problem... I don't know anyone who knows.... it does make it difficult to locate...
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You may buy a Sassafras tree from Nature Hills Nursery. The price for a 4' tree is $21.95 + delivery.
Copy the URL below into your browser for more details.
http://www.naturehills.com/new/product/productdetails.aspx?proname=Sassafras+Tree&ovchn=GGL&ovcpn=Trees&ovcrn=sasafras+tree&ovtac=PPC
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Thank you very much. That is exactly what I was looking for, even if I didn't know it at the beginning of this thread.
Tony snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

1. Go to local library 2. Find botany section. 3. Copy picture of sassafras tree/leaves. 4. Good hunting!
OTOH, if you live where sassafras doesn't grow, make friends with a rebel, you damyankee :-).
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We're yankees up here, fer sher, and we've got plenty of sassafras growing around here...
--
Ann, gardening in Zone 6a
South of Boston, Massachusetts
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says...

the range for sassafrass is well up into NH, so being a damyankee shouldn't play into finding one ;) look for the tree with leaves that look like mittens (some have two "thumbs") & has bright yellow/orange/red fall color. lee
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snipped-for-privacy@empire.net says...

around here. I admit to not looking that hard, but I think I'd recognize one if I saw it. After all, they were thick in Kentucky where I grew up - and dug sassafras every spring. Wild ginseng too :-).
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