Thursday, September 14, 2023

Extracting Safrole to Make Government-Banned Root Beer

The first time I ever tried root beer, I exclaimed, "This tastes like sassafras tea!" And my classmates looked at me like I'd grown two heads. My family did not buy soda pop, but Dad taught me how to identify a sassafras tree and dig up roots to make tea. The sassafras taste comes from safrole, which is banned because in high doses it can cause liver cancer in lab rats. So now, root beer and sassafras tea are made with artificial flavorings.  

Zach Armstrong of LabCoatz is an avid root beer fan, so he made his own. The process ranges from old-timey foraging for sassafras root to the lab chemistry of distilling and isolating the safrole. Then we get a recipe for root beer. Sassafras tea from my childhood was much simpler: boil the sassafras root in water, and add sugar if you want. The root beer part of this video ends at 10:22. (via Digg)


Spellucci said...
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Bicycle Bill said...

In a sufficiently large enough quantity, literally anything can be bad for you.  
And as for causing cancer in mice and rats, good!  These critters are pests, nuisances, and vermin, and the only thing that they are good for is as prey for larger predators.  Why else do you suppose humanity domesticated cats – sort of, and selectively bred dogs to create terriers?


Jim said...

File, the leaves of the sassafras tree, is heavily used in Cajun cooking.
I guar-un-tee.