Root Beer Rat Killer

by Green Deane

in Blog

It’s not smart or nice to lie about plants. It can get someone hurt. But the truth can sometimes be elusive, even with plants.

This week’s featured video is about the sassafras. And of course when you mention the sassafras as among the edibles there is always someone who hopes to throw a bucket of informed reality on that notion by saying it will cause cancer. Oh really?  The sassafras is a prime example that the truth can often be an excuse to do something else.

The oil in sassafras in high amounts can induce abortions. The oil in sassafras can be used to make a popular illegal drug. Now, could those be reasons to ban sassafras oil? Certainly, but those truths were not useable in the ’50s and ’60s. Abortion and dangerous drugs weren’t talked about much. So the powers that be fell back on the old stand by: Cancer. They fed rats sassafras oil that was like us drinking water from a blasting fire hose. And guess what? The lab rats — who have to be the most cancer susceptible creatures alive — got liver cancer. The next step was easy: Assume people can get liver cancer from drinking root beer (If you drank some 9,000 gallons of it in a year.)  The sassafras oil had to go.

The truth is the sassafras oil in the original root beer was 1/13 as cancer-causing as the alcohol in a can of regular beer.  One thirteenth. That’s not too life threatening… not exactly a significant carcinogen. Alcohol-filled chocolate cherries are more dangerous than that, but they ain’t banned.  Heck, the sugar in the root beer is more life threatening than the sassafras oil. However taken to its extreme limits sassafras oil might cause cancer in humans. That skinny truth was the excuse to get it banned. It was also the sole source of the cancer scare over sassafras.

That distortion has become medical dogma and most now sites sternly warn you to avoid “cancer-causing” sassafras. I’m sure that’s good news for the Sassafras but it shouldn’t dissuade us foragers now and then from enjoying  one of the tasty trees of the forest.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

John Mayor December 5, 2016 at 00:11

After examining the “evidence” concerning the human use of Sassafras, I’m convinced that the reason for the ban on this substance, was due to the enlistment of ORGANIZED ACADEMIC CRIMINALS and CORRUPT BUREAUCRATS AND POLITICIANS, by industries which were “ECONOMICALLY THREATENED” by the use of this natural product!
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Inasmuch as high school students could easily disprove the “cancer myth” associated with Sassafras, and, due to the PROVEN medicinal benefits inhere within Sassafras, the logical conclusion for a decision to ban the substance, was that someone was economically threatened by its use!… and so, set out to instigate its ban through a BOGUS ACADEMIC CAMPAIGN, AND STUDY!
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And the two industries which were most threatened by the increased acceptance of the use of Sassafras, was the pop industry and the beer industry! And all one need do to ascertain the veracity of this claim, is to examine the data linked to growth in “root beer” sales (in contrast to pop and beer!) at the time of its popularity!… and, the voiced pop and beer industry rhetoric which targeted Sassafras!
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And!… it’s not as if we have to look very far in order to find similar SMEAR CAMPAIGNS and BOGUS STUDIES, in an effort to stifle competitors! Such campaigns and “studies” have been in existence since the dawn of the “COMPETITOR”, and “COMPETITION”!
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To sum up, the clear solution to this ABUSE of the Sassafras using community, and, of Sassafras itself, is to instigate an IMPARTIAL GLOBAL STUDY of Sassafras… and, a subsequent ban on the ban, denying its use!
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Please!… no emails!

Reply

Yvette February 2, 2013 at 21:40

and we can drink that? or does it kill rats? sort of confusing with all the tasty sounding ingredients. 🙂

Reply

herb lover January 7, 2013 at 17:44

her’s my recipie
6 qts h20
3 lbs honey
1 oz licorice root
3 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp salt
1 oz sassafras root
1 oz simlax root
1 0z black cherry bark
1/2 cup molasses
6 cup sugar
1 vanilla been
1/4 cup raisins
1/8 tsp nut meg
3 cherries
50 juniper berries
boil 4 1 hr
1 oz wintergreen
strain
fizz

Reply

Aldo February 28, 2012 at 09:32

I hate the FDA. They are nothing but a money mill for the highest paying drug manufacturer.

Reply

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