October 24, 2014
The blaze of Autumn sears my vision with sizzling scenery.
There is nothing mellow about Autumn in Michigan.
At every turn, I am dazzled by golden hued splendor.
One of my favorite Autumn trees is the sassafras which boasts a trinity of colors…
and shapes on its branches.
Crush the leaves and you will smell its’ history. Wafting over the ocean, the root beer fragrance greeted the
exhausted sailors, who were considering mutiny, on the initial voyage of Christopher Columbus.
“Land ho!” they vigorously shouted.
Taught by Native Americans, Columbus soon learned the multifaceted uses of the fragrant tree. Its
medicinal uses were many: to treat fever, prevent colds, relieve toothache, stop arthritic pain,
as a tonic after labor, and to cure venereal disease. This potent cure-all soon became the first major
export from the New World to Europe. It was also used as a fragrance in soaps and perfumes, and for
the popular drink- root tea.
Root tea, later called root beer, was made by boiling the roots of sassafras with molasses and spices. This
brew was then added to soda water for a frothy mug of sassafrasness.
When it was discovered sassafras oil, or safrole, is a carcinogen, sassafras use was banned by the FDA.
According to old timers, root beer today is dull compared to the original sassafras root beer. This seems
likely as safrole is currently used to make the illegal drug ecstasy.
Ecstasy is what I feel while photographing the glowing blaze of this splendored tree. Sassafras- a common
sight of uncommon beauty.
Thanks for visiting
I hope your
day is ablaze