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Old 02-22-2010, 07:25 PM   #1
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File powder

Is file powder made from dried sassafras leaves or the root ? I always thought it was from the leaves, but i just saw someone on the food network say it was the ground root.

larry

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Old 02-22-2010, 07:31 PM   #2
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I always thought it was the leaves too.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:00 PM   #3
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File (as in Gumbo File) is ground from the dried sassafras leaves. The dried root was used in conjunction with sassparilla to make root beer until the health risks became known.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:26 PM   #4
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File' is definitely from the leaves. It wouldn't be the first time someone on the Food Network gave incorrect info.
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Old 02-22-2010, 08:51 PM   #5
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ok, thats what i thought. I remember seeing andrew zimmern do an episode on it, and they showed him grinding up the dried sassafras leaves. Today, i was watching one of those food challenges on the food network, and some guy explained it as the root. Just wanted to confirm.,

thanks
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:32 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Selkie View Post
File (as in Gumbo File) is ground from the dried sassafras leaves. The dried root was used in conjunction with sassparilla to make root beer until the health risks became known.
What are the health risks?
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:44 PM   #7
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There are many references, but specifically it is outlined as:

"The volatile oil of sassafras is believed to be the major active constituent of the plant. This oil contains up to 85% of the terpenoid known as safrole. Safrole causes liver cancer when given to laboratory animals in high doses for long periods of time. Sassafras bark, sassafras oil, and safrole are currently prohibited by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from use as flavorings or food additives. Human studies are lacking to verify the efficacy of sassafras for any condition. However, one case study has been published showing that sassafras acted as a diaphoretic in an otherwise healthy woman. While the amount of sassafras that could potentially cause cancer in humans remains unknown, one cup of strong sassafras tea is reported to contain as much as 200 mg of safrole, an amount that is four times higher than the amount considered potentially hazardous to humans if consumed regularly."

The amount of File normally used in cooking... and from someone who is normally very cautious about these matters... doesn't concern me in the slightest.
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Old 02-22-2010, 09:53 PM   #8
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I bought some a while back and never used it after reading the health issues. If my memory is functioning it is a carcinogen. The funny thing is that when we were kids and went to Lake Michigan for the day we'd dig up the plants from the woods, wipe them off on our shirts and chew on the roots. Guess I should be dead! Kind of like poaching the neighbor's rhubarb or her grapes, until I saw my first grape spider!
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