Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Traditionally, filé powder is made from sassafras, which has been shown to cause liver cancer in laboratory studies . For this reason, major grocery-store spice brands sell a mixture of other herbs as filé powder. Genunine sassafras is available from specialty suppliers, who claim that the health risks are negligible when ordinary amounts of filé powder is used.
Filé powder has also been made traditionally from Sassafras leaves, which do not contain safrole, the volatile oil linked with cancer in lab rats. Filé powder made from sassafras leaves can still be found commercially and is used extensively in Louisiana.
- McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997:152-4.
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