Sassafras Oil

From Cargo Handbook - the world's largest cargo transport guidelines website
Infobox on Sassafras Oil
Example of Sassafras Oil
Sassafras oil.jpg
Origin -
Stowage factor (in m3/t) -
Humidity / moisture -
Ventilation -
Risk factors See text

Sassafras Oil


Sassafras is a genus of three extant and one extinct species of deciduous trees in the family Lauraceae, native to eastern North America and eastern Asia. Sassafras trees grow from 9–18 m tall and spreading 7.5–12 m. The trunk grows 70–150 cm in diameter, with many slender branches, and smooth, orange-brown bark. The branching is sympodial. The bark of the mature trunk is thick, red-brown, and deeply furrowed. The wood is light, hard, and sometimes brittle. All parts of the plants are very fragrant. The species are unusual in having three distinct leaf patterns on the same plant, unlobed oval, bilobed (mitten-shaped), and trilobed (three-pronged); the leaves are hardly ever five-lobed. They have smooth margins and grow 7–20 cm long by 5–10 cm broad. The young leaves and twigs are quite mucilaginous, and produce a citrus-like scent when crushed. The tiny, yellow flowers are five-petaled, and bloom in the spring; they are dioecious, with male and female flowers on separate trees. The fruit are blue-black, egg-shaped, 1 cm long, produced on long, red-stalked cups, and mature in late summer.

Steam distillation of dried root bark produces an essential oil consisting mostly of safrole, which once was extensively used as a fragrance in perfumes and soaps, food and for aromatherapy. Sassafras extract was a primary ingredient in root beer. Commercial "sassafras oil" generally is a byproduct of camphor production in Asia or comes from related trees in Brazil. Safrole is a precursor for the clandestine manufacture of the drug MDMA, as well as the drug MDA (3-4 methylenedioxyamphetamine) and as such, its transport is monitored internationally.

Shipment / Storage / Risk factors

Sassafras oil is an essential oil and is from plant origin.

A concentration of the odour from this oil is highly volatile and inflammable. It has an acid taste and an extremely pungent smell and if a leak occurs, can contaminate and damage tropical products such as tea, Coffee Beans, Cocoa Beans, tobacco etc. These hermetically closed drums should be carefully examined and checked prior to stowage in a 20 ft GP container, which has been lined with heavy duty poly film for protection. Never reuse any of the packaging on subsequent cargoes.

Storage: In cool and dry place in tightly sealed original containers and protected from light.

Appearance: Pale yellow to slight yellow liquid with strong special spicy sweet odour

Package: In galvanized iron drum of 180kg net weight each.

Reference is made to the relevant IMO regulations on hazardous cargo. Also consult the applicable MSDS sheet.