My grandmother, being part Creek Indian used to dig the roots and make a strong tea in the springtime for a tonic. Several things she had a habit of doing, she learned from her mother, grandmother, and other relatives. Any other time of the year it was made weaker and simply drank because of its pleasant taste. It has a pleasant taste similar to root beer, even though sassafras does differ from sarsaparilla. Both are beneficial to your health.
Some people use the bark, while others use the whole root itself. It varies within different regions. All the different parts of sassafras can be used for food and/or medicine. The dried leaves can be ground up and used in gumbo, as a thickener, and has a subtle but unique flavor as well.
WARNING NOTE: In large quantities it is said to be toxic. Pregnant ladies shouldn't drink it unless okay'ed with her doctor or natural practitioner, just to be on the safe side. Do your own research and decide for yourself.