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First Aid for Sassafras Oil Overdose

Last updated Feb. 19, 2018

Approved by: Krish Tangella MD, MBA, FCAP

Sassafras Oil Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound in dosage higher than recommended values.

What is Sassafras Oil Overdose?

  • Sassafras oil is an aromatic compound that is derived from the bark, wood, or roots of the deciduous sassafras tree. The tree is endemic to certain parts of Asia and America
  • Sassafras is sometimes used (by natives/locals) to treat insect stings, acne, high body temperatures, relieve flatulence, and certain disorders of the urinary system
  • The oil can be acutely toxic, if substantial amounts are consumed. Also, the oil is classified as a carcinogen and long-term use can be detrimental
  • Sassafras Oil Overdose is the accidental or intentional intake of the compound in dosage higher than recommended values
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

What are the Causes of Sassafras Oil Overdose?

  • Sassafras Oil Overdose is caused by the ingestion of sassafras oil in dosage that is higher than recommended
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of the compound or other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects (such as an overdose).

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Sassafras Oil Overdose?

The signs and symptoms of Sassafras Oil Overdose can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. Several systems of the body, such as the digestive system, nervous system, vascular system, respiratory system, and skin may be affected.

The signs and symptoms of Sassafras Oil Overdose may include

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea and pain in the abdomen
  • Increased heart-rate
  • Reduced blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Feeling dizzy, fainting or unconsciousness
  • Hallucinations
  • Application of too much oil on skin may result in burns

How is First Aid administered for Sassafras Oil Overdose?

First Aid tips for Sassafras Oil Overdose:

  • If the individual with Sassafras Oil Overdose is experiencing life-threatening symptoms, call 911 (or your local emergency help number) immediately
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as dosage, strength and time of ingestion of the compound, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

The emergency medical health professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Administer suitable medication to counter effects of the poison (oil), if ingested
  • Gastric lavage for elimination of the compound from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Medically manage symptoms, such as abnormal heart rate
  • Provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of compound in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the compound from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line

Who should administer First Aid for Sassafras Oil Overdose?

First aid for Sassafras Oil Overdose is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who overdosed, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Sassafras Oil Overdose?

  • The prognosis of Sassafras Oil Overdose is dependent on the amount of compound consumed, time between overdose and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms, with early medication and support, the outcome is generally good
  • In case of severe symptoms including damage to the kidneys or liver, it may considerably worsen the outcome

In general, overdoses are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Sassafras Oil Overdose be Prevented?

Sassafras Oil Overdose can be prevented by:

  • Always taking the right dose of medication at recommended times
  • Refrain from self-medication
  • Keeping medications out of reach of children in child-proof containers

It is important to give your healthcare provider a complete list of prescription and non-prescription medications that are being currently taken. This will help them in assessing the possible drug interactions within various medications and help avoid/prevent accidental or unintentional toxic drug effects.

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, dosage and time of administration of medication
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?

References and Information Sources used for the Article:

Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: June 25, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 19, 2018