I hope you saw what was at the end of my initial post where I missed seeing your name and admitted I had mistakenly assumed you were inexperienced: I apologized and will again apologize that you were in some way insulted or I offended you. Instead of retyping I was hoping (well, assuming) you would understand my mistake and be able to look past the obvious references which did not apply.This could turn into a real pissing contest!!! I only replied by stating what I have personally experienced. Not verifying facts from some statement made in an article that you may have read. This is something I have done and have firsthand experience doing. I have not chewed on tree twigs nor bark of some of the trees you mentioned for the reasons you stated. All I said was I have dug the roots of the Sassafras tree and washed and chewed on them and made a tea out of the boiled roots. I have gone to the store and purchased the sassafras roots that have been shaved into strips and made the tea that way also.
Why don't you go and find a Sassafras tree, and dig up some of the roots and see what it tastes like. I'd tell you what the leaves look like, but I'm sure you already know what it looks like. And your reference to young people having some sort of skewed ideas based on the media, doesn't fly with me. I am 78 years old and know enough to experience something first hand before I try to defend an opinion. Now "that's my story and I'm sticking to it"
I guess you did not notice that nowhere did I question your experience? I only addressed why the drinks are named what they are while mistakenly thinking someone without experience (younger) had asked the question. I then put in a note which I would do with any younger person of not falling into the trap of thinking an opinion is always true but verifiable facts are needed. Being a teacher, I can easily testify this mindset is NOT is something students are taught nowadays for the most part. They are taught what to think instead of how.
As to actually experiencing digging the sassafras roots and boiling/using them, I have also done that (many times) as well. There is no way you could no know I used to be avidly into what I called "survival camping," (meaning nothing except the clothes on my back went into the woods with me where I would live off of the land for a number of days). I also have used this very tree and its parts to teach people some of the skills it takes to live in the wild, as well as using other many other plants the same way.
So while our personal experiences with this specific root have varied, what I experienced many times over was exactly in line with what I originally posted, and what you will find in survival textbooks, recipes for wild teas, etc. When the internet was born it just made it easier to find these things.
The sassafras root I have made tea from (again, many times) has a flavor including anise with no hint of wintergreen (as the birch I have used many times does). This falls in line with all the sources I have seen.
I also have no idea why your experiences were different. And if you look back, I never questioned your experience which, in my opinion/experience, would be a very foolish thing for me to do seeing as I was not there!
I hope this clears up my thoughts and reasons for what I posted.