One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The sassafras, Sassafras albidum, parts of which (especially the root and bark) were formerly used in the treatment of fevers.
Late 16th century; earliest use found in John Gerard (c1545–1612), herbalist. From ague + tree, with allusion to the use of the root of this tree in the treatment of fevers.
ague tree/ˈeɪɡjuː ˌtriː/
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