Sarsaparilla is a plant of the Smilax species. Sarsaparilla is a woody vine that produces small flowers and either red, black, or blue berry like fruit. Sarsaparilla is native to South America and the Caribbean where the Jamaican or Honduran Smilax ornata and Mexican Smilax aristolochiifolia originate.
Sarsaparilla fruit was once used to make popular sarsaparilla soft drinks, which has a taste similar to root beer. Sarsaparilla has also been used by herbalists in traditional medicine for hundreds of years because of its medicinal properties. Herbalists have used sarsaparilla’s anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and toxin binding properties to purify the blood and treat skin conditions. Sarsaparilla is also nutritious and contains vitamins A, B-complex, C and D, and minerals iron, manganese, sodium, silicon, sulfur, copper, Zinc, and iodine.
Sarsaparilla has been used in traditional medicine to treat skin conditions like psoriasis and leprosy, rheumatoid arthritis and joint pain, headaches, colds, and sexual impotence. Scientific studies done on sarsaparilla have isolated compounds responsible for its medicinal properties.
Detoxification, Anti-inflammatory, And Anti-Cancer Properties
Sarsaparilla binds with toxins and detoxifies the blood. Sarsaparilla contains saponin compounds, that are not easily digested, that bind with endotoxin bacteria byproducts and remove them from the body via urine or stool. Sarsaparilla is also a diaphoretic and promotes the excretion of toxins through sweating.
Endotoxins cause powerful inflammatory reactions that can result in fever, flu-like symptoms, cough, headache and respiratory distress. Sarsaparilla has been used in treatment of psoriasis because of its ability bind with endotoxins associated with psoriasis and to reduce the associated inflammation.
Most saponins act as diuretics and force the excretion of toxins through urination. This action supports kidney health by clearing the kidneys of toxins. It is important to drink adequate amounts of water when taking diuretics so you don’t become dehydrated.
Studies have also shown sarsaparilla to possess antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
Herbalists often use sarsaparilla, burdock root, and yellow dock as a combination herbal cleanse of the blood, kidneys, and liver.