Sarsaparilla Root Benefits and Side Effects

  • Scientific name: Smilax ornate
  • Family: Lily
  • Part used: Root
  • Medicinal Properties: Alternative, carminative, tonic, diaphoretic
  • Organ it affects: Blood, skin, circulation, and intestines.
  • Origin: Rain forests of Central and South America, Jamaica and Caribbean regions
  • Available forms: powders, oils, teas and Sarsaparilla soft drinks.
  • Other common names:  Gray Sarsaparilla, Mexican Sarsaparilla, Vera Cruz Sarsaparilla, Equadorian Sarsaparilla, Shot Bush, Red-bearded Sarsaparilla, Brown Sarsaparilla, Smilax, Jamaican Sarsaparilla, Honduran Sarsaparilla, Rabbit Root

Sarsaparilla is a perennial woody vine that may reach fifty feet in length.  It has small flowers and black, blue or red berry-like fruits. The root (which is used for centuries as herbal medicine) is long, tuberous, it has a spicy-sweet and pleasant taste when processed, but before processing the roots are bitter, sticky and have a strong odor. Sarsaparilla is also used in softdrink making; this spicy, pleasant smelling root is what gave root beer its distinct taste and it is also responsible for root beer’s foaming qualities. You can buy sarsaparilla root from you local herb seller.

sarsaparilla plant
sarsaparilla plant

Sarsaparilla Root Benefits:

  • Sarsaparilla is used for disorders of the nervous system. Steep 1 tsp. rootstock in 1 cup water; take 1-2 cups a day.
  • Sarsaparilla tea is a blood cleanser, and is often taken as a tonic to boost stamina and energy.
  • Helps to build muscle mass.
  • Protects against radiation exposure.
  • Regulates hormones.
  • Sarsaparilla tea increases the flow of urine.
  • Sarsaparilla when taken hot, it induces sweating to help breaks fevers.
  • Sarsaparilla is useful for frigidity, infertility and impotence.
  • Beneficial for skin disorders like psoriasis and eczema. The saponin content of the root helps by disabling bacterial components called endotoxins that show up in the bloodstreams of people with psoriasis.
  • Beneficial for inflammatory disorders like arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. Although it does not relieve acute cases of gout, its use may prevent attacks when taken over a period of weeks or months.
  • Sarsaparilla tea is good eyewash.
  • Sarsaparilla tea is good as a wash or poultice on ringworm.
  • Sarsaparilla is a weak diuretic and laxative, making it useful in removing excess water from the body and also in treating mild constipation.
  • Sarsaparilla is also used in flatulence, multiple sclerosis, mercury poisoning, breathing disorders, and sexually transmitted diseases.

    sarsaparilla dried root
    sarsaparilla dried root

Sarsaparilla Root Nutrient Content: vitamin A, C, B-vitamins, D, choline, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus, potassium, chromium, cobalt, zinc. Other compounds includes; beta-sitosterol, starch, fatty acids, cetyl-alcohol, glucose, resin, saponin, silicon, sitosterol-d glucoside, tin.

Preparation and Dosage:

  • Decoction: Simmer 15-30 minutes. Take 3 oz. 3 times daily.
  • Tincture: Take 5-15 drops 3 times daily.
  • Fluid Extract: Take 2-4 tsp. 3 times daily.
  • Powder: Take 5-10 capsules 3 times daily

Sarsaparilla Side Effects:

  • Sarsaparilla may cause stomach irritation and temporary kidney irritation
  • Huge dosage of sarsaparilla may cause gastrointestinal irritation, and if it happens dosage should be reduced or stopped.
  • Prescription medicine should not be taken at the same time as Sarsaparilla, because the medicine may be absorbed or excreted more rapidly.
  • Inhaling Sarsaparilla can make asthma worse in asthmatics.
  • Pregnant and nursing women should avoid Sarsaparilla.

Len Carpio

The majority of articles I published were focused on health. I’m very interested in using natural remedies as they enhance the body's ability to heal itself and have no harmful side effects. I became interested in natural remedies when I met a Gerson therapist, who told me that in Gerson therapy they use “ live food” (organic vegetable, fruits, etc) to cure their patients. For the body to fight different illnesses, our immune system should be strong. In Gerson therapy they promote the supplementation of healthy and nutritious “ live food” for the body to fight disease, repair and regain its strength. I hope you will enjoy and learn from reading my articles. Have a good day and lets all be healthy :)

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