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Sarsaparilla, also known by the names name Brown Sarsaparilla or Honduran Sarsaparilla, is a tropical perennial climbing vine with long prickly stems, shiny heart shaped leaves and numerous reddish-brown roots. Native to South America, Central America and the Caribbean. The name itself is from the Spanish word “sarza”, meaning brambles and “parilla”, meaning vine. Smilax ornata is a member of the Smilacaceae plant family.
Sarsaparilla Root has been used by Indigenous peoples of Central and southern America for hundreds of years, and in Europe since the 15th century after Spanish explorers found Indigenous tribes making Sarsaparilla beverages as a general health tonic.
Indigenous tribes in Central and South America used the Sarsaparilla plant to treat joint problems, for liver health and “blood-purifying” and for healing skin problems like psoriasis, eczema and dermatitis. Sarsaparilla was used by Indigenous tribes for physical weakness and impotence.
Sarsaparilla was the name of a soft drink that was popular in the early 1800s. The Sarsaparilla soft drink best described as a taste like root beer, or birch beer was flavoured by a plant called Sassafras. The Sarsaparilla plant was used to produce the characteristic foam (saponins form soapy bubbles). Today, Sarsaparilla drinks can only be found online and in specialty stores and most do not contain Sarsaparilla or Sassafras, instead they contain natural and artificial flavouring.
The taste of Sarsaparilla Root is sweet and reminiscent of Wintergreen, Vanilla and Licorice. Sarsaparilla Root is energetically cooling, dispersive and astringent. Sarsaparilla has an affinity to the reproductive organs, blood, endocrine system, liver, musculoskeletal system and skin. For the blood cleansing combine Sarsaparilla with Burdock Root, Red Clover or Oregon Grape. To support a women’s reproductive system, combine Sarsaparilla with Vitex, Schizandra or Black Haw.
How to use:
1 teaspoon of Sarsaparilla Root to one cup of boiling water. Simmer for 15 minutes, strain and drink up to three cups a day. Make into a syrup or tincture.
Cautions & contraindications:
Avoid Sarsaparilla if you have kidney problems. Sarsaparilla might make kidney disease worse.
This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or illness. Please consult your healthcare provider prior to the use of this product if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medications or have a medical condition. Individual results may vary.