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Sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis)
Found throughout the tropical regions of the Americas, sarsaparilla gained popularity among Europeans and Chinese as a treatment for syphilis. As word of this treatment spread, sarsaparilla soon became well known all over the world as a powerful medicine. Also called "wild Liquorice," it was once used to flavour soft drinks until large cola companies found better ingredients for mass production. Although sarsaparilla has been used to treat a wide variety of conditions, only a few properties have been experimentally verified.
In parts of South America, sarsaparilla was used to treat a variety of conditions, including Arthritis, cancer, Skin diseases. It was also used to treat Psoriasis and leprosy. Sarsaparilla has also been traditionally used for women?s health concerns, and was believed to have a progesterone-like effect. However, this hormonal effect has yet to be established.
Part of the plant used: ROOT.
Capsules, 2-4 g three times daily
Usually used in conjunction with other herbs.
Sarsaparilla may be used to treat Eczema, Psoriasis, and rheumatoid Arthritis. It may also be a possible treatment for microbial Infections, such as venereal diseases. Studies have shown that sarsaparilla possesses anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting properties (1,2).
Sarsaparilla may cause stomach and kidney irritation (3).
Avoid taking sarsaparilla with digitalis or bismuth, for it can increase absorption and/or elimination of these herbs (4).
1. Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.