Sarsaparilla, also known by its Latin name, Smilax, is a tropical plant that grows in Mexico, South America and the Caribbean.
A member of the lily family, its roots are utilised for medicinal purposes.
The traditional use for sarsaparilla is as a general health tonic and to treat a variety of ailments, including syphilis, skin diseases and women’s health concerns.
Sarsaparilla also lends flavour to certain beverages, such as root beer.
Sarsaparilla plants are typically woody or thorny and are, most commonly found in tropical, warm, and temperate regions around the world.
You may know this plant by a different name, depending on where you live, including carrion flowers, or prickly-ivy.
These plants can grow in several forms, including evergreen shrubs, deciduous trees, and hanging vines, and they typically have clusters of red or purple berries.
Sarsaparilla contains a wealth of plant chemicals thought to have a beneficial effect on the human body.
It also includes chemicals known as saponins that might help reduce joint pain and skin itching and kill bacteria.
Other chemicals may help reduce inflammation and protect the liver from damage.
However, before taking sarsaparilla medicinally, consult a qualified, botanically trained health-care professional for dosage and safety considerations.
Smilax is a potent anti-inflammatory makes it also a useful treatment for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other causes of joint pain and the swelling caused by gout.