Parts used - the root
Helps ease inflammatory diseases such as rheumatism and arthritis.
Acts as a diuretic
Helps reduce fevers by promoting sweating
Helps ease some skin disorders such as eczema and psoriasis.
Acts as an expectorant and is often recommended by herbalists for coughs and colds.
No major side effects are known at this time. At high doses stomach upset and a burning sensation in the throat and mouth can occur.
No interaction with other drugs is known at this time, however chemicals called saponins that are found in sarsaparilla can quicken the absorption of some drugs.
History of Sarsaparilla Sarsaparilla is a perennial climbing vine. It has green flowers and prickly stems and is native to tropical areas of America and the West Indies.
Native Americans used Sarsaparilla to treat a wide variety of complaints including skin diseases, stomach problems, rheumatism, fevers and venereal diseases.
In China, traditional healers use plants from the same family to treat similar problems.
At the turn of the century Sarsaparilla root beer became a popular drink. It's popularity was not only for it's taste. For many years it was believed that Sarsaparilla was a "blood purifier" - this was a polite way of saying it was a remedy for syphilis. In fact for more than 150 years it was listed as a remedy for syphilis in both the; U.S. Pharmacopoeia and the National Formulation.
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