has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Central and
South America for sexual impotence, rheumatism, skin ailment, and a
tonic for physical weakness. Sarsaparilla root was used by South
American indigenous tribes as a general tonic where New World
traders found it and introduced it into European medicine in the
1400's. European physicians considered it an alterative tonic, blood
purifier, diuretic and diaphoretic.
Sarsaparilla root was introduced into European medicine in 1536, where
it developed a strong following as a cure for syphilis and rheumatism.
Since this time, the Smilax genus has a long history of use for syphilis
and other sexually transmitted diseases throughout the world. With its
reputation as a blood purifier, it was registered as an official herb in
the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a syphilis treatment from 1820 to 1910.
From the 1500's to present, Sarsaparilla is used as a blood purifier and
general tonic, and has been used all over the world for the same
conditions, namely gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, wounds, arthritis, fevers,
coughs, scrofula, hypertension, digestive disorders, psoriasis, skin
disease, cancer and as a tonic.
The sarsaparilla plant was first recognized
as a pain relief treatment in Peru, where the vine's extract was used
joint pain and ailments associated
with the common cold. Additionally, the sarsaparilla plant has been used
both internally and externally for leprosy and other skin problems,
including psoriasis and dermatitis.
In addition to external uses, the flavonoids in sarsaparilla have been
documented to have immune modulation and even live protective activities.
A patent was granted in the U.S. in association with sarsaparilla's
apparent effectiveness in treating autoimmune diseases and inflammatory
reactions using immunomodulating effects.
The patent includes animal studies that also showed smilagenin ' part of
the sarsaparilla plant -
reversed the decline of brain receptors in
aged mice and restored the receptor levels to those observed in young
ones. The animal research also showed that these mice had a reversal in
the decline in cognitive function, and enhanced memory and learning.
Results of these studies have only been published in the context of the
patent so far, and have not yet appeared in any peer-reviewed journals.
Sarsaparilla is now available in a variety of tablets, capsules and
tincture products in many modern natural and health food stores. In
addition, sarsaparilla is found as a component ingredient in various
herbal remedies made for skin disorders, libido enhancement, hormone
balancing and even sports
herb is one of nature's many replacements for COX-2 inhibitor drugs like
Vioxx," said Mike Adams, a holistic nutritionist and proponent of
natural medicine. "It reduces inflammation naturally, and unlike
prescription drugs, it won't cause you to have a heart attack and die.
That's important to some consumers and even a few doctors," Adams said.
Aluminum, Ash, Beta-sitosterol, Calcium, Cetyl-alcohol , Chromium,
Cobalt, EO, Epsilon-sitosterol, Glucose, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese,
Parigenin, Parillin, Phosphorus, Pollinastanol, Potassium, Resin,
Saponin, Sarasaponin, Sarsaparilloside, Sarsaponin, Sarsasapogenin,
Selenium, Silicon, Sitosterol-d-glucoside, Smilagenin, Smilasaponin,
Stigmasterol, Tin, Zinc
Little Herb Encyclopedia, by Jack Ritchason; N.D., Woodland Publishing Incorporated, 1995
Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs, Rodale Press, Emmaus, Pennsylvania 1987
The Ultimate Healing System, Course Manual, Copyright 1985, Don Lepore
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Published by Dorling Kindersley