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Sarsaparilla root (Smilax Ornata, Smilax regelii or Smilax officinalis) is a valuable herb with many therapeutic uses.


For centuries, indigenous people around the world used the root of the sarsaparilla plant for treating joint problems such as arthritis, healing skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The root was also thought to cure leprosy due to its blood-purifying properties.


Sarsaparilla was introduced into European medicine and eventually registered as an herb in the Unites States Pharmacopoeia to treat syphilis. The antimicrobial activity of sarsaparilla has been well documented in recent studies


Sarsaparilla contains a wealth of phytochemicals thought to have a therapeutic effect on the human body, including antioxidants, along with anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory compounds.


Main therapeutic uses for sarsaparilla include-

  •  Psoriasis

Sarsaparilla has been shown to be extremely beneficial for psoriasis sufferers. In one study, a group of 75 sufferers were given sarsaparilla tablets and 62% reported noticeable improvements.

  • Arthritis

Sarsaparilla has anti-inflammatory actions. This makes it also a useful treatment for inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and other causes of joint pain and the swelling caused by gout.

  • Syphilis

Sarsaparilla has shown activity against harmful bacteria and other microorganisms that cause disease. In fact, from 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium.

  • Cancer

A recent study showed that sarsaparilla had anticancer properties in cell lines of multiple types of cancers and in mice. Preclinical studies in breast cancer tumours and liver cancer have also shown the antitumor properties of sarsaparilla. More research is needed to find out if sarsaparilla can be used in cancer prevention and treatment.


Where to buy sarsaparilla? Mr Vitamin’s Herbal dispensary stocks sarsaparilla herb in a liquid extract. Please talk to one of our friendly herbalists or naturopaths if you would like this herb dispensed.

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    Sarsaparilla, a native of America, was historically used by the Indians for its 'alterative' properties. As an alterative, Sarsaparilla assists the body's cleansing processes and is therefore of particular use in dry skin conditions. View details
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