Sarsaparilla has gained its peak of fame due to a popular soft drink in Western culture that said to contain its active ingredient. The drink that had a similar taste to rootbeer was introduced in the West during the 19th century, but didn’t actually had sarsaparilla roots but rather a flavoring mixture of birch oil and sassafras. Sarsaparilla drink during that age became a root of mockery within manly cowboys when ordered at a saloon, as they have formerly classified it as a “sissy drink”. Sarsaparilla drink was a well-known beverage in the old West ordered by cowboys before visiting brothels as it was said could help avoid infections like syphilis and gonorrhea.
Today, loads of studies are proving the medicinal benefits of sarsaparilla plant to several diseases. Most researches indicate its effect as a libido booster and could also aid to menopausal symptoms.
What is Sarsaparilla?
Sarsaparilla is a long perennial vine with prickly stems and long, creeping roots. It is native in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Its scientific name is Smilax ornate and also known as Honduran sarsaparilla, Jamaican sarsaparilla and “khao yen” in ancient China. Its name is derived from a Spanish word zarzaparrilla, which means zarza as “bramble” and parrilla, meaning “little grape vine”. Roots of Sarsaparilla are mostly used in treatments of diseases.
How Sarsaparilla Works?
Sarsaparilla contains different active ingredients and one of those that is responsible for its healing property is the saponins, specifically sarsapogenin saponins. This compound could be altered to steroids in the lab and are not naturally produced by the human body. Saponins bind to endotoxin (a compound that could kill harmful bacteria) in the digestive tract that results to its therapeutic property in some ailments of the joints, liver and reproductive system. In fact, during 1820 to 1910, sarsaparilla was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis.
The herb is also said to balance the glandular function by producing and stabilizing the hormone production of testosterone and progesterone, that leads to increase of sexual drive.
Sarsaparilla in Menopause
Aside from the fact that sarsaparilla could help boost libido by heightening the production of sexual hormones like progesterone and joint problems, bloating, urinary problems, skin problems (i.e. acne) and fatigue., this plant also has anti-inflammatory properties that could help menopausal women ease with
Other Uses of Sarsaparilla
Sarsaparilla, as mentioned, has antibacterial properties that could also cure, , acne and syphilis. In Chinese medicine and South American culture, the anti-inflammatory property of the plant is used to treat leprosy. While cultures in Jamaica believed that sarsaparilla could help in arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
The herb is also believed to have antioxidant properties, and could cleanse the blood and organs by flushing out toxins through perspiration and urination. It also nourishes the organs like liver and colon, and believed that could enhance the vision.
Side Effects of Sarsaparilla
Some people might encounter allergic reactions with sarsaparilla that could result to skin rash or hives. Inhalation of its roots may also trigger asthma attacks. So if you experience shortness of breath, chest pain or inflammation of the tongue, it is suggested that you consult professional help immediately.
Saponins found in this plant could also irritate the gastrointestinal lining, which could result to stomach upsets. However, this effect could be experienced after consuming large amounts of sarsaparilla.
Also, due to herb’s constituent calledthat produces similar effects with estrogen, people taking birth control pills or hormone replacement therapies, as well as pregnant women should not use sarsaparilla-containing products.
Taking of the herb and its supplement is also not advised to people with kidney problems as it haseffects that irritate the kidney.
Sarsaparilla products are widely available in health stores as capsule, root, tincture or supplement. Some natural hormone balancing products and skin care products also contain sarsaparilla. However, take extra care and awareness when buying sarsaparilla and make sure the labels indicate potency, strength, instructions, validity date, warnings, precaution, and should have the name of a reliable manufacturer.
Below you find some good Sarsaparill products that are natural and organic.
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