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Herbs & Plants

Sarsaparilla (Smilax sarsaparilla )

Botanical Name : Smilax sarsaparilla
FamilySmilacaceae
Genus: Smilax
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Liliales
Species: S. regelii
Common NamesSarsaparilla , zarzaparrilla,  Honduran Sarsaparilla,  Jamaican Sarsaparilla., khao yen, saparna, smilace, smilax, zarzaparilla, jupicanga

Habitat :Smilax sarsaparilla is native to Central America.

Description:
It is a perennial trailing vine with prickly stems that . Common names include It is known in Spanish as zarzaparrilla, which is derived from the words zarza, meaning “shrub,” and parrilla, meaning “little grape vine.”

click to see the pictures

Subshrubs or vines ; rhizomes black, knotted, 5-6 × 2 cm, often with white to pinkish stolons. Stems perennial , prostrate to clambering , branching, slender, to 1 m , ± woody, densely woolly-pubescent, usually prickly (especially at base ). Leaves mostly evergreen , ± evenly disposed; petiole 0.05-0.25 cm, often longer on sterile shoots ; blade gray-green, drying to ashy gray-green, obovate to ovate-lanceolate, with 3 prominent veins, 6-10.5 × 5-8 cm, glabrous adaxially, densely puberulent abaxially, base cordate to deeply notched , margins entire, apex bluntly pointed . Umbels 1-7, axillary to leaves, 5-16-flowered, loose , spherical ; peduncle 0.2-0.8 cm, shorter than to 1.5 as long as petiole of subtending leaf. Flowers: perianth yellowish; tepals 3-4 mm; anthers much shorter than filaments ; ovule 1 per locule; pedicel thin, 0.1-0.4 cm. Berries red, ovoid , 5-8 mm, with acute beaks , not glaucous. (source   :Flora of North America)

The red, pointed fruits and densely pubescent herbage of Smilax pumila are distinctive.

The name Smilax humilis Miller, which predates S. pumila by 20 years and recently has been determined to apply also to this species, has been proposed for rejection (J. L. Reveal 2000). If that proposal is not adopted, the correct name will be S. humilis.

Medicinal Uses:
Common Uses: Eczema * Psoriasis * Rheumatoid Arthritis *
Properties:  Depurative* Antibacterial* AntiViral* Tonic* Anti-inflammatory* Appetite Depressant/Obesity* Antiscrofulous*
Parts Used: Root
Constituents: parillin (smilacin), glucoside, sarsapic acid, saponins: sarsasaponin, sarsaparilloside, many flavonioids and starch

For many years, people thought sarsaparilla had testosterone in it, but there is none present, or for that matter in any plant studied so far. The spicy, pleasant smelling root is what gave old fashioned root beer its bite and is the part used medicinally. The exact mechanism of action has not been identified, however it is thought that the phytosterols it contains stimulate hormone-like activity in the body. However most modern herbalists no longer believe that sarsaparilla cures syphilis, build muscles or cure a flagging libido. There is research to substantiate its use. for gout, arthritis, psoriasis, ulcerative colitis and eczema. Certain root phytochemicals, called saponins, have soothed psoriasis, most likely by disabling bacterial components called endotoxins. Endotoxins show up in the bloodstreams of people with psoriasis, arthritis and gout.If you have any of these conditions, and feel the need for an all-around tonic to help you fight stress sarsaparilla could certainly play a beneficial role.

It was thought by Central Americans to have medicinal properties, and was a popular European treatment for syphilis when it was introduced from the New World. From 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. Modern users claim that it is effective for eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, herpes, and leprosy, along with a variety of other complaints. No peer reviewed research is available for these claims. However, there is peer reviewed research suggesting that it has anti-oxidant properties, like many other herbs.

Other Uses
Sarsaparilla is used as the basis for a soft drink sold for its taste, frequently of the same name, or called Sasparilla. It is also a primary ingredient in old fashioned root beer, in conjunction with Sassafras, more widely available prior to studies of the potential health risks of sassafras.

Sarsaparilla is not readily available in most countries, although many pubs and most major supermarket chains in Malaysia, The United Kingdom and Australia stock sarsaparilla flavored soft drinks. In Malaysia, it is called “Sarsi” amongst many other names. In America, the prevalent brand is Sioux City Sarsaparilla.[citation needed] In Taiwan, HeySong Sarsaparilla soda is also commonly available for purchase from convenience stores and street vendors.

Sarsaparilla was a popular drink in the Old West.

Research:
Sarsaparilla contains steroidal saponins, such as sarsasapogenin, which some researcher claim can duplicate the action of some human hormones. However, this purported property of sarsaparilla remains has not been substantiated by empirical evidence.

Sarsaparilla also contains beta-sitosterol, a phytosterol, which may contribute to the anti-inflammatory property of this herb. A few reports suggest that sarsaparilla has both anti-inflammatory and liver-protecting effects. Similar findings on the effect of sarsaparilla on psoriasis can also be found in European literature.

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Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.houseofnutrition.com/sarsaparilla.html
http://zipcodezoo.com/Plants/S/Smilax_pumila/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smilax_regelii
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail297.php

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Indian Sarsaparilla/Anantamul

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Botanical name : Hemidesmus Indicus.

Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae

Subfamily: Asclepiadoideae
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Genus: Hemidesmus
Species: H. indicus

Indian Name: Magarbu
Sanskrit: Anantamul
Hindi: Kapuri
Telugu: Sugandhi-pala
Common names: Sariva, sarbia, ontomulo, naruninti Nannari, tygade beru, anant-vel, durivel

Synonyms: Hemidesmus. Periploca Indica. Nunnari Asclepias. Pseudosarsa.
Part Used: Dried root.
Habitat: All parts of India, the Moluccas, and Ceylon.

Description: A climbing slender plant with twining woody stems, and a rust-coloured bark, leaves opposite, petiolate, entire, smooth, shiny and firm, varying in shape and size according to their age. Flowers small green outside, deep purple inside, in axillary, sessile racemes, imbricated with flowers, followed with scale-like bracts. Fruit two long slender spreading follicles.

Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) is a species of plant that is found in South Asia. It is a slender, laticiferous, twining, sometimes prostrate or semi-erect shrub. Roots are woody and aromatic. The stem is numerous, slender, terete, thickened at the nodes. The leaves are opposite, short-petioled, very variable, elliptic-oblong to linear-lanceolate. The flowers are greenish outside, purplish inside, crowded in sub-sessile axillary cymes.

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This plant has long been used in India as an antisyphilitic in place of Sarsaparilla, but was not introduced into England till 1831. The root is long, tortuous, rigid, cylindrical, little branched, consisting of aligneous centre, a brownish corky bark, furrowed and with annular cracks, odour aromatic, probably due to Coumarin and not unlike Sassafras or new-mown hay, with a bitter, sweetish, feeble aromatic taste. One side of the root is sometimes separated from the cork and raised above the cortex and transversely fissured, showing numerous laticiferous cells in the cortex.

It is a perinial creaping herb,with woody fragrant rootstock.It has a slender hairless stem, variable dark green leaves,greenish flowers and narrow cylinderical fruits. The dried roots constitute the drug. In the ancient Indian literature, the plant has been mentioned as an important medicine. The roots of the plant containt resins, tanin and glycoside.

Constituents-:Unknown. No satisfactory investigation has yet been made of the chemical properties. But a volatile oil has been found in it and a peculiar crystallizable principle, called by some Hemidesmine; others suggest that the substance is only a stearoptene. It also contains some starch, saponin, and in the suberous layer tannic acid.

Chemical analysis of the root showed the presence of coumarins, volatile oil the chief component of which is p-methoxy salicylic aldehyde, two sterols and a pregnane glycoside (Puri 2003).

It is occurring over the greater part of India, from the upper Gangetic plain eastwards to Assam and in some places in central, western and South India.

Uses:
It is a good remedy for venereal diseases, herpes and skin diseases.
It also useful for arthritis, rheumatism.
It purifies the urino-genital tract.
Good remedy for gout , epilepsy, insanity, chronic nervous diseases.
It also effects nervous system.
It also cures intestinal gas, debility, impotence, turbid.
It is a good blood-cleanser.
Indian Sarsaparilla stimulates the production of sexual hormones.
The root extract has antibacterial activity.

The roots are sweet tonic and exercise a soothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes. They are useful in correcting disorders due to malneutrition, purify blood,promote flow of urine and restore normal body functions. The herb is very useful in syphilis, leucorrhoea and other geneto- urinary diseases. A decoction of it’s root is to be adminstered thrice a day . A syrup made from the roots is an effective diuretic. The drug is beneficial in the treatment of fevers. Its diaphoretic properities induces copious perspiration and reduces the temperature of the body.

Hemidesmus root is said to be tonic, diuretic, and alterative. It was introduced into Great Britain from India, and was employed for some time under the name of Smilax aspera . It is used for the same purposes as sarsaparilla, and in some instances it is said to have proved successful in syphilis when that medicine had failed, but it cannot be relied upon. The native practitioners in India are said to employ it in nephritic complaints, and in the sore mouth of children. It is used in the form of infusion or decoction, made in the proportion of two ounces of the root to a pint of water. A pint (500 mils) may be given in wineglassful doses in the course of the day. A syrup was official in the Br., 1898.

Medicinal Action and Uses-:–Appetiser, Carminative, aphrodisiac, Astringent.

It is Tonic, Diuretic, Demulcent, Disphoretic and Blood purifier. Employed in Nutritional disorders, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, gravel and other urinary diseases and skin afections. It is also employed as a vehicle for Pottasium Iodine.

Alterative, tonic and diuretic. Useful for rheumatism, scrofula, skin diseases and thrush; it is used as an infusion, but not as a decoction as boiling dissipates its active volatile principle. Two OZ. of the root are infused in 1 pint of boiling water and left standing for 1 hour then strained off and drunk in 24 hours.

It has been successfully used in the cure of venereal disease, proving efficacious where American Sarsaparilla has failed. Native doctors utilize it in nephritic complaints and for sore mouths of children.

Syrup, B.P., 1/2 to 1 drachm.

It is used to make beverages and also used in traditional medicine. In Ayurveda it goes by the name of ananthamoola or Anantmula. It is also called the False Sarsaparilla. The plant enjoys a status as tonic, alterative, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic and blood purifier. It is employed in nutritional disorders, syphilis, chronic rheumatism, gravel and other urinary diseases and skin affections. It is administered in the form of powder, infusion or decoction as syrup. It is also a component of several medicinal preparations.

It is one of the Rasayana plants of Ayurveda, as it is anabolic in its effect. It stimulates the flow of bile and removes toxins from the body. It is a good diuretic and increases flow of urine three to four times. When used with Tinospora, the herb’s effect is enhanced further. It relieves inflammation of urethra and burning micturition and is also helpful for third or fourth stages of syphilis.

It is sometimes confused with other Ayurvedic herb called white sariva.

The root is a substitute for Sarsaparilla (the dried root of the tropical species of Smilax, Smilacaceae; in India Smilax aspera L., and Smilax ovalifolia Roxb.).It should be distinguished from American Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochaefolia Mill and Jamaican Sarsaparilla Smilax ornata Hook.f. (Puri 2003)

Particularly indicated for inveterate syphilis, pseudo-syphilis, mescurio-syphilis and struma in all its forms. Also valuable in gonorrhoeal neuralgia and other depraved conditions of the system as well as for other diseases treated by other varieties.

Powder, 30 grains three times daily. Infusion or syrup, 4 fluid ounces.

The herb contains a hair- growing hormone.A decoction of the root can be used as a hair-wash. It promots hair growth.

A paste extracted from the roots of the plant is applied locally in treating swelling, rheumatic joints and boils. Powder of roots which are small and black can be used in tea or syrup.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein by is intended for educational purposes only.Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
Miracles of Herbs,
http://botanical.com
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemidesmus_indicus

http://www.orissafdc.com/products_medicinal_plants.php

http://www.ayurveda-herbal-remedy.com/indian-herbs/sarsaparilla.html

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