SARSAPARILLA

OTHER NAME(S):

Ecuadorian Sarsaparilla, Honduras Sarsaparilla, Jamaican Sarsaparilla, Liseron Épineux, Liseron Piquant, Mexican Sarsaparilla, Salsaparilha, Salsepareille, Salsepareille d’Europe, Salsepareille du Honduras, Salsepareille du Mexique, Sarsa, Sarsaparillae Radix, Sarsaparillewurzel, Smilax, Smilax Aristolochaefolia, Smilax Aristolochiaefolii, Smilax aristolochiifolia, Smilax china, Smilax febrifuga, Smilax medica, Smilax officinalis, Smilax ornate, Smilax regelii, Zarzaparrilla.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Sarsaparilla is a plant. The root is used to make medicine.

Sarsaparilla is used for treating psoriasis and other skin diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and kidney disease; for increasing urination to reduce fluid retention; and for increasing sweating. Sarsaparilla is also used along with conventional drugs for treating leprosy and for syphilis.

Athletes sometimes use sarsaparilla as a steroid for performance enhancement or bodybuilding. Some supplement makers claim that chemicals (sterols) in sarsaparilla can be converted to anabolic steroids like testosterone. But this is a false claim. The sterols contained in sarsaparilla are not anabolic steroids nor are they converted in the body to anabolic steroids. Testosterone has never been detected in any plant, including sarsaparilla.

Mexican and Honduran sarsaparillas are used for treating gonorrhea, fevers, and digestive disorders.

In manufacturing, sarsaparilla is used as a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and pharmaceuticals.

In the American “Old West,” sarsaparilla was the most popular drink of the cowboys.

Don’t confuse sarsaparilla with Indian or false sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus, Family: Apocyanaceae). There are reports that this false sarsaparilla is a common impurity found in sarsaparilla preparations. False sarsaparilla contains none of the possibly active chemicals found in true sarsaparilla (Smilax febrifuga, Family: Smilacaceae).

How does it work?

Chemicals in sarsaparilla might help decrease joint pain and itching, and might also reduce bacteria. Other chemicals might combat pain and swelling (inflammation), and also protect the liver against toxins.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of sarsaparilla for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Sarsaparilla seems safe for most people when used as a medicine. It might cause stomach irritation, especially when used in larger amounts.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of sarsaparilla during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Exposure to sarsaparilla root dust can cause runny nose and the symptoms of asthma.

Kidney disease: Sarsaparilla might make kidney disease worse. Avoid sarsaparilla if you have kidney problems.

Interactions

Interactions?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

!
  • Digoxin (Lanoxin) interacts with SARSAPARILLA

    Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Sarsaparilla might increase how much digoxin (Lanoxin) the body absorbs. By increasing how much digoxin (Lanoxin) the body absorbs sarsaparilla might increase the effects and side effects of digoxin (Lanoxin).

  • Lithium interacts with SARSAPARILLA

    Sarsaparilla might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking sarsaparilla might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of sarsaparilla depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for sarsaparilla. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Cai, Y., Chen, T., and Xu, Q. Astilbin suppresses collagen-induced arthritis via the dysfunction of lymphocytes. Inflamm.Res 2003;52(8):334-340. View abstract.
  • Chu, K. T. and Ng, T. B. Smilaxin, a novel protein with immunostimulatory, antiproliferative, and HIV-1-reverse transcriptase inhibitory activities from fresh Smilax glabra rhizomes. Biochem.Biophys.Res Commun. 2-3-2006;340(1):118-124. View abstract.
  • Huang, Y. G., Li, Q. Z., Ivanochko, G., and Wang, R. Novel selective cytotoxicity of wild sarsaparilla rhizome extract. J Pharm Pharmacol 2006;58(10):1399-1403. View abstract.
  • Kuo, Y. H., Hsu, Y. W., Liaw, C. C., Lee, J. K., Huang, H. C., and Kuo, L. M. Cytotoxic phenylpropanoid glycosides from the stems of Smilax china. J Nat.Prod. 2005;68(10):1475-1478. View abstract.
  • Sautour, M., Miyamoto, T., and Lacaille-Dubois, M. A. Steroidal saponins from Smilax medica and their antifungal activity. J Nat.Prod. 2005;68(10):1489-1493. View abstract.
  • Shu, X. S., Gao, Z. H., and Yang, X. L. Supercritical fluid extraction of sapogenins from tubers of Smilax china. Fitoterapia 2004;75(7-8):656-661. View abstract.
  • Thabrew, M. I., Mitry, R. R., Morsy, M. A., and Hughes, R. D. Cytotoxic effects of a decoction of Nigella sativa, Hemidesmus indicus and Smilax glabra on human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Life Sci. 8-5-2005;77(12):1319-1330. View abstract.
  • Vandenplas, O., Depelchin, S., Toussaint, G., Delwiche, J. P., Weyer, R. V., and Saint-Remy, J. M. Occupational asthma caused by sarsaparilla root dust. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1996;97(6):1416-1418. View abstract.
  • Wang, J., Li, Q., Ivanochko, G., and Huang, Y. Anticancer effect of extracts from a North American medicinal plant--wild sarsaparilla. Anticancer Res 2006;26(3A):2157-2164. View abstract.
  • Wang, J., Zhao, Y., and Xu, Q. Astilbin prevents concanavalin A-induced liver injury by reducing TNF-alpha production and T lymphocytes adhesion. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2004;56(4):495-502. View abstract.
  • Barron RL, Vanscoy GJ. Natural products and the athlete: facts and folklore. Ann Pharmacother 1993;27:607-15. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?CFRPart=182
  • Fetrow CW, Avila JR. Professional's Handbook of Complementary & Alternative Medicines. 1st ed. Springhouse, PA: Springhouse Corp., 1999.
  • Vandenplas O, Depelchin S, Toussaint G, et al. Occupational asthma caused by sarsaparilla root dust. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1996;97:1416-8.

More Resources for SARSAPARILLA

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2018.