Native to Equatorial America, sarsaparilla is common in several countries, and in Brazil it is mainly present in Minas Gerais. Similar to vines, sarsaparilla is a plant that has thick spear-shaped roots. Its flowers are whitish and small, and its fruits are reddish and have many seeds. The plant clings to trees seeking to reach sunlight, which is when they reach adulthood and bear flowers and fruit.
Scientific name Smilax aspera , sarsaparilla can be found to buy in health food stores and compounding pharmacies. If growing, harvest the roots in autumn. The plant should be placed in the sun to dry, away from moisture and always in ventilated places. When dry, store in tightly capped jars.
Properties and benefits
The plant was formerly used as a depurative, however, more recent studies have proven its diuretic, sweating and lubricant properties. It has essential oil, resin and glycosides in its composition, responsible for the benefits mentioned above. Its properties also involve anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, depurative, stimulating and toning action.
Sarsaparilla is indicated for arthritis, arteriosclerosis, excess uric acid, cystitis, high bad cholesterol, gout, flu, herpes, rheumatism, syphilis, cold and psoriasis. It is effective in the treatment of inflammatory and skin diseases, in addition to aiding in proper urinary functioning. It can be used in natural energy drinks, helping with bodybuilding recovery.
How to prepare tea?
The tea is made with the root, which is rich in testosterone, potassium and flavones, acting in the human body’s metabolism. Its consumption is common in the form of tea or through capsules made with the powder from the root.
To prepare tea, use the proportion of two tablespoons of crushed root to each liter of water. Put the water in a container, and bring to fire. Add the sarsaparilla and, when it comes to a boil, wait another ten minutes. Turn off the heat and then let it sit for about ten minutes. After this period, strain and take. The recommended dose is two or three cups a day.
Contraindications and side effects
Children under the age of ten, pregnant or lactating women, patients with hypertension, heart failure or kidney failure should not consume sarsaparilla. There are, however, no anticipated side effects. The use of plant berries is not indicated, as they are toxic. Excessive consumption can cause nausea and vomiting in patients.