Traditionally for healthy stamina & vitality*
Smilax spp. (S. regellii & S. aristolochilfolia)
This plant is a member of the lily family and native to tropical and temperate parts of the world and comprises about 350 species worldwide. It is native to South America, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Mexico (species ornate is native to Mexico), Honduras, and the West Indies. The name sarsaparilla is not surprisingly a derivation of the Spanish words that describe the plant; zarza (bramble or bush), parra (vine), and illa (small)—a small, brambled vine. It is a well known component of traditional Root Beer; though it is likely that the plant was used to produce the characteristic foam (saponins form soapy bubbles in solution), rather than as a flavoring agent. Root Beer was flavored with Sassafras.
Our Herbal Reference Guide lets you enhance your relationship with herbs by giving you a comprehensive profile of each plant.