Sarsaparilla is essentially a plant found in tropical regions the world over from the Smilax genus. These are climbers with woody vines that thrive deep in the canopy of the rainforests of Jamaica, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, Honduras, and the West Indies.
There are various species if the sarsaparilla. They include;
- S. officinalis
- S. febrifuga
- S. aristolochiaefolia
- S. ornata
- S. regelii
- S. japicanga
This herb’s medicinal properties weren’t just discovered. Native populations in south and Central America were using the plant long ago for a variety of problems ranging from coughs to skin dermatitis. Here, these plants’ roots were ground up and used in making various types of natural remedies for various ailments.
What gives it the healing properties?
Researchers have tried to uncover this plant’s vast secrets. Over the years, they have found various chemicals and components in the plant that act inside the body in one positive form or another. These include;
This chemical is responsible for the bitter taste in the plant. However, it is an anti-inflammatory with the ability to also kill bacteria, fungus, and other harmful microbes. This chemical also mimics some human hormones in the body associated with youthfulness including more testosterone and estrogen.
- Plant sterols
This is yet another compound found in many plants with high fiber. As such, it has been linked with better digestive health, gut health, and heart health.
- Flavonoid antioxidants
Also available in these brightly colored vegetables and fruits such as berries, these compounds have been found to promote longevity, better skin health, reduced inflammation, better immune function, and eye health. One of the rarest flavonoids available in Sarsaparilla called astilbin is great in healing skin.
Health benefits linked to Sarsaparilla
Psoriasis: the ability of the sarsaparilla root to heal psoriasis was documented a while back. Conclusive evidence showed that the root dramatically changes the skin lesions on people suffering from the condition.
The sarsaparilla plant is known to be rich in a lot of powerful steroidal anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. These include asperagenin and tigogenin.
Given its anti-inflammatory properties, the sarsaparilla root is also great for conditions that bring about inflammation and joint pain such as arthritis.
2. Protect the liver
Studies have conclusively shown that sarsaparilla has active components that work to protect the liver, and also heal it in some cases. The plant is also widely known for its blood cleansing properties. Since the liver’s job is to eliminate poisons in our bodies, the sarsaparilla binds to endotoxins in the GI tract and bonds so that these harmful elements can be ejected from the body. The plant acids, antioxidants, and plant sterols have been found to have a lot of hepatoprotective effects within simple terms fight liver damage.
Scientists have found that the sarsaparilla root is 50% starch plus other nutrients. As such, you can eat it to get some energy. Researchers have also found that it works great as a tool to increase bioavailability in the body. This essentially means that it helps the body to better absorb other nutrients obtained from various foods throughout the day.