Sarsaparilla
What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings
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Sarsaparilla Usage

Written by FoundHealth.

What Is Sarsaparilla Used for Today?

There are no medicinal uses of sarsaparilla with meaningful scientific support.

Extremely weak evidence, far too weak to be relied upon at all, hints at possible antifungal, 1 anti-inflammatory, 2 3 and anti-cancer 4 5 effects.

Like numerous other herbs, sarsaparilla contains substances in the saponin family. One of these, sarsasapogenin, is often said to reproduce the effect of various hormones. However, there is no evidence whatsoever to support this claim.

Based on traditional usage, as well as ungrounded extrapolation from test tube findings, sarsaparilla is sold today as a treatment for psoriasis and other skin problems as well as cancer, menstrual disorders, and asthma . Other unsubstantiated uses include enhancing sexual function, improving mental function in Alzheimer’s disease , protecting the liver, and improving sports performance.

References

  1. Sautour M, Miyamoto T, Lacaille-Dubois MA. Steroidal saponins from Smilax medica and their antifungal activity. J Nat Prod. 68(10):1489-93.
  2. Shao B, Guo H, Cui Y, Ye M, Han J, Guo D. Steroidal saponins from Smilax china and their anti-inflammatory activities. Phytochemistry. 68(5):623-30.
  3. Xu J, Li X, Zhang P, Li ZL, Wang Y. Antiinflammatory constituents from the roots of Smilax bockii warb. Arch Pharm Res. 28(4):395-9.
  4. Thabrew MI, Mitry RR, Morsy MA, Hughes RD. Cytotoxic effects of a decoction of Nigella sativa, Hemidesmus indicus and Smilax glabra on human hepatoma HepG2 cells. Life Sci. 77(12):1319-30.
  5. Cox SD, Jayasinghe KC, Markham JL. Antioxidant activity in Australian native sarsaparilla ( Smilax glyciphylla ). J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;101:162-168.
 
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