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Sarsaparilla or Smilax Regelii/Smilax Officinalis
A woody vine that grows up to 50 meters long and produces small flowers and black, blue, or red berry-like fruits. It has prickly stems and shiny leaves with reddish-brown roots up to 3 m long. They are bitter tasting, sticky, and have no smell. Itís also known as False Sarsaparilla. Wild Sarsaparilla, Shot Bush, Small Spikenard, Wild Liquorice and Rabbit Root.

Sarsaparilla oil extract is used in modern times to make a popular carbonated sweet beverage. (its Called SARs in Australia). Itís said to taste similar to some cough medicines, maybe because it was used to flavour medicine over the centuries. The most popular species for commercial use is the Jamaican Smilax Regelii. Home made root beer made from sarsaparilla roots is generally more "birch-y" tasting than the commercial brands which add additives like wintergreen oil extract to rid its bitterness.

Many chemicals exist in the root such as oils, smilasaponin, smilax saponins A-C, smiglaside A-E, smitilbin, stigmasterol, acetyl-parigenin, astilbin, beta-sitosterol, caffeoyl-shikimic acids, dihydroquercetin, diosgenin, engeletin, essential oils, epsilon-sitosterol, sarasaponin, sarsaparilloside, eucryphin, eurryphin, ferulic acid, glucopyranosides, isoastilbin, isoengetitin, kaempferol, parigenin, parillin, pollinastanol, resveratrol, rhamnose, saponin, sarsaponin, sarsasapogenin, shikimic acid, sitosterol-d-glucoside, smilagenin, taxifolin, and titogenin. 

Warnings
Large doses may cause gastrointestinal upsets and interact with other medicines.

Medical Uses
Psoriasis lesions, Syphilis, Rheumatism, Wounds, Acne, and other skin conditions and anti-inflammatory: Drink a decoction as directed using the receipe below. You can also apply this to your skin and effected areas, as a tincture ointment made by soaking the chopped fresh or dried root for days in an alcohol solution and straining into a jar.  You can also buy it in dried ground root capsule form.

General Medical Recipe: Ĺ to 1 cup of dried roots are boiled in 2-3 cups of stilled water for 10 minutes. This is a decoction opposed to an infusion tea as it needs heat to release the chemicals. 

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