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sarsaparilla(särs'pərĭl`ə, săs'–), common name for various plants belonging to two different classes and also for an extract from their roots, formerly much used in medicine and in beverages. True sarsaparilla is obtained from various tropical American species of the genus Smilax (which also includes the greenbrier) of the family Smilacaceae, sometimes joined in the Liliaceae (lilylily,
common name for the Liliaceae, a plant family numbering several thousand species of as many as 300 genera, widely distributed over the earth and particularly abundant in warm temperate and tropical regions.
..... Click the link for more information. family). These have thick rootstalks and thin roots several feet long. Other plants used as substitutes for sarsaparilla include the wild sarsaparilla (Aralia nudicaulis, although S. glauca also bears that name) and the American spikenard (A. racemosa), both North American plants of the family Araliaceae (ginsengginseng
, common name for the Araliaceae, a family of tropical herbs, shrubs, and trees that are often prickly and sometimes grow as climbing forms. The true ginseng (Panax ginseng
..... Click the link for more information. family). The Liliaceae are classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
..... Click the link for more information. , class Liliopsida, order Liliales. The Araliaceae are in the class Magnoliopsida, order Apiales.
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The entire plant is edible. The root and leaves make an excellent medicinal tea. Roots and young shoots used historically as food source. Anti inflammatory and blood-cleansing, used for quick relief to skin problems such as psoriasis, eczema, itchiness, gout, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis and stomach aches. It even helps with impotence and virility issues because of it’s testosterone-like effect on the body. Has progesterone-type effect on women to help with menopause, menstrual problems, PMS and depression. Anti-inflammatory, estrogenic, cholesterol-lowering, anti-stress. Used for asthma, pulmonary issues, rheumatism, stomach aches, cough, cystitis. This is one of the three ingredients in the original root beer recipesarsaparilla, sassafras and birch. May cause stomach upset and temporary kidney problems. Do not take if on medication.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
Any of various tropical American vines of the genus Smilax (family Liliaceae) found in dense, moist jungles; a flavoring material used in medicine and soft drinks is obtained from the dried roots of at least four species.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
1. any of various prickly climbing plants of the tropical American genus Smilax having large aromatic roots and heart-shaped leaves: family Smilacaceae
2. the dried roots of any of these plants, formerly used as a medicine
3. a nonalcoholic drink prepared from these roots
4. any of various plants resembling true sarsaparilla, esp the araliaceous plant Aralia nudicaulis (wild sarsaparilla), of North America
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005