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Sarsaparilla

Introduction

Sarsaparilla is a plant that was once used to flavor sodas. The root has been used to ease swelling in the joints and to treat skin problems, such as psoriasis. It can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. It can also be made into a tea.

Dosages

There are no advised doses for sarsaparilla.

What Research Shows

There is not enough data to support that sarsaparilla is helpful in treating health problems. We will review future studies as they are published.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to take sarsaparilla in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period. It is also not known whether it is safe to take by women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctor before taking sarsaparilla. It may increase the risk of bleeding.
 

References

1. Sautour M, Miyamoto T, Lacaille-Dubois MA. Steroidal saponins from Smilax medica and their antifungal activity. J Nat Prod. 2005;68:1489-1493.

2. Shao B, Guo H, Cui Y et al. Steroidal saponins from Smilax china and their anti-inflammatory activities. Phytochemistry. 2007;68:623-630.

3. Xu J, Li X, Zhang P et al. Anti-inflammatory constituents from the roots of Smilax bockii warb. Arch Pharm Res. 2005;28:395-399.

Last reviewed July 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/30/2020