The most impressive health benefits of sarsaparilla include its ability to prevent certain types of cancer, reduce inflammation, help in weight loss, boost the immune system, alleviate skin conditions, increase libido, and relieve stomach issues.
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What is Sarsaparilla?
Sarsaparilla plants are typically woody or thorny and are most commonly found in tropical, warm, and temperate regions around the world. You may know this plant by a different name, depending on where you live, including catbriers, carrion flowers, or prickly-ivys. These plants can grow in a number of forms, including evergreen shrubs, deciduous trees, and hanging vines, and they typically have clusters of red or purple berries.
Sarsaparilla has the scientific name of Smilax regelii and is also a common name for many species of the Smilax genus. Although this name often reminds people of a particularly potent drink, commonly seen in old movies, the word actually describes a particular type of flowering plant that belongs to the Smilax genus.
Sarsaparilla is typically used for the beneficial extract.This is why the plant has gained such popularity, as the roots contain a high concentration of nutrients and organic compounds that can be added to soups, stews, herbal supplements, drinks, and desserts. A powdered form of the roots is also widely used in traditional medicine. Now, let’s take a more in-depth look at the many health benefits of this herb.
Health Benefits of Sarsaparilla
Health benefits of sarsaparilla include:
The presence of antioxidants in the root and extract of sarsaparilla has been very useful for cancer researchers around the world looking into more natural and herbal remedies. Although research has not been conclusive, the early results show positive associations between the flavonoid and sterol contents of the plant and a reduction in the spread of cancerous cells. Antioxidants are able to neutralize free radicals, the cancer-causing byproducts of cellular respiration, and there are plenty of antioxidants in sarsaparilla!
Treats Arthritis Pains
If you are suffering from any sort of inflammatory issue, such as gout, arthritis, or even aching muscles and joints, the active ingredients of sarsaparilla can help alleviate those pains. It contains various compounds, such as saponins, parillin, and other flavonoids that can soothe those flare-ups within the body and alleviate pain and discomfort.
Increases Sex Drive
One of the more traditional uses of sarsaparilla was to increase the libido of men and women in an effort to increase fertility. Some of the organic compounds found in this root extract have been shown to increase blood flow and boost sperm motility, thereby increasing the chances of conception and improving overall sex drive.
Boosts Immune System
The natural antibacterial properties of sarsaparilla berries and the compounds in the roots make this herbal supplement a wonderful way to increase the strength of your immune system. The antibacterial properties can also help prevent infections on the skin and generally improve your response time to cold and other common illnesses.
Although research is still ongoing to determine the exact chemical pathway for this health benefit, it appears that sarsaparilla is able to suppress appetite. This means that for those trying to lose weight, adding this supplement can curb your cravings and keep you from cheating on your diet.
The antibacterial properties of sarsaparilla are one reason why the topical application of this extract (in salves and creams) is so popular. The antioxidant content can also improve the appearance and health of the skin. By eliminating wrinkles and reducing the appearance of age spots, when applied or consumed, it can keep you looking young!
Detoxifies the Body
Sarsaparilla has long been used as a diuretic, which means that it stimulates urination in those who consume it. For people who want to purify their body or detoxify in some way, a diuretic can eliminate excess fats, salts, toxins, and water from the body. Furthermore, it has been known to purify the blood, thereby increasing overall health and reducing strain on the liver and kidneys.
Side Effects of Sarsaparilla
Even though intake of sarsaparilla gives many benefits, excess intake may lead to side effects such as stomach issues and allergies:
Stomach Ailments: Consuming high quantities of saponins, which are found in sarsaparilla, can cause stomach upset, diarrhea, and indigestion in some people.
Allergic Reactions: The powdered form of the herb, or “sarsaparilla dust” can cause allergic reactions that may resemble symptoms of asthma in some patients.
Avoid intake during pregnancy and as always, consult a medical professional before making any major changes to your herbal health habits.