Sarsaparilla Tea: Benefits & How to Make

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Drinking sarsaparilla tea is a popular natural remedy with a surprisingly large range of health benefits.

What is Sarsaparilla Tea?

Sarsaparilla tea is brewed from the chopped up root of the sarsaparilla plant, the most common species of which is Smilax ornata, also known as Jamaican sarsaparilla. Native to countries in South America and areas in the Caribbean, this tea is packed with various glycosides, saponins, quercetinsand essential oils, many of which are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory in nature. While sarsaparilla is perhaps better known for the old-fashioned soft drink made from the same plant, this tea has been in use in South America and nearby regions for thousands of years. Finding dried sarsaparilla root is relatively easy in health food and import stores.

Sarsaparilla Tea Benefits

The main benefits of sarsaparilla tea include the following:

  • Skin care
  • Boosting testosterone levels
  • Lowering inflammation
  • Detoxifying the body
  • Preventing cold and flu
  • Improving digestion
  • Boosting immunity
  • Improving cognitive function
  • Treating asthma

The various antioxidant compounds found in this tea are able to support the immune system and eliminate free radicals before they can cause chronic disease or inflammation. In terms of the skin, sarsaparilla tea can have a major impact on inflammatory conditions on the skin, such as psoriasis, eczema, acne or rosacea.

What many people don’t realize is that sarsaparilla tea boosts testosterone levels, which can help with fertility and sex drive problems for men. The antibacterial nature of this tea also helps protect against basic infections, like the common cold and the flu. This tea can improve digestive function and works as a diuretic, helping to cleanse the body of excess toxins, fats, salts, and water.

As a general health tonic, this tea is also known to speed the healing process of wounds and injuries, as well as promoting better respiratory health in the case of asthma.

How to Make Sarsaparilla Tea?

If you want to make your own sarsaparilla tea, all you need to do is find some dried sarsaparilla root, which is widely available in South and Central America, but may only be available at an import store in certain parts of the world. Pre-ground or pre-bagged sarsaparilla tea is also available, but many people enjoy brewing their own with the root itself.

  • Step 1: Chop and shred the pieces of the root as finely as possible.
  • Step 2: Bring a saucepan of water to boil.
  • Step 3: Add 1/4 teaspoon of the chopped root to a teapot or infuser.
  • Step 4: Pour the hot water over the chopped root and allow the mixture to steep for 10-30 minutes.
  • Step 5: Strain the tea and serve warm.

Sarsaparilla Tea Side Effects

There are very few known side effects of this tea, but pregnant and nursing women are often recommended to avoid it, due to the many active ingredients and powerful compounds present in the drink. This tea should be consumed as a remedy, not as an everyday drink, as that can eventually cause the following:

  • Gastrointestinal irritation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea.
  • Liver issues

Dehydration may also occur if you are drinking it excessively or for extended periods.

About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, and publisher who earned his English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign, Urbana (USA). He is the co-founder of a literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and calls the most beautiful places in the world his office. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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