Sarsaparilla Tea: Benefits & How to Make

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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, quercetins, and 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. [1]

A close-up shot of sarsaparilla tea kept next to the sarsaparilla root from which it is made

Sarsaparilla, a plant with a medicinal root, is used to treat many chronic diseases. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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. [2]

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. [3] [4]

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. [5]

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. So, let’s take a look at the easy-to-make recipe below.

A close-up shot of sarsaparilla tea kept next to the sarsaparilla root from which it is made

How to Make Sarsaparilla Tea: Easy Recipe

It is quite easy to find sarsaparilla products in health stores or even in online stores. However, it would be ideal if you could find pure, unadulterated, dried roots and boil them yourself to make the highly nutritious and antioxidant-rich beverage at home, especially when you're feeling sick. Anyway, take a look at the recipe below. 
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Course: Beverage
Cuisine: Others
Keyword: Sarsaparilla Tea
Appliance: Stove
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Author: Ishani Bose


  • 1/4-1 tsp shredded sarsaparilla root
  • 8 ounces hot water
  • honey/sugar (optional)


  • Chop and shred the pieces of the root as finely as possible.
  • Bring a saucepan of water to boil.
    A pot of boiling water
  • Thereafter, add 1/4 teaspoon of the chopped root to a teapot or infuser.
  • Pour the hot water over the chopped root and allow the mixture to steep for 10-30 minutes.
  • Strain the tea, add honey or any other sweetener of your preference to it and enjoy your cup of tea warm.
    A close-up shot of sarsaparilla tea kept next to the sarsaparilla root from which it is made

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. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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