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Herbs > Sarsparilla (smilax regelii)

Sarsaparilla is native to the Tropical Americas. The roots contain the active ingredients, and are long and tuber-like. The plant itself is a ground-trailing vine, which grows as a perennial.

Healing uses:
Sarsaparilla tea is made by adding 2 tablespoons of dried sarsaparilla root to 1 litre of boiling water. Simmer this mixture for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and allow to stand for an hour. Strain and drink.

This tea is pleasant tasting, and is effective for skin disease such as eczema and dermatitis. It will also ease liver disorders. Drink 1 cup of tea up to three times daily. In cases of skin disease, the tea can also be used to bathe the effected area.

A similar tea will aid in the recovery from venereal diseases such as gonorrhea and syphilis. When adding sarsaparilla, also add to the mixture 2 tablespoons of yellow dock root and 3 teaspoons of dried thyme. As well as drinking this tea in dosages of 1 cup taken 3 times daily, use the mixture to douche and/or wash the genitals.

Cautions:
Those suffering from kidney disorders should avoid taking sarsaparilla internally.

Other uses:
Sarsaparilla root is often used as a flavouring agent in foods. Sarsaparilla, or Sars, is a common flavour for soda drinks in America. For home use, the flavour will be extracted by boiling the root gently. The liquid can be added for flavouring where desired. It can also be added to other herbal teas to disguise the bitter taste some herbs have.

Growing sarsaparilla:
Sarsaparilla is propagated by seed or root division in Spring. It requires well-drained soil in sun or partial shade, and will not grow at temperatures of less than 12░C. Large roots can be gathers by cutting them near the crown, leaving the smaller roots to grow. The roots should be well dried before use.




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