Smilax regelii

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Smilax regelii
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Smilacaceae
Genus: Smilax
Species: S. regelii
Binomial name
Smilax regelii
Killip & C.V.Morton

Smilax ornata Hook.f.[1]

Smilax regelii is a perennial, trailing vine with prickly stems that is native to Central America.[1] Common names include sarsaparilla (/ˌsæspəˈrɪlə/ or /ˌsɑːspəˈrɪlə/), Honduran sarsaparilla, and Jamaican sarsaparilla. It is known in Spanish as zarzaparrilla, which is derived from the words zarza meaning "bramble" (from Arabic sharas "thorny plant" or Basque sartzia "bramble") , and parrilla, meaning "little grape vine".[2]


Smilax regelii was considered by Native Americans to have medicinal properties, and was a popular European treatment for syphilis when it was introduced from the New World. From 1820 to 1910, it was registered in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a treatment for syphilis. Modern users claim it is effective for eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, herpes, and leprosy, along with a variety of other complaints.[3] There is no peer-reviewed research available for these claims. There is, however, peer-reviewed research suggesting that S. regelii extracts have in vitro antioxidant properties, like many other herbs.[4]

Smilax regelii is used as the basis for a soft drink, frequently called Sarsaparilla. It is also a primary ingredient in old fashioned-style root beer,[5] in conjunction with sassafras,[6] which was more widely available prior to studies of its potential health risks.[7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Smilax regelii Killip & C. V. Morton". Germplasm Resources Information Network. United States Department of Agriculture. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2010-07-08. 
  2. ^ Sarsaparilla
  3. ^ "Database Entry: Sarsaparilla – Smilax officinalis, Sarsaparilla, Smilax aristolochiaefolia, Smilax glabra, Sarsaparilla, Smilax febrifuga, Smilx ornata, Chinese sarsaparilla, Smilax regelii, Smilax japicanga". Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  4. ^ Cox, Sean D.; Jayasinghe, K. Chamila; Markham, Julie L. (2005). "Antioxidant activity in Australian native sarsaparilla (Smilax glyciphylla)". Journal of Ethnopharmacology 101 (1–3): 162–8. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.04.005. PMID 15885944. 
  5. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "sarsaparilla (flavouring) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Retrieved 2010-07-15. 
  6. ^ Era, P (1893). The era formulary: 5000 formulas for druggists. A collection of original and prize formulas, to which has been added a selection of formulas from standard authorities in the English, French and German .... D. O. Haynes & company. p. 400. ISBN 978-1-145-42702-0. 
  7. ^ Dietz, B; Bolton, Jl (Apr 2007). "Botanical Dietary Supplements Gone Bad". Chemical research in toxicology 20 (4): 586–90. doi:10.1021/tx7000527. ISSN 0893-228X. PMC 2504026. PMID 17362034. 
  8. ^ "PlantNET – FloraOnline". Retrieved 2010-07-15. 

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