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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