Sarsaparilla, WildBotanical Name: Aralia nudicaulis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Araliaceae
Synonyms: Bamboo Brier. Smilax Sarsaparilla.
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: A native of the southern United States and grows in swampy woods and thickets.
Description: It has a stout, flexuous and square stem, with a few hooked prickles above. Leaves unarmed, elliptical-ovate, cuspidate, abruptly contracted at each end; three strong veins, two lateral smaller secondary ones; underside glaucous, 3 inches diameter, on short margined petioles, with two long tendrils at their bases. Flowers yellowish-white, appearing May to August, in small thin umbels of three or four red or black berries, three-seeded.
Medicinal Action and Uses: Alterative, tonic, antisyphilitic. Said to be inferior to all other Sarsaparillas. Much used by the American Indians. Used freely in decoction.
SARSAPARILLA MEXICAN (Synonym. Vera Cruz Sarsaparilla), as found in commerce, has a caudex with a number of long radicles which are smaller and have a thinner bark than the Honduras variety, contain little starch and have square endodermal cells with thickened walls, and more or less oval lumen. The taste is acrid and the plant contains the medical properties of other Sarsaparillas.