Sarsaparilla, American

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Sarsaparilla, American

otanical: Aralia nudicaulis (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Araliaceae
Synonyms: False Sarsaparilla. Wild Sarsaparilla. Shot Bush. Small Spikenard. Wild Liquorice. Rabbit Root.
Part Used: Root.
Habitat: Canada to the Carolinas.

Description: A herbaceous perennial, with large, tortuous, fleshy, horizontal, creeping, long roots, externally yellowy brown, from which grows a large solitary compound leaf. Leaflets oval, obovate, acute, finely serrate. Flower-stem also comes from root, naked, about 1 foot high, terminating in three small many-flowered greenish umbels, no involucres. Fruit a small, black berry the size of elderberry. The root has a sweet spicy taste, and a pleasant aromatic smell.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Alterative, pectoral, diaphoretic, sudorific. Used as a substitute for Smilax Sarsaparilla is useful in pulmonary diseases and externally as a wash for indolent ulcers and shingles. It is said to be used by the Crees under the name of Rabbit Root for syphilis and as an application to recent wounds. It contains resin, oil, tannin, albumen, an acid, mucilage and cellulose.

Fluid extract, 1/2 to 1 drachm.