Sarsaparilla, Caracao

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Sarsaparilla, Caracao

Habitat: La Guayra

Description: The radicals are often very amylaceous internally and in this respect is very like Sarsaparilla papyracea, but the plant has now almost been destroyed and is difficult to obtain. The roots contain large quantities of starch.

S. papyracea, native of Trinidad, French Guiana and North Brazil, is a near ally of S. officinalis, and like it, is only known by is leaf specimens; it is recognized by the old stems and lower branches, which instead of being cylindrical, as in most other species, always remain intensely quadrangular, their angles having very flat closely crowded prickles and leaves more membranaceous. The Rio Negro Smilax is an allied species Smilax Spruceana. This plant is known as affording Guatemala Sarsaparilla and is considered to be identical with Sarsaparilla papyracea. Smilax syphilitica is a native of New Grenada, has a smooth round stem, bearing at the knots two to four short, thick, straight prickles. Leaves 1 foot long, oblong, lanceolate, acuminate, shining, coriaceous, three nerved, ending in a long point.

Guayaquil Sarsaparilla grows in the valleys of the Western slopes of Equatorial Andes. It appears in commerce carelessly packed in bales. The rhizome and parts of the stem often mixed with the root, the stem is round and prickly, root dark, large and coarse, with much fibre. The bark furrowed thick and not mealy in the thinner portions of the root, which is near the foot-stalks. As the root gets thicker, the bark becomes thicker, smoother and amylaceous, showing when cut a pale yellow interior.