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History and Archeology of Sarsaparilla

From: Derrida
Category: ÉÌÒµĞÅÏ¢
Date: 5/29/2003
Time: 8:17:10 PM
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History and Archeology of Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla did not become well-known until the 16th century. During these t imes Caribbean and North American Indians suggested its use as a treatment for va rious skin ailments, urinary problems and to help maintain ones¡¯ youth and energ y. Sarsaparilla root has been used for centuries by the indigenous peoples of Ce ntral and South America for sexual impotence, rheumatism, skin ailments, and as a general tonic for physical weakness. It has long been used by tribes in Peru and Honduras for headaches and joint pain, and against the common cold. Many shamans and medicine men in the Amazon use sarsaparilla root internally and externally for leprosy and other skin problems (such as psoriasis and dermati tis.) Leprosy can be common in areas where the disease is carried by armadillos ( and particularly where armadillos are ¡°on the menu¡± in indigenous diets). Sarsaparilla root also was used as a general tonic by indigenous tribes in So uth America, where New World traders found it and introduced it into European med icine in the 1400s.

European physicians considered sarsaparilla root an alterative, tonic, blood purifier, diuretic, and diaphoretic. A Smilax root from Mexico was introduced into European medicine in 1536, wher e it developed a strong following as a cure for syphilis and rheumatism. Since th is time, the Smilax genus has had a long history of use for syphilis and other se xually-transmitted diseases throughout the world. With its reputation as a blood purifier, it was registered as an official her b in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as a syphilis treatment from 1820 to 1910. From the 1 500s to the present, sarsaparilla has been used as a blood purifier and general t onic and also has been used worldwide for gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, rheumatism, wounds, venereal disease, arthritis, fever, cough, scrofula, hypertension, digest ive disorders, psoriasis, skin diseases, and cancer.

Ethnobotany: world wide uses of Sarsaparilla

Argentina: Aphrodisiac, diaphoretic, rheumatism

Brazil: Alterative, anorexia, anuria, aphrodisiac, arthritis, calculi, depura tive, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, dysuria, eczema, fever, gout, hypotonia, impotence, muscle, oliguria, pimples, psoriasis, purgative, rheumatism, skin, ste rility, sudorific, syphilis, ulcer, urinary, urticaria, venereal disease

China: Abscess, aphrodisiac, arthritis, boil, cystitis, diarrhea, digestive, diuretic, dysentery, enteritis, fever, malaria, mercury poisoning, rheumatism, rh eumatoid arthritis, skin, sores, stimulant, syphilis, tonic

England: Abscess, alterative, anorexia, antiseptic, cancer, diaphroetic, diur etic, dysentery, eczema, ergogenic, gout, immune, impotence, infections, inflamma tion, leprosy, mercury poisoning, muscle, PMS, pruritis, psoriasis, rheumatism, r heumatoid arthritis, skin, stimulant, syphilis, tonic, venereal disease

Europe: Alterative, arthritis, diaphoretic, diuretic, inflammation, kidney, p soriasis, rheumatism, skin, syphilis, tonic, urinary

India: Aphrodisiac, spasm

Latin America: Aches, alterative, aphrodisiac, arthritis, cold, diaphoretic, digestive, fever, gout, impotence, pain, psoriasis, rheumatism, skin, stimulant, syphilis, tonic, venereal disease, weakness

Malaya: Aphrodisiac, rheumatism

Mexico: Arthritis, burn, cancer, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic , dyspepsia, eczema, fever, gonorrhea, inflammation, leprosy, nephritis, rash, rh eumatism, scrofula, skin, stimulant, sudorific, syphilis, tonic, venereal disease

Turkey: Alterative, aphrodisiac, blood, depurative, diuretic, emetic, scroful a, sudorific, tonic

United States: Acne, alterative, anabolic, arthritis, bladder, burns, cancer, convalescence, cough, depurative, diabetes, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, ec zema, ergogenic, expectorant, eye, fever, gonorrhea, gout, hepatoprotective, herp es, hives, hypertension, impotence, infertility, inflammation, kidney, laxative, leukorrhea, liver, pectoral, pleurisy, PMS, pruritus, psoriasis, rheumatism, scro fula, shingles, skin, STDs, stomach, stress, syphilis, tonic, tuberculosis, ulcer , ulcerative colitis, urinary, warts, wounds

Elsewhere: Abscess, alterative, anabolic, aperitif, aphrodisiac, arthritis, a sthma, boil, burn, cancer, carminative, cold, conjunctivitis, cystitis, debility, demulcent, dermatosis, depurative, diaphoretic, diarrhea, digestive, diuretic, d ropsy, dysentery, dyspepsia, dysentery, eczema, epilepsy, emetic, enteritis, feve r, gonorrhea, gout, herpes, impotence, inflammation, kidney, leprosy, liver, lung , lymphadenopathy, malaria, malignancy, menorrhagia, pruritis, psoriasis, rash, r efrigerant, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, scrofula, skin, sterility, stimulan t, stomach, sudorific, syphilis, tonic, toothache, tumor, urogenital, venereal di sease, wound

Sarsaparilla is becoming more widely available in health food stores, with a variety of tablets, capsules, and tincture products sold today. In naturopathic a nd herbal medicine, it is used mostly in combination with other herbs for its dep urative, tonic, detoxifying, blood purifying, and lymph-cleansing properties. It can be found as an ingredient in various herbal remedies made for skin disorders, libido enhancement, hormone balancing, and detoxification. It¡¯s also used commo nly in herbal preparations as a synergist or bioavailability aid¡ªas it is though t that the saponins in sarsaparilla root increase the absorption of other phytoch emicals in the gut. Most of the sarsaparilla root in herbal commerce today comes from cultivation projects in Mexico and Latin America as well as China.

smilax-aristolochiaefolia Part: Root/Rhizome Sarsaparilla is a perennial trailing vine with prickly stems, native to tropi cal America and the West Indies. Its name comes from the Spanish words "sarza," f or "shrub," and "parilla" for "little vine." Its roots, which are used in herbolo gy, burrow deeply into the ground, while its vines are avid climbers. In the mid- 1800s, the brewed plant was very popular in the U.S. as a spring tonic. The root has been used commercially as a foaming ingredient and flavoring in root beer and other soft drinks. Sarsaparilla root contains sulfur, iron, calcium, potassium a nd magnesium.

Hormonal effects Cowboys often ordered sarsaparilla (root beer) because it was both the most w idely used treatment for syphilis in the 1800's and was also considered a male ap hrodisiac. A recent Chinese report rated it 90% effective against syphilis. (It m ay take a while to show effects.) Sarsaparilla is a popular herb in glandular balance formulas. It contains sap onins that have some chemical similarity to testosterone and anabolic steroids. I t does not actually contain steroids but the saponins are used by the body in the synthesis of hormones.

Diuretic Sarsaparilla is a diuretic and can be used to support medical care for conges tive heart failure, high blood pressure, and premenstrual fluid retention. It pro motes sweating.

Systemic cleansing Sarsaparilla gradually restores the proper functioning of the body. It correc ts a wide range of systemic problems. It is especially good for skin problems suc h as psoriasis, acne, rashes and hives. Sarsaparilla has a special reputation for rheumatic conditions such as rheuma toid arthritis. The Greeks and Romans considered Sarsaparilla an antidote for poisons.


Sarsaparilla has long been used in the treatment of syphilis. Clinical observ ations in China demonstrated that sarsaparilla was effective (according to blood tests) in about 90% of acute and 50% of chronic cases. In the 1950s the antibioti c properties of sarsaparilla were documented; other studies documented its antifu ngal and antimycobacterial activities. Its anti-inflammatory activity has been de monstrated in several in vitro and in vivo studies, using different laboratory-in duced models of arthritis and inflammation. One of these studies attributes the b eneficial effect for arthritis to sarsaparilla¡¯s immunomodulatory action. Sarsap arilla also has demonstrated hepatoprotective effects in rats, with researchers c oncluding that it is able to prevent immune-mediated liver injury. Improvement of appetite and digestion has been noted with sarsaparilla, as well as its diuretic actions in humans. The root has been reported to have stimulatory activity on th e kidneys in humans and, in chronic nephritis, it was shown to increase the urina ry excretion of uric acid.

Material Available From MDidea Group

Smilax root P.E.100:1 Smilax root P.E.10:1 Smilax root P.E.Smilagenin

Botanical Origin: Smilax,China. Botanical: Smilax, China (LINN.) Family: N.O. Liliaceae Synonym---China. Part Used---Root. Habitat---Eastern Asia.

It has a hard, large, knotty, uneven rhizome, blackish externally, pale colou red or whitish internally. Stem without support, about 3 feet high, but growing m uch taller if it has a bush to cling to. Leaves thin, membraneous, round, five-ne rved acute or obtuse at each end, mucronate at points. Stipules distinct obtuse; umbels greenish yellow, small ten-flowered; fruit red, size of bird cherry. This is the commercial China root, used as a substitute for Sarsaparilla. It is in lar ge ligneous pieces 2 to 6 inches long and about 2 inches in diameter. Odourless, taste at first slightly bitter and acrid like Sarsaparilla. The root-stocks yield a yellow dye with alum and a brown one with sulphate of iron.

Main Chemical Content

[Steroid saponins normally refer to: sarsaparilloside, along with parillin]

[steroids of Smilax, China]: sarsasapogenin, smilagenin, sitosterol, stigmas terol and pollinastanol

[saponins of Smilax, China]:sarsasaponin, smilasaponin, sarsaparilloside, an d sitosterol glucoside among others.

Data of main effective content from MDidea Smilax root P.E.

[Sitosterol]: [Chemical Name]: sitosterol [CAS No]: 5779-62-4 [Synonyms]: sit osterol

[Stigmasterol] [Chemical Name]: Stigmasterol [CAS No]: 83-48-7 [Synonyms]: st igmasterol

[Sarsasapogenin] [Chemical Name]: sarsasapogenin [CAS No]: 82597-74-8 [Synony ms]: sarsasapogenin [Abreviation]: SaG [formula]: C27H44O3

[Clinical research of Smilax, China]: Clinical research on the pharmacological actions of Sarsasparilla has been v aried over the years. Sarsaparilla was also used by the Chinese in the treatment of syphilis. Clinical observations in China demonstrated that sarsasparilla is effective, according to blood tests, in about 90% of acute cases and 50% of chronic cases. It was shown clinically in 1942 to dramatically improve psoriasis which cont inued its validation and use as a blood purifying remedy. In the 1950's, the anti biotic properties of sarsaparilla were documented. Its effective use as an adjuvant for the treatment of leprosy was documented in a human trial in 1959. It's anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective effects ha ve been shown in rats and improvement of appetite and digestion as well as diuret icactions in humans has also been documented. Its blood-purifying actions was demonstrated when sarsaparilla demonstrated the ability to attack and neutralize microbial substances in the blood stream. Th e majority of Sarsaparilla's pharmacological properties and actions have been att ributed to a pharmacologically active group of phytochemicals called steroids and saponins. The saponins have been reported to facilitate the absorption by the body of other drugs and phytochemicals which accounts for its history of use in herbal fo rmulas as a bioavailability and herbal enhancement agent.

[Values and Application of Smilagenin(SMI) in cure AD and SDAT diseases.] smilagenin (smi¡¤la¡¤gen¡¤in) (smi²l[schwa]-jen¢in) a steroid precu rsor from several species of Smilax; used in the manufacture of compounds of the pregnane series. Solubility:tend to be fat-soluble

Alzheimer's disease (AD) and senile dementia of the Alzheimer's type (SDAT) a re grave and growing problems in all societies where, because of an increase in l ife expectancy and control of adventitious disease, the demographic profile is in creasingly extending towards a more aged population. Agents which can treat, or h elp in the management of, AD/SDAT are urgently required.

Age-associated memory impairment (AAMI) is a characteristic of older patients who, while being psychologically and physically normal, complain of memory loss. It is a poorly defined syndrome, but agents which are effective in treatment of AD/SDAT may also be of value in these patients.

traditional and conventional medical research methods for AD/SDAT Research into AD/SDAT is being carried out by traditional and conventional me dical research methods and disciplines. In conventional medicine, there are sever al approaches to the treatment of AD/SDAT. It is known that the biochemical proce sses subserving memory in the cerebral cortex are (at least in part) cholinergica lly-mediated. Those skilled in the art will know that "cholinergically mediated" mechanisms may be directly attributable to acetylcholine acting on receptors, and these are direct effects. Other, clinically useful effects may also be caused by modulation of release of acetylcholine from pre-synaptic nerve endings or inhibi tion of enzymes that destroy acetylcholine. These modulating factors may be exert ed through neurones where the mediator is non-cholinergic; these are referred to as indirect effects. Some attempts at treatment have focussed on the role of othe r mediators such as 5-hydroxytryptamine, which is a mediator in other areas of br ain, such as the mid-brain nuclei. However, since fibres from these areas are pro jected forward into the cerebral cortex where the primary transmitter is acetylch oline, attention has focussed on the management of this mediator in the search fo r appropriate therapeutic agents.

Cholinergic strategies for the treatment of AD/SDAT Cholinergic strategies for the treatment of AD/SDAT have been directed at sev eral points along the pathway of formation, synaptic release and removal of relea sed acetylcholine.

One approach involves treatment with high doses of lecithin and other precurs ors of acetylcholine. This is of limited use in producing sustained improvements in cognitive performance.

Another approach involves the use of vegetable drugs such as Polygalae root extract, which has been shown to enhance choline-acetylcholine transferase (CAT) activity and nerve growth factor (NGF) secretion in brain. Oral administration of NGF has no effect on central nervous system neurons because it is a high molecul ar weight protein that cannot pass through the blood-brain barrier. However, agen ts which can pass through the blood-brain barrier and have a stimulating effect o n NGF synthesis in the central nervous system have been proposed for the improvem ent of memory-related behavior.

A third clinical approach, which uses cholinesterase inhibitors such as tacr ine hydrochloride, have been marginally more positive than the above. Substances obtained from plants used in Chinese and Western medicine, for example huperzine, galanthamine, and physostigmine have all been shown to be of some--although limi ted--benefit in the treatment of AD/SDAT in clinical studies and also in laborato ry models. All of these substances are inhibitors of acetylcholine esterase (AChE ). In patients with AD/SDAT, there may be reduced synthesis of acetylcholine (ACh ), reduced efficiency in release of ACh from presynaptic stores, and a decrease i n the number or function of postsynaptic (M.sub.3) receptors. Reductions in pre-s ynaptic M.sub.2 receptors have also been shown. The beneficial effect of AChE inh ibitors is attributed to enhancement of acetylcholine levels at synapses in brain by slowing down the destruction of released transmitter

Presynaptic cholinergic mechanisms are also under inhibitory control by GABA ergic neurons and this inhibition is thought to be intensified in AD/SDAT. Remova l or reduction of this inhibition intensifies presynaptic cortical cholinergic ac tivity and enhances cognitive processing.

The inventors have found that smilagenin (SMI) exhibits the ability to regul ate receptors. In particular, this compound has been found to increase the number of M2 receptors in the brain. Thus, according to one aspect of the invention, th ere is provided the use of smilagenin in the manufacture of a medicament for the treatment of a condition characterized by a deficiency in postsynaptic membrane-b ound receptor number or function.

Those skilled in the art will be aware of the relationship between saponins and their sapogenins, and that the latter tend to be fat-soluble whereas the sapo nins tend to be water-soluble. Sapogenins are therefore better able to cross the blood-brain barrier. The skilled man will also be aware of the epimerisation of c ertain sapogenins under conditions of acid hydrolysis.

With reference to this general formula, smilagenin has the A/B ring conforma tion as cis and the stereochernical configuration at the C25 methyl group is R. T he hydroxyl group on the spirostane ring is in the 3.beta.-OH position.

plant origin of SMI Smilagenin occurs naturally in a range of plant species, notably from the Smi lax China, genera Smilax, Asparagus, Anemarrhena, Yucca and Agave. The species pr esently of greatest interest include Smilax regelii Kilip & Morton--commonly know n as Honduran sarsaparilla, Smilax aristolochiaefolia Miller--commonly known as M exican sarsaparilla; Smilax ornata Hooker--commonly known as Jamaican sarsaparill a; Smilax aspera--commonly known as Spanish sarsaparilla; Smilax glabra Roxburgh; Smilax febrifuga--Kunth--commonly known as Ecuadorian or Peruvian sarsaparilla, Anemarrhena asphodeloides Bunge; Yucca schidigera Roezl ex Ortgies; and Yucca bre vifolia Engelm.

As used herein, the term "cognitive function" refers to functions such as thi nking, reasoning, remembering, imagining and learning.

Other Application for disease as following:: Parkinson's disease, Lewi body dementia, postural hypertension, autism, chron ic fatigue syndrome, Myasthenia Gravis, Lambert Eaton disease, diseases and probl ems associated with Gulf War Syndrome, occupational exposure to organophosphorus compounds and problems associated with aging.

other members of Sarsaparilla Family:

*.*1>.Smilax aristolochiaefolia Miller--(Mexican sarsaparilla); Family: Smilacaceae

Synoms:Sarsaparilla mexican (Synonym. Vera Cruz Sarsaparilla),Smilax Medica,S milax aristolochiaefolia Miller,Smilax aristolochiaefolia,

Part Used: Root Bark

Sarsaparilla is a widely applicable alternative. It may be used to aid proper functioning of the body as a whole and in the correction of such diffuse systemi c problems as skin and rheumatic conditions. It is particularly useful in scaling skin conditions such as psoriasis, especially where there is much irritation. As part of a wider treatment for chronic rheumatism it should be considered and is especially useful for rheumatoid arthritis. It has been shown that Sarsaparilla c ontains chemicals with properties that aid testosterone activity in the body.

Sarsaparilla(Smilax aristolochiaefolia) Sarsaparilla did not become well-known until the 16th century. During these t imes Caribbean and North American Indians suggested its use as a treatment for va rious skin ailments, urinary problems and to help maintain ones¡¯ youth and energ y. Although controversial, Sarsaparilla was also used as a treatment for syphilis . Sarsaparilla contains vitamin C, B-complex (especially B-6), calcium, iron and other trace minerals. There has not been a lot of in-depth research done on Sarsaparilla so it is h ard to recognize all of its possible benefits. However, many people from differen t countries have suggested similar uses. The Europeans and Chinese believe that i t can be used to reduce the discomforts of various arthritic, as well as certain urinary conditions. Modern herbalists believe that Sarsaparilla should be used for the treatment of colds, coughs, fevers and gout. And, although no research supports its use as a muscle strengthening herb, many weight trainers continue to use Sarsaparilla to enhance muscle growth.* Smilax Medica has an angular stem armedwith straight prickles at joints, and a few hooked ones at intervals; paper-like leaves, bright green both sides, smoot h, cordate, auriculate, shortly acuminate, five-nerved prominent veins underneath and otherwise variable in form. Mid-rib and petioles, when old, have straight, s ubulate prickles, peduncles three lines to 1 inch; umbels twelve flowers; pedicle three lines long. Found growing in Papantla, Inspan, etc. Said to be similar to the Mexican or Vera Cruz Sarsapa of commerce, which may be derived from this spec ies. 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.

*.*2>.Smilax Hooker

Smilax ornata Hooker--(Jamaican sarsaparilla); Botanical: Smilax ornata Family: N.O. Liliaceae(Smilacaceae ) Synoms:Smilax mollis, Smilax Hooker,Jamaican sarsaparilla,Smilax ornata

Smilax officinalis has a twining stem, angular and prickly; young shoots una rmed; leaves ovate, oblong, acute, cordate, smooth, 1 foot long; petioles 1 inch long, having tendrils above the base. This plant grows in New Granada, on the ban ks of Magdaline near Bajorgne. Commercially it consists of very long roots, with a thick bark, grey or brown colour. Almost odourless. Taste mucilaginous. The dee p orange-tinted roots are the best. Backward-pointing stem emergences are common on vines and scramblers. Vertebr ates are likely to travel around these thickets, because progress through them is slow and hazardous. Having stem emergences helps the plant to form a tangle with itself and other plants, providing more support than free-standing shoots. This is a neotropical climber, Smilax mollis (Family Smilacaceae). Description---This plant derived its name from being exported to Europe throu gh Jamaica. The word Sarsaparilla comes from the Spanish Sarza, meaning a bramble , and parilla, a vine, in allusion to the thorny stems of the plant. This is a no n-mealy Sarsaparilla. It is a large perennial climber, rhizome underground, large , short, knotted, with thickened nodes and roots spreading up to 6 or 8 feet long . Stems erect, semiwoody, with very sharp prickles 1/2 inch long. Leaves large, a lternate stalked, almost evergreen with prominent veins, seven nerved mid-rib ver y strongly marked. Flowers and fruit not known. Cortex thick and brownish, with a n orange red tint; when chewed it tinges the saliva, and gives a slightly bitter and mucilaginous taste, followed by a very acrid one; it contains a small proport ion of starch, also a glucoside, sarsaponin, sarsapic acid, and fatty acids, palm itic, stearic, behenic, oleic and linolic. Jamaica Sarsaparilla was introduced in the middle of the sixteenth century as a remedy for syphilis, and later came to be used for other chronic diseases, spe cially rheumatism. It is a mild gastric irritant due to its saponin content. The smoke of Sarsaparilla was recommended for asthma. It is also very useful as a ton ic, alterative, diaphoretic and diuretic. Its active principle is a crystalline b ody, Parillin or Smilacin.

Constituents---Salseparin, starch, colouring matter, essential oil chloride o f potassium, bassorin, albumen, pectic and ascitic acids, and salts of lime, oxid e of iron, potassa and magnesia. It is said to be the source of Honduras Sarsapar illa and is considered the best of all Sarsaparillas. It is exported from the bay of Honduras in over 2 feet long roots folded into a sort of hank, with a few roo tlets attached, grey or reddy brown, with mealy cortex. It has the same propertie s as the other varieties, but if alcohol is added to the infusions of the root it will greatly increase their medicinal qualities.

Medicinal Action and Uses---Alterative, tonic. Used in chronic skin diseases, rheumatism, passive dropsy.

*.*3>.Smilax aspera Extracts--(Spanish sarsaparilla); Italian Sarsaparil[origin:South of France Sarsaparilla, Italy Sarsaparilla, e tc.] abbreviation:S. Aspera(Smilax Aspera)

Synonyms: Smilax mauritanica (Desf.) Family: Smilacaceae Range: S. Europe to Asia in the Himalayas. Spain,Italy,South France Other Common Names: Italian Sarsaparilla [H ], Salseparaille [E ], Zarzaparri lla [E ], Epithets: From a Dictionary of Botanical Epithets:asper = rough; aspera = rou gh;

Physical Characteristics An evergreen climber growing to 3m. It is hardy to zone 9. It is in leaf all year, in flower from August to September. The scented flowers are dioecious (indi vidual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). The plant not is self-fertile. We rate it 3 out of 5 for usefulness. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The p lant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires moist soil. Habitats and Possible Locations:Hedge, Woodland, Sunny Edge, Dappled Shade.

Edible Uses:Drink; Leaves; Root. Young shoots - raw or cooked as a vegetable[89, 100, 148, 183]. They can be c ooked and used as an asparagus substitute. The tendrils are also eaten[148]. The plant is an ingredient of soft drinks. (this probably refers to the root)

Medicinal Uses? Alterative; Demulcent; Depurative; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Stimulant; Tonic. The root is alterative, demulcent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimula nt and tonic[7, 14]. This is one of the best depurative medicines and is used as a springtime tonic and general body cleanser, usually with woody nightshade (Sola num dulcamara)[7]. The root has all the medicinal virtues of the widely used tropical herb sarsa parilla, though to a lesser degree[7]. It is often used as an adulterant to that plant[7].

Other Uses:Dye; Hedge. A red dye is obtained from the ripe tendrils The plant is often grown as an impenetrable hedge in warmer countries than Br itain[7].

Cultivation details: Succeeds in most soils in sun or semi-shade A very ornamental plant, it is only hardy in the mildest areas of Britain[11, 166], tolerating temperatures down to about -10¡ãc[184].

The flowers have a heavy sweet perfume. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation Seed - sow March in a warm greenhouse. This note probably refers to the tropi cal members of the genus, seeds of plants from cooler areas seem to require a per iod of cold stratification, some species taking 2 or more years to germinate[K]. We sow the seed of temperate species in a cold frame as soon as we receive it, an d would sow the seed as soon as it is ripe if we could obtain it then[K]. When th e seedlings eventually germinate, prick them out into individual pots when they a re large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their f irst year, though we normally grow them on in pots for 2 years. Plant them out in to their permanent positions in early summer. Division in early spring as new growth begins. Larger divisions can be plante d out direct into their permanent positions. We have found it best to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in a lightly shaded position in a cold frame, planting them out once they are well established in the summer. Cuttings of half-ripe shoots, July in a frame.

*.*4>Smilax febrifuga Extracts--(Kunth Ecuadorian sarsaparilla or Peruvian sa rsaparilla), Family: Smilacaceae

*.*5>Smilax Papyracea--Brazilian Sarsaparilla or Rio Negro Sarsaparilla or Li sbon Sarsaparilla Family: Smilacaceae Name:Sarsaparilla, Caracao,Smilax Papyracea,S. papyracea,Guayaquil Sarsaparil la Description---The radicals are often very amylaceous internally and in this r espect is very like Sarsaparilla papyracea, but the plant has now almost been des troyed 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 a lly of S. officinalis, and like it, is only known by is leaf specimens; it is rec ognized by the old stems and lower branches, which instead of being cylindrical, as in most other species, always remain intensely quadrangular, their angles havi ng very flat closely crowded prickles and leaves more membranaceous. The Rio Negr o Smilax is an allied species Smilax Spruceana. This plant is known as affording Guatemala Sarsaparilla and is considered to be identical with Sarsaparilla papyra cea. Smilax syphilitica is a native of New Grenada, has a smooth round stem, bear ing at the knots two to four short, thick, straight prickles. Leaves 1 foot long, oblong, lanceolate, acuminate, shining, coriaceous, three nerved, ending in a lo ng point. Guayaquil Sarsaparilla grows in the valleys of the Western slopes of Equatori al Andes. It appears in commerce carelessly packed in bales. The rhizome and part s 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 th icker, the bark becomes thicker, smoother and amylaceous, showing when cut a pale yellow interior.

*.*6>S. ovalifolia Extracts--(Smilax Ovalifolia;Indian sarsaparilla;) S. lanceaefolia Extracts---(Smilax lanceaefolia,also Indian sarsaparilla) Sarsaparilla, Indian Botanical: Hemidesmus Indica Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae Synonyms---Hemidesmus. Periploca Indica. Nunnari Asclepias. Pseudosarsa. Smil ax lanceaefolia.lanceaefolia.Indian sarsaparilla Part Used---Dried root. Habitat---All parts of India, the Moluccas, and Ceylon.

Description---A climbing slender plant with twining woody stems, and a rust-c oloured bark, leaves opposite, petiolate, entire, smooth, shiny and firm, varying in shape and size according to their age. Flowers small green outside, deep purp le inside, in axillary, sessile racemes, imbricated with flowers, followed with s cale-like bracts. Fruit two long slender spreading follicles. This plant has long been used in India as an antisyphilitic in place of Sarsa parilla, but was not introduced into England till 1831. The root is long, tortuou s, rigid, cylindrical, little branched, consisting of aligneous centre, a brownis h corky bark, furrowed and with annular cracks, odour aromatic, probably due to C oumarin and not unlike Sassafras or new-mown hay, with a bitter, sweetish, feeble aromatic taste. One side of the root is sometimes separated from the cork and ra ised above the cortex and transversely fissured, showing numerous laticiferous ce lls in the cortex.

Constituents---Unknown. No satisfactory investigation has yet been made of th e chemical properties. But a volatile oil has been found in it and a peculiar cry stallizable principle, called by some Hemidesmine; others suggest that the substa nce is only a stearoptene. It also contains some starch, saponin, and in the sube rous layer tannic acid.

Medicinal Action and Uses---Alterative, tonic and diuretic. Useful for rheuma tism, scrofula, skin diseases and thrush; it is used as an infusion, but not as a decoction as boiling dissipates its active volatile principle. Two OZ. of the ro ot are infused in 1 pint of boiling water and left standing for 1 hour then strai ned off and drunk in 24 hours.

It has been successfully used in the cure of venereal disease, proving effica cious where American Sarsaparilla has failed. Native doctors utilize it in nephri tic complaints and for sore mouths of children. --------------------------------- -----------------------------------------------

*.*7>S. glyciphylla----(Smilax glyciphylla; also named Australian medicinal S arsaparilla).

*.*8>S. macabucha----(Smilax macabucha;also named Philippines Sarsaparilla). *.*9>S. anceps----(Smilax anceps;also named Mauritius Sarsaparilla). Scintific References: 1. Archeology of Sarsaparilla Family,the history and function of Smilax offi cinalis?what is smilagenin?SMI's Super supplement for cognitive function. .By Mic hael Derrida

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