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Do the Benefits of Sarsaparilla Outweigh the Risks?

By ADN Health / August 20, 2018
Benefits of Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla is a plant that grows in generally a tropical climate. It is woody, vine-like and grows deep within the canopy of a rainforest. It is for this reason that it is mostly found in Jamaica, South America, Mexico, the Caribbean, West Indies and Honduras.

The plant has been used for centuries by locals around the world for treating medical issues like skin problems, arthritis, eczema, dermatitis, and psoriasis. It was also thought to be a cure for leprosy owing to its ability to clean the blood. With the advent of Europeans into these otherwise unexplored regions of the world, the root soon became a staple in European medicine and was registered as a herb later in America and used to treat syphilis.

What is a Sarsaparilla drink?

Sarsaparilla is synonymous with a popular drink which was popularized back in the 1800s. The drink was initially meant to be a home remedy for everything from headaches to stomach trouble. It was often served in bars. However, the soft drink version of it was not made from sarsaparilla but a different plant named sassafras. Though it tastes a lot like root beer, it isn’t technically beer. Though it still happens to be popular in many South Asian countries but isn’t very common in the US.

You can still find the soft drink version online, and it may or may not contain sarsaparilla. Though in the majority of cases they don’t contain either sassafras or sarsaparilla but are instead a concoction of various artificial flavoring to mirror the taste. So, you won’t be receiving all the perceived benefits of the real deal.

What are the Benefits of Drinking Sarsaparilla Drinks?

Sarsaparilla has many different plant chemicals which have a beneficial effect on the body. A combo of chemicals called saponins helps to reduce joint pain and itching of the skin. It is also shown to kill bacteria. A few other chemicals may also be helpful at inflammation reduction and protecting the liver from inevitable damage.

The critical thing to keep in mind is that the benefits on the human body have yet to be studied in extensive clinical trials. So, the claims are very old and lack substantial evidence. Which is why we urge readers to take claims of it curing psoriasis, arthritis, Syphilis, Cancer and liver conditions with a pinch of salt. If anything, you’ll want to try it out first before deciding to use it as a cure.

What are the Side effects of Sarsaparilla?

Now so far there aren’t any reported side effects of drinking or eating the sarsaparilla herb. However, taking large amounts of it could cause stomach issues. Also, if you happen to live in the US be aware of the fact that the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements and herbs. So, herbal and supplement-based products are not subject to the same rigorous testing which is why there is a lot of slick marketing that you need to look beyond to see the truth.

Some fraudulent claims are that sarsaparilla has anabolic properties which increase testosterone. Even though the chemical inside of the plant can be further synthesized to make steroids in a laboratory, it has not been shown to have any anabolic effects on the human body. However, still many bodybuilding supplements will contain this herb and market it as a muscle builder.