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Smilax aristolochiifolia - Mill.

Common Name Mexican Sarsaparilla
Family Smilacaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Not known
Range Central America - Belize, Guatemala, Mexico.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care
Tender Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Smilax aristolochiifolia Mexican Sarsaparilla


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Smilax aristolochiifolia Mexican Sarsaparilla
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Summary

Mexican Sarsaparilla, Smilax aristolochiifolia, is a perennial climbing plant native to Mexico and Central America. It is also known as gray sarsaparilla or sarsaparilla. Its leaves are ovate, paper-like, leathery, and alternate. The fruits are small red berries with 2 or 3 seeds. The flowers are small and green, readily symmetrical, and dioecious. S. aristolochiifolia is medicinally used against inflammation, itching, digestive problems, fevers, kidney disorders, gonorrhea, scrofulous, skin diseases, and rheumatism. Root extracts are used as flavoring in beverages, ice cream, confectioneries, and bakery products.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Smilax aristolochiifolia is an evergreen Perennial Climber growing to 5 m (16ft) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in) at a fast rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 10.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

Smilax kerberi F.W.Apt Smilax medica Schltdl. & Cham.

Habitats

Edible Uses

Root extracts are used to flavour soft drinks ice cream, confectionery and bakery products[238 , 301 ]. A bitter, liquorice-like root[301 ].

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Mexican sarsaparilla (the roots and rhizome) is a sweet, acrid, alterative herb that reduces inflammation, controls itching, improves digestion and elimination and is antiseptic[238 ]. This is one of three species (the others are S. Febrifuga and S. Regelii) that gained a high reputation in the 17th century as cure-alls[238 ]. They were widely imported into Europe until early in the 20th century, by which time their rather overrated reputation had waned somewhat. However, the plants do have a number of important medicinal benefits - in particular, their roots contain steroidal saponins which are an effective treatment for many cases of psoriasis; they also have hormonal effects, and may improve fertility in women with ovarian dysfunction[238 ]. The rhizomes are alterative, digestive, febrifuge[46 , 238 ]. A decoction is used in the treatment of fevers, digestive disorders, kidney troubles and gonorrhoea[46 ]. It is also used against scrophulus, skin diseases and rheumatism[46 ].

Other Uses

Other Uses: None known

Cultivation details

Not known

Propagation

Seed -

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

american sarsaparilla, gray sarsaparilla, mexican sarsaparilla, mexiko-sarsaparille, salsapariglia smilace, salsaparrilha, salsaparrilha de minas de gerais, salsaparrilha do mexico, salsaparrilha do para, salsepareille, salsepareille du mexique, sarsaparilla, sarsaparilla radix, ushba, ushba maghrabi, vera cruz sarsaparilla, veracruz sarsaparilla, wild liquorice, zarzaparilla.

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : This taxon has not yet been assessed

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Smilax asperaSarsaparilla, Rough bindweed33
Smilax auriculataEarleaf Greenbrier22
Smilax bona-noxGreenbriar, Saw greenbrier, Dunes saw greenbrier32
Smilax chinaChina Root43
Smilax cordifolia 10
Smilax discotis 10
Smilax febrifugaEcuadorian Sarsaparilla34
Smilax glabratufuling23
Smilax glaucaCat Greenbrier22
Smilax glyciphyllaSarsparilla11
Smilax herbaceaCarrion Flower, Smooth carrionflower41
Smilax hispidaHag Briar22
Smilax lanceifolia 21
Smilax laurifoliaLaurel Greenbrier32
Smilax nipponica 32
Smilax officinalisHonduran sarsaparilla24
Smilax pseudochinaFalse China Root32
Smilax riparia 20
Smilax rotundifoliaHorse Brier, Roundleaf greenbrier, Brambles32
Smilax sieboldii 10
Smilax tamnoidesBristly Greenbrier22
Smilax trinervula 10

 

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Author

Mill.

Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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Subject : Smilax aristolochiifolia  
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