What Is Sarsaparilla?
Sarsaparilla is a tropical plant made from the native Central American plant smilax ornata. It can commonly be found growing in South America, the Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras. For many centuries sarsaparilla was considered a natural remedy for various health ailments. It is also gained popularity for it’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
There are an abundant amount of ways to consume sarsaparilla to reap these benefits. In addition to taking herbal supplements containing sarsaparilla, it can be fermented or used to flavor sodas and tea. Sarsaparilla extract will allow you to add this versatile plant to just about anything. Once you have some dried sarsaparilla on hand, you can easily make your own sarsaparilla tea as well. Its flavors of vanilla and peppermint are sure to please.
How Is Sarsaparilla Consumed
There are several ways to prepare sarsaparilla for consumption. You can purchase sarsaparilla as an extract, tea, or in capsule form. Some of the most popular supplements in 2018 include:
- Herb Pharm Sarsaparilla
- Swanson Sarsaparilla Root
- Botanic Choice Sarsaparilla Root
- Nature’s Answer Sarsaparilla
- Nature’s Way Sarsaparilla Root
- Nature’s Herbs Sarsaparilla Root
Is There Sarsaparilla Soda?
Yes and no. Sarsaparilla would have been a more common soft drink to have been served in your local pub in the 1800’s. Also, the sarsaparilla soda would have commonly been flavored using another plant called sassafras. Sassafras has a similar flavor to that of a root beer or birch beer. Although a sassafras or sarsaparilla flavored soda may be purchased in other countries or small country stores, it’s not typical for either sarsaparilla or sassafras to be used as a flavor enhancer in North America. Today, natural and artificial flavorings are more commonly used to create its iconic flavor.
What Does Sarsaparilla Taste Like?
Sarsaparilla is considered to be one of the forefathers of root beer. As such, you can conclude a general expectation of what sarsaparilla tastes like. Sarsaparilla has flavors that are reminiscent of wintergreen, vanilla, and licorice. It also has those famous medicinal flavors found in many root sodas and teas today.
Sarsaparilla Vs. Root Beer Vs. Birch Beer
A carbonated soft drink initially made from plant smilax ornata. Today sarsaparilla is generally made with artificial flavors and is commonly referred to as a type of root beer.
Root beer is a carbonated soft drink which was initially created using the root of the sassafras plant. The liquid extracted from the root-bark of sassafras plants has since been banned by the FDA and can no longer be used to flavor root beer in the United States.
Birch beer is a carbonated soft drink created from herbal extracts of birch bark and oil distilled from birch sap, popular in the Northeastern United States. The beverage comes in a variety of colors which is determined based on the species of the tree.
What About Sarsaparilla Tea?
Another popular delivery method for sarsaparilla is tea. Hot water and herbal ingredients have been used for centuries to extract plants’ natural healing properties and unique flavor. Sarsaparilla tea is a great alternative to the sodas if you are looking for the health benefits of this popular root. Sarsaparilla tea is better than soda as the tea will have the natural healing properties, as the sodas are more commonly naturally and artificially flavored with sarsaparilla.
Make Your Own Sarsaparilla Tea
Thankfully, it’s incredibly easy to create your own sarsaparilla tea from scratch. First, you’ll need to get your hands on some dried sarsaparilla root. It’s possible your local grocer or specialty food store carries it, you can also conveniently purchase online.
Once you have dried sarsaparilla root, all you need to do is boil some water, and pour it over sarsaparilla root. Use one teaspoon of root for each cup of boiling water. Let the mixture steep for 30 minutes before removing the roots and enjoying your tea.
Using Sarsaparilla Extract
Having a bottle of sarsaparilla extract handy is always a great idea. Generally, sarsaparilla extract consists of ground roots that have been steeped in grain alcohol for a given amount of time to extract its flavor. This process concentrates the flavor so it can be dosed out in a dropper. Using the extract is as simple as adding a few drops to some water or other fluid.
Are There Any Side Effects To Consider?
While sarsaparilla has been used for centuries without much worry in regards to risks or adverse side effects, it’s important to make sure you speak to a doctor before adding a new herbal supplement to your routine. You’ll want to confirm with your doctor because some herbs can interfere with medication. When first trying anything new, watch out for any signs of allergic reaction.
Sarsaparilla Medicinal Properties
Sarsaparilla has several components, active chemical properties that give the plant it’s natural healing abilities. Those components include:
Saponins help reduce cholesterol levels in the body, eliminate harmful bacteria. They also work to reduce oxidative stress, a risk factor for cancer. Another benefit Saponins have is aiding the body in metabolizing lipids. This, in turn, may help to prevent obesity.
2. Plant Sterols
Plant sterols are compounds that help block your body from absorbing cholesterol. It is proven that sterols can help reduce LDL cholesterol.
3. Flavonoid Antioxidants
One of the most critical flavonoids found within sarsaparilla is called astilbin. It is used for anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation, to in assist burn wound healing, lowering blood glucose and enhance immune function.
4. Steroidals And Anti-Inflammatory Phytochemicals
Sarsaparilla has phytochemicals, antioxidants which help protect the body from free radical cells, which can damage DNA or lead to cancer.
The root is about 50 percent starch which provides a good source of fiber and other nutrients.
6. Volatile Oils and Acids
Sarsaparilla has trace minerals such as aluminum, chromium, iron, magnesium, selenium, calcium and zinc.
Sarsaparilla Health Benefits
1. Reduces Cancer Risk
Sarsaparilla contains a variety of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant acids, oils and chemicals that are known to fight and kill cancer naturally.
2. Reduces Liver Disease
Sarsaparilla contains natural properties that improve that body’s detoxification process which aides in the liver’s function.
3. Hormonal Imbalance
Smilax Ornata, the plant in which sarsaparilla is derived from is a common ingredient in natural hormone-balancing supplements. It is known for its ability to increase libido and reduce impotence.
4. Cold And Flu
Due to sasparilla many natural antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components, it naturally increases the body’s immune function and help’s eliminate harmful bacteria.
5. Skin Conditions
Sarsaparilla has natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. These components prevent and treat a variety of skin conditions, such as psoriasis, a variety of skin rashes, bites, and bacterial infections
Sarsaparilla has been shown to have several great and lasting health benefits. It reduces the risk of cancer, and liver disease. It can help treat imbalances in your hormones and a multitude of skin conditions such as psoriasis with its anti-inflammatory compounds. The immense amounts of antioxidants found in sarsaparilla may also help your body fight off some nasty germs this flu and cold season, by strengthening your immune system. Luckily, sarsaparilla can be consumed in a multitude of ways whether it be in the form of an extract, capsule or a warm cup of tea. Sarsaparilla is readily available in stores and online. It’s worth heading over to your local health food store to take advantage of some of these fantastic health benefits. Stay healthy this fall and brew yourself one of the healthiest cups of tea you’ve ever had while curling up on the couch with a cozy blanket.