Sarsaparilla is a tropical plant from the genus Smilax. The climbing, woody vine grows deep in the canopy of the rain forest. It’s native to South America, Jamaica, the Caribbean, Mexico, Honduras, and the West Indies.
For centuries, indigenous people around the world used the root of the sarsaparilla plant for treating joint problems like arthritis, and for healing skin problems like psoriasis, eczema, and dermatitis. The root was also thought to cure leprosy due to its “blood-purifying” properties.
Sarsaparilla was later introduced into European medicine and eventually registered as an herb in the Unites States Pharmacopoeia to treat syphilis.
The benefits of sarsaparilla root for treating psoriasis were documented decades ago. One studyTrusted Source found that sarsaparilla dramatically improved skin lesions in people with psoriasis. The researchers hypothesized that one of sarsaparilla’s main steroids, called sarsaponin, is able to bind to endotoxins responsible for the lesi