Sarsaparilla roots are used as an aromatic herb.
They come from a perennial, trailing, climbing vine with prickly stems and deep roots which are tubers. The plant is a member of the greenbrier family.
Three varieties are used: Smilax officinalis, Smilax aristolochiaefolia and Smilax ornata.
The early shoots in the spring can be eaten like asparagus.
Sarsaparilla the drink is made from the roots. It is a brown, non-alcoholic drink that sometimes has a medicinal flavour.
In the UK, you can buy Sarsaparilla as a cordial from Mawson's since 1998 (the product was retired by they revived it.)
Sarsaparilla was used as a spring time tonic.
Sarsaparilla was introduced into Europe in the 1500s.
The word "Sarsaparilla" comes from Spanish "zarza" ("shrub") and "parilla" ("little vine".)
Usually pronounced "Sass pah rilla."
HerbsAngelica; Angostura Bark; Bay Leaf; Borage; Chamomile; Chervil; Chives; Comfrey; Curry Leaves; Dill; Dried Herbs; Epazote; Filé; Folium Indicum; Garlic Greens; Green Garlic; Gruit; Herbes Salées; Herbs; Hops; Jacob's Ladder; Lady's Bedstraw; Lavender; Loroco; Lovage; Marjoram; Mexican Tarragon; Mint; Mugwort Powder; Oregano; Pennywort; Potherbs; Rolling Mincer; Rosemary; Rue; Sachet Bags; Sage; Salad Burnet; Sarsaparilla; Sassafrass; Savoury; Screw Pine Leaves; Shiso Leaves; Silphium; Sorrel; Stevia; Sweet Cicely; Tarragon; Thyme; Trefoil; Valerian; Wild Garlic; Winter Purslane; Wormwood; Yarrow; Yomogi
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Smilax ornata (Scientific Name); Salsepareille (French)