Sarsaparilla Herbal


Smilax medica


PROPERTIES: Alterative (blood purifier), Tonic, Carminative, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Anti-inflammatory

SYSTEMS AFFECTED: The entire system—as the blood is cleansed, everything is affected for good. Tonics have been defined as agents “. . . which permanently exalt the energies of the body at large, without vitally affecting any one organ in particular . . .” Tonics tone the whole system, although I have found that some do have specific uses for an entire system such as the Cardiovascular or the Nervous System.

Digestive (colon), Urinary, Endocrine/Glandular, Integumentary

POSSIBLE USES: It is interesting to note that Sarsaparilla species have been used all over the word in many different cultures for the same conditions: gout, arthritis, colds, fevers, skin diseases, anything catarrhal, and various forms of cancer.


The most notable and unusual feature of Sarsaparilla is its use as an endotoxin binder. Endotoxins are bits of bacteria that are reabsorbed into the blood stream from the large intestine. Normally, the liver filters out these and other colon-derived compounds before they return to the blood and circulate throughout the body. If the amount of endotoxins reabsorbed becomes excessive the liver can become overwhelmed and fail to remove a sufficient number of them. A toxic liver, unable to cope at all with this load, will allow these often deadly endotoxins to spill into the blood.

If endotoxins get loose in the general circulation, activation of the alternate complement immune system occurs. This system rushes white blood cells and other immune responses to the affected areas. While this is a good and necessary response and may save lives, it also results in chronic inflammation and cell damage. Much of what is blamed on a particular disease state—created by the rogue endotoxins—is created by the desperate attempts of the immune system to cope and eradicate the problem. What is being described here is any one of the “chronic autoimmune disorders” that are the body turning on its own badly damaged cells inflaming and destroying them, and then becoming confused as to what is “self but damaged” and what is “self but needed.”

Studies have shown that people with autoimmune disorders such as psoriasis have high levels of circulating endotoxins, and endotoxins are often the cause of high fevers when nothing specific like a bad sore throat seems to be identifiable. It is also speculated that endotoxins returning to the bloodstream are one of the avenues by which viruses and cancer cells travel throughout the body. Once bound with the molecules of Sarsaparilla, the endotoxins (of whatever form) can be safely excreted from the body. Just in case Sarsaparilla in unable to bind with cancer cells, I like to take RC (formerly Red Clover Combination) from time to time as an additional way to keep a handle on any possible circulating cancer cells.

Sarsaparilla has demonstrated wonderful antibiotic properties but, amazing as these properties are, they are secondary to this endotoxin-binding action.

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