Sarsaparilla - Zarzaparrilla
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Smilax aspera is a perennial, evergreen shrub with a flexible and delicate stem, with sharp thorns.
The climbing stem is 14 metres (3 ft 3 in13 ft 1 in) long.The leaves are 810 centimetres (3.13.9 in) long, petiolated, alternate, tough and leathery, heart-shaped, with toothed and spiny margins.
Also the midrib of the underside of the leaves are provided with spines. The flowers, very fragrant, are small, yellowish or greenish, gathered in axillary racemes.
The flowering period in Mediterranean regions extends from September to November. The fruits are globose berries, gathered in clusters, which ripen in Autumn.
They are initially red, later turn black. They have a diameter of 810 millimetres (0.310.39 in) and contain one to three tiny and round seeds. Insipid and unpalatable to humans, they are a source of nourishment for many species of birds.
Young shoots of S. aspera are edible. Carrion flower (S. herbacea) and common catbrier (S. rotundifolia) of eastern North America are sometimes cultivated to form impenetrable thickets.The young shoots are eaten as a vegetable, raw or cooked, as an asparagus substitute.
Smilax aspera is used to produce the Italian Sarsaparilla which has the same properties as the ones from tropical America, though to a lesser degree.
It is often used as an adulterant to that plant. The Common Smilax is sometimes medically used to treat Psoriasis, bronchitis, enfisema, asthma and chronic rheumatism.
The mature berries are squeezed and applied to the skin in the treatment of cutaneous disease. A red dye is obtained from the ripe tendrils.
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Zarsaparrilla - Sarsaparilla Pictures
Properties of Zarzaparrilla - Sarsaparilla Favored by Aztecs
Purifies the blood, fights gout and rheumatism, increases urine and sweat production and is a light laxative.
Aztec Method of Use.
It is recommended to first soak the Zarzaparrilla root for 12 hours then boil in the same water, now drink 3 cups a day using 80 grams of Zarzaarrilla root to 1/2 liter of water.
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CAUTION: This presentation is not a guide to the identification of plants or their use as a substitute for standard medical treatments. Many plants with medicinal properties are also toxic and frequently FATAL if taken at incorrect dosages or if not prepared in a specific fashion. We do not advocate the consumption of reputed medicinal plant products without prior consultation with your physician or other natural plant products professional. Consult Your Physician Before Using a Herbal Remedy!
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