Smilax medica, Chamisso et Schlechtendal, officinalis, Kunth, ornata, Hooker fdius.
The dried root.
Habitat. Tropical America, Mexico to Brazil; Andes and Chinqui Mountains, 1,200-2,400 M. (4,000-8,000°) elevation; swampy forests.
Syn. Sarsap., 1. Mexican, Vera Cruz, Tampico Sarsaparilla; 2. Honduras, Bearded, Red Sarsaparilla; 3. Jamaica, C. America, Costa Rica, Lima Sarsaparilla; Sarsae Radix; Fr. Salsepareille du Mexique; Ger. Radix Sarsaparillae, Sarsaparille.
Smi'lax. L. Bindweed, Gr.
the yew, fr.
(Eng. smile), a scraper i. e., stems rough with prickles.
Med'i-ca. L. medicus, medical, curative - i. e., its healing properties.
Of-fi-ci-na'lis. L. see etymology of (Asagroea) officinalis, page 102.
Or-na'ta. L. ornatus, fr. ornare, to adorn - adorned, decorated, ornamented - i. e., beautiful fruit and foliage.
Sar-sa-pa-ril'la. L. fr. Sp. zarzaparilla - zarza, a bramble, + parra, a vine, or from Parillo, a physician said to have discovered and employed it.
Plants. - Large perennial, thorny climbers; rhizomes short, thick, knotted, nodes thick, from which spring purplish-white roots 2-2.5 M. (6-8°) long, and a few rootlets; stems many, stiff, woody, angular, ridged, subterete or quadrangular, prickles at nodes; leaves 10-30 Cm. (4-120 long, 7.5-15 Cm. (3-6') wide, petioles 5 Cm. (2') long, quadrangular, cordate, rounded lobes at base, entire, glabrous, leathery, dark glossy green; flowers dioecious, 10-20 together in umbels; fruit small berry, 8 Mm. (1/3') thick, red, 2-3-seeded. Root (S. medica): Mexican, in loose bundles, or pressed bales, single bundles, 30-60. Cm. (12-24') long, composed of 20-35 folded roots attached to a crown with one or more stout stems; roots 3.5-6 Mm. (1/7 - 1/4') thick, grayish-brown, dark brown, minutely hairy, longitudinal furrows with blackish earth; fracture tough, fibrous; internally light brown with shrunken, mealy or horny cortex surrounding the porous central cylinder, pith distinct, nearly inodorous, taste mucilaginous, sweetish, acrid; (S. officinalis): Honduras, in compact, cylindrical bundles, 30-55 Cm. (12-220 long, 8-15 Cm. (3-6') thick, composed of long, folded roots bound together by a number of circular turns; roots 2-0 Mm. (1/12-1/4') thick; dark-, reddish-brown, longitudinal furrows usually without earth; fracture fibrous; internally grayish-white, dark brown cortex, light yellow, porous central cylinder, whitish pith, taste mucilaginous, slightly acrid; (S. ornata): Jamaica, in more or less com-
Fig. 49. - Smilax: branch with flowers and fruit.
pact, somewhat flattened bundles, 30-45 Cm. (12-180 long, 10-15 Cm, (4-60 broad, composed of folded roots loosely bound together by a few circular turns; roots 2-5 Mm. (1/12-1/5') thick, grayish-, reddish-brown, longitudinally wrinkled, more or less furrowed, bearing many coarse fibrous rootlets; taste sweetish, slightly bitter. Powder, grayish-brown; microscopically - numerous starch grains, .003-.023 Mm. (1/8300-1/1075') broad, raphides of calcium oxalate, singly or in groups, hypodermal and endodermal cells with yellowish, reddish walls
- Mexican with irregular thickening; fragments of tracheae, sclercu-chymatous fibres with porous walls; the woody knotty crown with portions of overground stems should be removed. Solvents: diluted alcohol; boiling water, injured by continued boiling. Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 Gm.).
Commercial. - Sarsaparilla was carried to Europe from Peru, St. Domingo, Brazil, by the Spaniards in 1550, and has been in general use ever since. Plants occur in very thick undergrowth that renders careful collection quite troublesome, which is effected by grubbing, pulling, etc., so as to avoid extermination; those fully grown often
Fig. 50. - Mexican sarsaparilla.
yield at first cutting 30-60 pounds (13.6-27 Kg.), and every 2 years thereafter smaller quantities of more slender, less starchy roots. Collectors accept as best that having many roots from stem, persistent acrid taste, closely set prickles and thin leaves, and according to physical properties recognize two kinds (a) Non-mealy: Mexican, Jamaica, thin, not cracked, red, brown, little or no starch, usually pasty, rarely in granules, somewhat horny with longitudinal and irregular folds; thought best as roots have more rootlets, greater acridity, and yield most extract, dissolving clearly in cold water; (6) Mealy: Honduras, Para, more or less swollen, pale yellow, trans-
Fig. 51. - Mexican sarsaparilla: cross-section: magnified 3 diam.
Fig. 52. - Jamaica sarsaparilla.
versely cracked, considerable starch, usually in fine granules, seldom pasty. There are four varieties: 1, Mexican, once thought valueless, but now, owing to acridity, most valuable; grows in Mexican Andes, around Orizaba, Vera Cruz, etc., being considered a variety of S. officinalis, with slender branches, and often without prickles; 2, Jamaica, grown chiefly in Costa Rica, some in the Amazon Valley, and called "Jamaica" as it is exported through that province; resembles Honduras, but redder, less wrinkled and amylaceous, and yields more extract; 3, Honduras, most popular, grown in Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, C. America; enters market in bales, skins, 100 pounds
(45.3 Kg.); 4, Para (Brazillian, Rio Negro, Lisbon - S. papyra'cea), in compact cylindrical bundles, 30-90 Cm. (12-36') long, 15-20 Cm. (6-8') thick, closely and neatly bound, by a stem of a vine, and ends evenly trimmed; rootlets few, dark, amylaceous, acrid, resembling Honduras, and growing in N. Brazil, Guiana (Para, Maranham); considered a variety of S. officinalis, with older stems and lower branches remaining square, angles with flattened prickles and much more membraneous leaves; rather rare, and the only one of the four varieties not recognized in U. S. P.
Fig. 53. - Honduras sarsaparilla.
The Guayaquil (S. officinalis), growing in W. Andes valleys, occasionally enters market, usually loose and carelessly packed in bales, rhizome and stem portions often included; roots dark with much fibre, bark furrowed, thick, somewhat amylaceous, internally pale yellow. Roots are taken also from S. syphilit'ica (Colombia), S. glau'ca (Mexico), S. util'is (Jamaica), etc.
Constituents. - Saponin-like substance (separable into 3 gluco-sides - Sarsasaponin, Parillin, Smilasaponin) 3 p. c, volatile oil, resin, starch 10-15 p. c., pectin, coloring matter, calcium oxalate and other salts, ash 7-10 p. c.
Fig. 54. - Honduras sarsaparilla: cross-section; magnified 3 diam.
Fig. 55. - Para sarsaparilla.
Sarsasaponin, C22H36O10, is the most important component, being 3-4 times more active than the other two; it is crystallizable, soluble in water, alcohol, more so with heat.
Parillin (Smilacin), C26H44O10, crystallizable, soluble in water, alcohol, frothing with agitation, aqueous solution precipitated by lead acetates, tannin; boiled with diluted acids splits into sugar and pari-genin.
Smilasaponin, C20H32O10, non-crystallizable, soluble in water, alcohol.
Preparations. - 1. Fluidextractum Sarsaparilla. Fluidextract of Sarsaparilla. (Syn., Fldext. Sarsap., Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla;
Extractum Sarsae Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide de Salsepareille; Ger. Sarsaparillafluidextrakt.)
Manufacture: Similar to Fluidextractum Sabal, page 95; menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)).
Prep. 1. Syruyus Sarsaparillae Compositus. Compound Syrup of Sarsaparilla. (Syn., Syr. Sarsap. Co., Syrupus Sudorificus; Fr. Sirop de Salsepareille compose, Sirop sudorifique; Ger. Zusam-mengesetzter Sarsaparillsirup.) Manufacture: Fluidextract of sarsaparilla 20 Ml. (Cc.), fluid-extract of glycyrrhiza 1.5 Ml. (Cc.), fluidextract of senna 1.5 Ml. (Cc.), syrup 75 Ml. (Cc.), oil of sassafras .02 Ml. (Cc.), oil of anise .02 Ml. (Cc.), methyl salicylate .02 Ml. (Cc.), alcohol (1.94) q. s. 100 Ml. (Cc.). Dose, 3j-4 (4-15 Ml. (Cc.)). 2. Fluidextractum Sarsaparilae Compositum. Compound Fluid-extract of Sarsaparilla. (Syn., Fldext. Sarsap. Co., Compound Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla; Fr. Extrait fluide de Salsepareille compose; Ger. Zusammengesetztes Sarsaparillafluidextrakt.)
Manufacture: Sarsaparilla 75 Gm., glycyrrhiza 12 Gm., sassafras 10 Gm., mezereum 3 Gm.; similar to Fluidextractum Ergotae, page 60; 1st menstruum: alcohol 50 Ml. (Cc.), water 40, glycerin 10; 2nd menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preps.: Compound Decoction 10 p. c. (+ sassafras 2, guaiacum wood 2, glycyrrhiza 2, mezereum 1), dose, ℥j-4 (30-120 Ml. (Cc.)). Decoction. Extract, dose, gr. 5-10 (.3-.6 Gm.). Extract Comp. Syrup.
Uses. - As a blood purifier in scrofula, cutaneous diseases, abscesses, ulcers, tertiary syphilis with mercuric chloride or potassium iodide or both; gout, rheumatism.
Incompatibles: Alkalies, iodine, and corrosive sublimate is claimed to be converted into calomel by the compound syrup. Allied Plants:
1. Smilax chi'na, S. pseu'do-chi'na, S. tarn-noi'des, S. as'pera, and Ca'rex arena'ria, German Sarsaparilla. - All used like official.
2. Dioscore'a villo'sa. Dried rhizome; diaphoretic - rheumatism, dose, 3ss-l (2-4 Gm.), fluidextract (80 p. c alcohol).