This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Hemidesmus. B. P., not official. - The dried root of Hemides-mus Indicus (nat. ord. Asclepiadaceae). Synonym. - Indian Sarsaparilla.
Cylindrical, twisted, longitudinally furrowed; 15. cm. long; their yellowish-brown corky layer easily separable from the rest of the bark, which is annularly cracked. Odor fragrant, taste sweetish, slightly acid. Resembling Hemidesmus. -Sarsaparilla, Ipecacuanha, and Senega, but they have no cracks.
The chief constituents are - (1) Coumarin (2) Hemi-desmine. (3) Tannic Acid.
Hemidesmus is used chiefly in India, and for the same purposes as sarsaparilla. It is doubtful whether it has any particular action. The syrup may be given as a flavoring agent.