Sarsaparilla. - The root of Smilax officinalis Kunth, Smilax medica Chamisso et Schlechtendal, Smilax papyracea Duhamel, and of other undetermined species of Smilax (nat. ord. Liliaceae).

Habitat

Tropical America, from Mexico to Brazil.

Characters

About 4 or 5 mm. thick, very long, cylindrical, longitudinally wrinkled, externally grayish-brown or orange-brown; internally showing a whitish and mealy, or somewhat horny, cortical layer, surrounding a circular wood-zone, the latter enclosing a broad pith; nearly inodorous; taste mucilaginous, bitter, and acrid. Resembling Sarsaparilla. - Senega, which is twisted and keeled; Hemidesmus, which is cracked transversely.

Composition

The chief constituents are - (l) Parillin also named Smilacin, Parillinic Acid and Pariglin, about 0.2 per cent., an acrid gluco-side, soluble in hot water and Alcohol, insoluble in Ether, closely resembling Saponin. (2) Resin. (3) Trace of a Volatile Oil. (4) Calcium Oxalate and other salts.

Incompatibles. - Alkalies.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 dr.; 2. to 4. gm,

Preparations

1. Decoctum Sarsaparillae Compositum. - Compound Decoction of Sarsaparilla. Sarsaparilla, 100; Sassafras, 20; Guaiacum Wood, 20; Glycyrrhiza, 20; Mezereum, 10. By boiling, maceration in Water and straining to 1000.

Dose, 1 to 4 fl. oz.; 30. to 120. c.c.

2. Extractum Sarsaparillae Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla. By maceration and percolation with Alcohol and Water, and evaporation.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. dr.; 2. to 4. c.c.

3. Extractum Sarsaparillae Fluidum Compositum. - Compound Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla. Sarsaparilla, 750; Glycyrrhiza, 120; Sassafras, 100; Mezereum, 30. By maceration and percolation in Glycerin, Alcohol and Water, and evaporation, to 1000.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. dr.; 2. to 4. c.c.

4. Syrupus Sarsaparillae Compositus. - Compound Syrup of Sarsaparilla. Fluid Extract of Sarsaparilla, 200.; Fluid Extract of Glycyrrhiza, 15; Fluid Extract of Senna, 15; Oil of Sassafras, 1/10; Oil of Anise, 1/10; Oil of Gaultheria, 1/10; Sugar, 650. By mixing, filtering, dissolving the Sugar, and straining with Water to 1000.

Dose, 1/2 to 1 fl. oz.; 15. to 30. c.c.

Action And Therapeutics Of Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla is not known to have any physiological action. It is never given alone, therefore we are ignorant of its therapeutical effects. Probably it has none.