Sarsaparilla, or Smilax Sarsaparilla, L. is a native of the West Indies, whence its medicinal root is obtained.

This drug has a glutinous, somewhat bitter, and agreeable taste, but is totally devoid of smell, It is highly esteemed, on account of its demulcent and farinaceous qualities, and has been successfully administered, in the different forms of decoction, extract, and powder, in cases of carious and iil-disposed cancers, or other sores. It is taken in doses of half an ounce of the root boiled in half a pint of water, till the third part be evaporated; or half a dram of the extract: in either of these forms, it acts by the skin as well as by the urinary passages, and is a mild, though inert remedy ; on which account it is generally combined with the sassafras, guaiacurn, liquorice, and other substances, in a decoction of the woods.