Although it has long been enjoyed as a soft drink, some Indonesians may not know the benefits of sarsaparilla. The plant whose extract is also often used as a flavoring in candy is believed to be able to prevent or even treat various health problems.
Sarsaparilla (Smilar ornata) is a tropical plant native to Mexico, South America, and the Caribbean Islands, such as Jamaica and Honduras.
The roots of the sarsaparilla plant have been used for centuries by local people to treat various ailments, from skin ailments to joint problems. In Indonesia itself, the sarsaparilla plant has also long been cultivated in various regions, especially Java.
Benefits of Sarsaparilla for Body Health
Sarsaparilla plant contains various chemicals, such as saponins and phytosterols, which are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-pain. This plant has also been used since ancient times as a traditional herbal medicine to treat various diseases.
The following are some of the benefits of sarsaparilla for body health, if used as herbal medicine:
1. Prevent cancer
Sarsaparilla contains antioxidants that can prevent cell damage and counteract the effects of free radicals in the body. In addition, several studies have also shown that sarsaparilla extract can inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
However, so far further research is needed to ensure the effectiveness and side effects of the benefits of sarparilla as a cancer prevention.
2. Relieves psoriasis symptoms
One of the benefits of sarsaparilla is to treat skin diseases, such as psoriasis. A study states that sarsaparilla extract contains astilbin and saponins which have anti-inflammatory properties and have effects that are almost similar to corticosteroid drugs.
These substances can reduce inflammation in the skin, which can help relieve psoriasis symptoms, such as peeling, itching, and scaly skin.
3. Slow down aging
Not only eliminating psoriasis, sarsaparilla which contains antioxidants is also seen to slow down the skin aging process significantly. Sarsaparilla root extract is known to stimulate collagen production in the skin and prevent skin damage from sun exposure.
4. Relieve joint pain
Sarsaparilla contains compounds that have anti-inflammatory and anti-pain effects. Traditionally, this plant has been used since ancient times to treat inflammation and joint pain rheumatoid arthritis, uric acid, and osteoarthritis.
5. Eradicate germs and fungi
Sarsaparilla contains chemicals that have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Some research in the laboratory states that the extract of the sarsaparilla plant appears to be able to inhibit the growth and kill various types of bacteria and fungi.
Traditionally, sarsaparilla has also been widely used to treat syphilis, leprosy, and intestinal worms.
6. Maintain liver health and function
Research in the laboratory has also shown that sarsaparilla extract appears to protect liver function and prevent liver damage. In addition, sarsaparilla also appears to be useful in helping the detoxification process or the removal of toxic substances in the body.
7. Prevent coughing
Sarsaparilla plant which is processed in the form of tea has been used traditionally as a cough and cold medicine. This is because sarsaparilla contains compounds to thin phlegm, increase endurance, and support the flu recovery process.
In addition to some of the benefits above, there are many other benefits of sarsaparilla, such as overcoming swelling in the body and maintaining kidney health. Unfortunately, the various claims for the benefits of sarsaparilla have only been known through small-scale studies.
The effectiveness and side effects of sarsaparilla as a drug are still not known until now, so it still needs to be investigated further.
Although it's often used as a flavoring in soft drinks and candies, don't expect to get these benefits just by eating sarsaparilla-flavored drinks or candies.
Moreover, now there are many sarsaparilla drinks or candies that are sold freely, but they are not always made from the sarsaparilla plant. The drink is made from plants Sassafras or even just contain artificial flavours. Therefore, you also have to be more careful in consuming it.
If taken as an herbal tea or supplement, sarsaparilla may still be considered safe. However, if you are interested and want to try the various benefits of sarsaparilla as a treatment, you should consult your doctor first.