Smilax (Latin Smílax), or Sassaparil, or Sassaparel or Sarsaparel (from the Greek smilax – name for bindweed or dodder) – a genus of lianas or climbing shrubs from the Smilacaceae family.
They grow in the marshy tropical forests of America.
Representatives of the genus are ligneous lianas or clinging shrubs and shrubs with a curved, mostly spiky stem and two-row evergreen leaves equipped with antennae. The spikes are crooked.
Flowers unisexual (dioecious plants), collected in shields. Perianth simple, consisting of 6 free leaves; in the male flower for the most part 6, rarely 7-15 stamens; in a female flower there are 6 or 1-3 ply staminoids and one pestle with an upper three-pronged ovary; in each nest one – two ovules.
The fruit is a spherical berry, protein seed.
The accessory roots of plants of the genus Smilax (pharmaceutical name is Latin. Radix Sarsaparillae, “sarsaparilla root”) contain steroid saponins, the main ones are parillin oligosides and sarsaparilloside, sarsapogenin derivatives.
A decoction of the roots is used as a diuretic, anti-syphilitic agent, for rheumatism and gout.
In 1553, Cieza de Leon, in the book Chronicle of Peru, gave the first description of the plant and reported on its importance for the treatment of certain diseases, in particular syphilis.
Smilax root has long been used as a traditional remedy in Central and South America to treat impotence; rheumatism and joint pain; headaches; colds skin diseases, including leprosy; and as a general tonic in cases of physical weakness. The plant has become popular as a herbal remedy in many parts of the world, and significant studies have been conducted regarding the active compounds in the root. The most important active compounds in the root are a number of plant steroids and saponins; other compounds present include flavonoids. It has been shown that saponins facilitate the body’s absorption of other drugs and phytochemicals, which explains the history of the use of smilax in plant formulas as a means to improve bioavailability and increase the effectiveness of other herbs.
Clinical studies have confirmed the effectiveness of the traditional use of smilax for the treatment of skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema, acne and leprosy. In one clinical study in 92 patients, the use of plant root improved the clinical outcome in psoriasis in 62% of cases and completely cleared the lesions in 18% of cases. It is believed that this is due to the effect of the plant’s root on blood purification, in particular, the sarsaponin steroid, which has been shown to remove endotoxins from the blood.
The effective use of sassaparil in the treatment of leprosy was documented in 1959. The effectiveness of sassaparil in the treatment of acne in adolescents caused by excessive levels of androgens has also received some experimental support. Flavonoids in sassaparil will perform the function of immunomodulation and liver protection.
Clinical studies in China have shown that sassaparill is effective (according to a blood test) in about 90% of acute and 50% of chronic cases of syphilis.
Other studies demonstrate the antibiotic, antifungal, and antimycobacterial properties of the root. Its anti-inflammatory activity has been demonstrated in several in vitro and in vivo studies. It was reported that the roots have stimulating activity in the kidneys in humans, and in chronic nephritis an increase in urinary acid excretion in urine has been shown. Saponins and plant steroids found in many plant species (including sassaparil) can be synthesized into steroids in humans, such as estrogen and testosterone. This synthesis has never been recorded in humans – only in laboratory conditions. It has been stated that steroids sarsasapogenin and smilagenin have the ability to treat senile dementia, cognitive dysfunction and Alzheimer’s disease. However, any studies supporting these claims have not yet been published in peer-reviewed articles.
In modern herbal medicine, it is believed that smilax root has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antibiotic, antifungal, blood purifying, diaphoretic, diuretic, digestive, antipyretic, liver and tonic properties. Due to its reputation as a blood purifier, the root has a long history of use in the treatment of syphilis and other sexually transmitted diseases worldwide. It is also used to treat conditions such as gout, syphilis, gonorrhea, rheumatism, wounds, arthritis, fever, cough, scrofula, hypertension, digestive disorders, psoriasis, skin diseases and cancer. The root is also widely available in health food stores, as part of various tablets, capsules and tinctures. It can be found both independently and as an ingredient in various herbal remedies for treating skin diseases, enhancing libido, balancing hormones and in sports nutrition formulas. It is widely used in drugs as a synergist or as a bioavailability enhancer, since smilax root saponins are thought to increase the absorption of other chemicals in the intestines.
It is part of Purin ultra.