The Sarsaparilla Plant.
A plant of the climbing kind, native of the warmer countries. The stalks run to ten or twelve feet in length, but are weak, and support themselves among the bushes: they are whitish, angular, and striated, and are full of small prickles. The leaves are an inch long, or more, and above half an inch broad, of an oval figure, of a deep green on the upper side, and white underneath, firm in their texture, and very glossy. The flowers are little and yellowish. The berries are black, round, and of the bigness of a small pea. The root is very large and slender.
The root is used. Our druggists keep it: they split it in two. It is brown on the outside, and white within; and its taste is insipid. It is supposed to have great virtues, but they are not perfectly established. They have been at times disputed, and at times supported. Given in decoction, it promotes sweat and urine. It has been esteemed good against the scurvy, and famous in the cure of the veneral disease. It is, in general, accounted a sweetener of the blood.