The root of Smilax officinalis.
Preparations.—Tincture of Sarsaparilla. Syrup of Sarsaparilla.
Dose.—Of the tincture, ʒss. to ʒj. Of the syrup ʒj to ℥j.
Therapeutic Action.—Sarsaparilla is alterative, diaphoretic and diuretic. Diaphoresis most frequently follows its exhibition when the surface is kept warm; but if kept cool, it produces diuresis. Authors, however, suppose these effects, are attributable, to a great extent, to the amount of liquid taken with it; for when given in substance, in large doses, nausea, vomiting and impaired appetite, were the only perceptible effects.
In cachectic states of the system, it acts as an alterative, improving the appetite, facilitating digestion, augmenting the strength, constitutional and mental capacities of the patient, with an improvement or entire relief of the morbid condition for which it was exhibited. It is not employed as a tonic, its exhibition being confined almost exclusively to depraved or vitiated states of the system, owing to its reputed alterative powers. Some species possess nutritive and demulcent properties.