What is sarsaparilla
Sarsaparilla is a shrub found in Europe, Asia and part of Africa whose scientific name is Smilax aspera. In the Iberian Peninsula it is also called as a Moorish bush.
Its popularization is due both to the famous sarsaparilla drink, a popular and very cheap soda, currently forgotten, but especially for its medicinal properties.
For its therapeutic use it is used, above all, its root, with which infusions and extracts are made and concentrated in drops.
Properties of sarsaparilla or Smilax aspera
Sarsaparilla for its medicinal properties is used to combat various ailments. For example, since time immemorial it is used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis or skin itching, as well as acne, boils, and so on.
It is said that in the past it was a plant that was used to fight terrible skin diseases such as leprosy.
Due to the saponin content, the diuretic and purifying properties of sarsaparilla are used to treat rheumatism, excess uric acid in the blood known as gout and arthritis.
Sarsaparilla in drink
Sarsaparilla drink became popular in Spain at the end of the 50s, when Westerns began to turn into Spanish. In many scenes you could see a cowboy entering a tavern in the middle of the desert and asking for "waiter, put me a sarsaparilla."
In fact the versions of those films that still keep the same dubbing can be seen with that expression.
At that same time appeared Zarzaparrilla 1001, a brand of soda based on Smilax aspera and tail that competed directly with the giant of American soft drinks.
At present, the sarsaparilla drink was forgotten, almost like something anecdotal, but it was a drink widely consumed for decades.