Jamaican Sarsaparilla…worth its weight in gold
BUCKSTON & HUBER’S ALTERNATIVE
Thursday, September 16, 2010
SARSAPARILLA, one of the most popular herbs used as an aphrodisiac in Jamaica today, has been worth its weight in gold since the 16th century, when the Spaniards brought it to the island from Honduras as a cure for syphilis.
It was so valuable in the 17th century that English settlers paid a fifteen-pound gold medal to anyone found growing it. Back then, the plant was also used in the treatment of other chronic diseases, including rheumatism and asthma.
Today, it is widely used in the preparation of many roots tonics to boost libido and increase stamina. In fact, although there are many different varieties of the plant, the Jamaican sarsaparilla has been hailed as the most potent. Nature’s Way, a botanical company in the United States, said in one of its recent publications that the Jamaican sarsaparilla was the best in the world.
Scientifically known as Similax ornata or Similax officinale, it derived its name from the Spanish “sarza”,meaning bramble and the world “parilla” in reference to its thorny stem. The plant contains a small portion of starch, glucoside, sarsaponin, sarsapic acid and essential fatty acids — palmiti, stearic, behenic, oleic and linolic acid. It has been grown commercially since the 16th century, and is today exported primarily to the US and Europe. It is said to increase sperm count in males, while giving men over 70 the ability to impregnate a woman if they consume it over a period of nine days.
Sarsaparilla is a good blood purifier and excellent in cases of clotting of the blood. It is also useful for gout, skin problems, joint aches, gas and hormonal imbalances. It is useful, too, in increasing the metabolic rate of the body and contains the important male hormone testosterone, which is an important hairgrowing hormone.
Although the herb has uses from which women can benefit, they are advised not to consume it too regularly due to its high testosterone content, which can make women grow beards and reduce the size of their breasts.
Buckston Harrison was well known for his work as a herbalist, especially in western Jamaica. He resided in Sheffield, Westmoreland until his untimely passing on Monday March 22, 2010.