Indian Sarsaparilla: habitat, Chemical Composition, uses, Precautions

Indian Sarsaparilla is scientifically known as Hemidesmus indicus. This medicinal plant is deeply rooted in the rich tapestry of Ayurvedic and traditional medicine. It is a perennial climbing herb. It is native to tropical and subtropical regions of India, Southeast Asia, and the Arabian Peninsula. In this article, we will learn about this herb in detail.
Indian Sarsaparilla: habitat, Chemical Composition, uses, Precautions
Table of Contents


Hemidesmus indicus, Anantmool, Nannari


Indian sarsaparilla is a slender, twining perennial herb that is a member of the Asclepiadaceae family. It has a distinctive woody root system that grows to a height of 1–2 meters. This plant has glossy, green lanceolate leaves and small, fragrant, tubular flowers that are usually purple or white.

Natural Habitat

This flexible herb is originally native to the Indian subcontinent and is found primarily in tropical and subtropical regions. It grows in a variety of habitats ranging from open forests, and grasslands to barren lands. Indian Sarsaparilla is known for its adaptability and can survive in both dry and moist conditions.

Other Common names

Indian Sarsaparilla, Anantmool, Nannari

Chemical Composition

Its root contains a rich range of bioactive compounds, including:
  1. Saponins (Hemidesmin I and II)
  2. Tannins
  3. Flavonoids
  4. Sterols
  5. Alkaloids

Parts Used

The primary medicinal part of Indian sarsaparilla is its root

Properties of Indian Sarsaparilla

Ayurvedic Properties

In Ayurveda, Indian Sarsaparilla is said to have many properties, some of which are:
  1. Rasa (Taste): Madhura (Sweet)
  2. Guna (Quality): Guru (Heavy), Snigdha (Oily)
  3. Virya (Potency): Sheeta (Cooling)
  4. Vipaka (Post-digestive effect): Madhura (Sweet)
  5. Doshas: Balances Vata and Pitta doshas

Therapeutic properties

Indian Sarsaparilla has many therapeutic properties:
  • Detoxification: Purifies the blood and helps remove toxins from the body.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Reduces inflammation and swelling.
  • Antioxidant: Protects against oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals.
  • Immunomodulatory: Helps the body fight against infections by strengthening the immune system.
  • Hepatoprotective: Supports liver health and aids detoxification.
  • Antimicrobial: It has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

Health Benefits of Indian Sarsaparilla

Many health benefits are obtained from its consumption, some of which are described as follows:
  1. Maintains skin health: It has detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties due to which, it is used in treating skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and acne.
  2. Aids digestive health: It supports digestion, reduces indigestion, and enhances gut health.
  3. Helps in respiratory health: It helps in managing respiratory disorders like bronchitis, asthma, and cough.
  4. Joint Health: It provides relief from joint pain, arthritis, and rheumatism.
  5. Menstrual Health: It helps regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce menstrual cramps.
  6. Promotes general well-being: It Enhances vitality, increases energy levels, and promotes overall well-being.

Uses of Indian sarsaparilla

Indian sarsaparilla is used in a variety of forms including:
  • A decoction is prepared by boiling the root in water and can be consumed or applied topically.
  • Its dried root can be powdered and used in the form of herbal formulations, capsules, or topical applications.
  • A concentrated alcoholic extract of its root is prepared and used for internal consumption.
  • A paste or oil prepared from its root can be applied externally to treat skin conditions and joint pain.
  • Indian Sarsaparilla is a key ingredient in many Ayurvedic formulations such as Saraswatarishta, Khadirarishta, and Dashmularishta.

Precautionary Measures for Indian sarsaparilla

Although Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) has many health benefits, it is important to be careful while using this medicinal plant. Such persons should take care while consuming it:
  • Pregnant and lactating women: Studies are still going on about its effect on women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, pregnant or lactating women should avoid using it.
  • May exhibit allergic reactions: Some individuals may be allergic to Indian Sarsaparilla or its components. After consuming it, if you notice any allergic reaction like skin rash, itching, or difficulty in breathing, stop using it and consult a doctor.
  • Interactions with medicines: Indian Sarsaparilla may interact with certain medications, if you are taking any prescription medications, consult a health care professional before using Indian Sarsaparilla to avoid potential drug interactions.
  • Take limited dosage: Excessive consumption can lead to many complications like digestive upset, liver damage, or other adverse effects. Therefore always follow its recommended dosage or consult a doctor for proper dosage.
  • Use with caution in children: The safety of Indian sarsaparilla in children has not been well studied. Therefore, before giving this herb to children, consult a pediatrician.
  • Choose a product of quality and purity: Get Indian sarsaparilla from a reputable source to ensure quality and purity. Contaminated or adulterated products may contain harmful substances which may be harmful to health.
  • Determine the duration of use: Do not use Indian sarsaparilla for a long period without medical supervision. Consuming it for a long time may cause unwanted side effects or imbalance in the body.
  • People with Medical conditions: Individuals with certain medical conditions, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or hormone-sensitive conditions, should exercise caution when using Indian sarsaparilla and should consult a doctor before starting any other treatments.


Indian Sarsaparilla is a plant with versatile medicinal properties that has been known for its properties for centuries. This herb helps in treating many diseases like respiratory problems, and digestive problems, or boosting the immune system. It is important to consult your doctor before including any herb in your daily routine as it can sometimes cause allergic reactions in many people, especially those who take other medications.

Remember, before starting any new wellness regimen, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is suitable for your specific needs and circumstances.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top