Herbal Medicine 101, Lesson 31: Smilax


  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,354 admin

    @torey was unable to get my video to play on the first link. Here it is on another hosting platform. If anyone can't get either of these to play, I have a 3rd option.

  • csinclair461
    csinclair461 Posts: 159 ✭✭✭

    awesome to run into this - I have a couple variety of greenbriers on my new property. I was getting ready to go cut it back off my trees/bushes. Now I'll be harvesting it instead. Thanks for the info!

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,507 admin

    Finally got to watch this episode. I don't have greenbriar here but have heard of it. Didn't know that it was a Smilax. I had heard of carrion flower but also didn't know that it was a Smilax.

    I recently watched a video presentation from a well-known herbalist who said that it is much more important to know the plant itself rather than learning the Latin binomial. But this is a case where it is more important to know which species you have by the Latin name rather than the common name. So much confusion in naming these related species.

    This is False or Wild Sarsaparilla in my part of the world. Aralia nudicaulis. Its also called Small Spikenard or American Spikenard, but that latter name might also refer to Aralia racemosa. Very similar looking berries to the ones you have shown on the Smilax plant, Judson. Awesome adaptogen.

    The name Spikenard also refers to an essential oil from an unrelated species in the Caprifoliaceae (Honeysuckle) family, Nardostachys jatamansi. I think it may also be found as Jatamansi EO. I found another plant called Indian Sarsaparilla (Hemidesmus indicus) which again is from an unrelated plant family, Apocynaceae.

    So be sure of your species when using a common name.

    The other Araliaceae member I have here is Devil's Club.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,354 admin

    Yep, the whole sarsaparilla thing is quite confusing. We have spikenard here, too.