Smilax rotundifolia Sarsaparilla Smilax, Known as “the Cat Thorn” was one of the most widely used plants by Native Americans in the US, east of the Mississippi river. The young shoots are excellent when cooked like asparagus. The young leaves and tendrils can be prepared like spinach or added directly to salads. The roots have natural gelling agent in them that can be extracted and used as a thickening agent. The leaves are glossy green, petioled, alternate, and circular to heart-shaped. They are generally 5-13 cm long. Smilax climbs using green tendrils growing out of the petioles. The stems are round, green and have sharp spines. The flowers are greenish, and are seen from April to August, the fruit they produce are bluish black berries that become ripe in September. Edible Parts: Leaves; Root. A beer resembling root beer called IndoSaparella is a carbonated soft drink made from Sarsaparilla Root. Rich in starch. The root can be dried and ground into a powder that is used in making cakes, puddings, sweet drinks etc, it can also be made into a jelly or eaten in soups. or sarsaparilla is made from the roots. Young shoots - raw or cooked. They can be added to salads or cooked like asparagus. Medicinal Uses Plants are strong medicine. Always use responsibly. Birthing aid; Poultice; Rubefacient. The stem prickles are rubbed on the skin as a counter-irritant to relieve localized pains, muscle cramps and twitching. The Large roots were carved, dried and used for the bowl of smoking pipes by American Indians. A tea made from the leaves and stems and is used in the treatment of rheumatism and stomach problems. The parched and powdered leaves have been used as a dressing on burns and scalds. The wilted leaves are used as a poultice on boils. A tea made from the roots is used to help the expelling of afterbirth. Reports that the roots contain the hormone testosterone have not been confirmed, they do contain steroid precursors, however. Folklore Smilax gets its name from the Greek myth Krokus and the nymph Smilax. Though this myth has numerous forms, it always centers around the unfulfilled and tragic love of a mortal man who is turned into a flower, and a woodland nymph who is transformed into a brambly vine.