I must be kidding, right? Sarsparilla? Smilax officinalis? In North America it used to flavor root beer and even named a beverage toward the end of the last century. That, an aphrodisiac?
Farther south, however, in its native Mexico, it has been used for hundreds of years medicianally and to treat various sexual maladies. The former may be explained by an infection-fighting phytohormone (plant-based hormone) that resembles cortisone. It has been used for liver problems, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin disorders.
Never mind all that, though. What’s this got to do with aphrodisiacs?
Well, sarsparilla contains phytosterols and steroidal saponins, which may (as we’ve discussed before) be used by the body to create testosterone and progesterone. These hormones control aggression and sex drive in both genders, so it is quite possible that medicine has vindicated the ancient use of sarsparilla to combat impotence and frigidity. Or not: In spite of a long history of use as a male sexual… um, rejuvenator, actual evidence that it boosts any related hormone is stubbornly absent.