German Sarsaparilla

Last Editorial Review: 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Carex arenaria, Carex des Arènes, Carex des Sables, Caricis Rhizoma, Chiendent Rouge, Laîche des Sables, Red Couchgrass, Red Sage, Red Wheatgrass, Salsepareille, Salsepareille d'Allemagne, Salsepareille des Pauvres, Sand Sedge, Sandriedgraswurzelstock, Sea Sedge, Zarzaparrilla Alemana.


German sarsaparilla is a plant. The underground stem (rhizome) is used to make medicine. Be careful not to confuse German sarsaparilla with other forms of sarsaparilla.

People take German sarsaparilla for preventing gout and causing sweating. They also take it for treating arthritis, skin problems, fluid retention, sexually transmitted diseases (STD, VD), intestinal gas, colic, liver disorders, diabetes, and tuberculosis.

Women take German sarsaparilla to restore menstruation that has stopped.

How does work?

German sarsaparilla contains many chemicals including salicylates, which are similar to aspirin.


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Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of German sarsaparilla for these uses.

Side Effects

There isn't enough information to know whether German sarsaparilla is safe. It may cause irritation when it comes in contact with skin, nose, eyes, or the digestive tract.


Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of German sarsaparilla during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Asthma: Don't use German sarsaparilla if you have asthma. It might make your condition worse.

Aspirin allergy: People who are allergic to aspirin might also be allergic to German sarsaparilla. Don't use German sarsaparilla if you are allergic to aspirin.


The appropriate dose of German sarsaparilla depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for German sarsaparilla. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


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Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Sifton D, ed. The PDR family guide to natural medicines & healing therapies. New York, NY:Three Rivers Press, 1999.