Loser's Guide to Life
I used to wonder about something called “sarsaparilla”, which you find mentioned in stories set in the United States. For example, in Stuart Little the rodent or whatever he is buys such a drink near the end. I assumed it was one of those flavourings that had a quack usage back in the 19th century. Here's the text of an advertisment from the back of a 1900 publication:
Well known as a superior preparation that may always be relied on.
The safest and most reliable remedy for torpid liver, debility, eruptions, weak and languid feelings, and all impurities of the blood.
Wilkinson's essence or fluid extract of Red Jamaica Sarsaparilla.
Cleanses the blood of all dangerous humours.
“We cannot speak too highly of it.”—Lancet
However, according to this Wonkipaedia entry, it does contain flavonoids, which do nothing but good, and it is actually used by real, well-shod doctors against psoriasis and respiratory diseases and a host of other things.
The name is from Spanish zarzaparilla, “small bramble vine”.
Labels: Medicinal Roots