Sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.) is a vine native to tropical America and the West Indies. The roots of the sarsaparilla plant have been used in traditional Chinese cultures, and root extracts are commonly used as flavor components for root beer and other foods. Sarsaparilla is a source of saponins and phytosterols, such as sitosterol and stigmasterol 1. Sarsaparilla extract is approved for use as a natural flavoring substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) 2.