Herb: Bristly Sarsaparilla

Latin name: Aralia hispida

Family: Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)

Medicinal use of Bristly Sarsaparilla:

A tea made from the leaves is diaphoretic. The root is alterative and tonic. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of heart diseases. The bark, and especially the root bark, is diuretic and tonic. A homeopathic remedy is made from the fresh root. It has alterative, diaphoretic and diuretic properties and is considered to be a good treatment for dropsy.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

May to


Habitat of the herb:

Rocky or sandy sterile soils, Alberta to Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

Edible parts of Bristly Sarsaparilla:

A tea is made from the roots. The roots are also used for making "root beer".

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as ripe in a cold frame. Stored seed requires 3 - 5 months of cold stratification. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 4 months at 20C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Once the plants are 25cm or more tall, they can be planted out into their permanent positions, late spring or early summer being the best time to do this. Root cuttings 8cm long, December in a cold frame. Store the roots upside down in sand and pot up in March/April. High percentage. Division of suckers in late winter. Very easy, the suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions if required.

Cultivation of Bristly Sarsaparilla:

Rocky or sandy sterile soils, Alberta to Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Quebec.

Known hazards of Aralia hispida:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.