Family • Liliaceae - Smilax bracteata Presl. - SARSAPARILLA VINE - Yuan zhui ba qian

Scientific names

Smilax bracteata Presl.
Smilax pseudochina Blanco
Smilax divaricata Blanco
Smilax blancoi Kunth
Smilax indica Naves

Common names

Banag (Ilk., Tag., Ig.) Hampas-tigbalang (Bis.)
Banagan (Bis.) Kolot-babui (Tag.)
Banal (Ig.) Romas (Pamp.)
Barag (Pamp.) Sarsaparilla vine (Engl.)
Kamagsa-obat (Tag.) Yuan zhui ba qian (Chin.)


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) New Phenolic Constituents from Smilax bracteata / Shu Yuan Li, Hiroyuki Fuchino et al / J. Nat. Prod., 2002, 65 (3), pp 262–266 / DOI: 10.1021/np010338m

(2) Chemical constituents of Smilax bracteata / XIONG Cheng-qi,ZHANG Hong-sheng,KANG Li-ping,Tan Da-wei,ZHAO Yang,MA Bai-ping / (Institute of Radiation Medicine, Military Medical Sciences, 2011-02

Gen info
Similar is a genus of about 300 to 500 species, found in temperate, tropics and subtropic zones worldwide.

Banag is a climbing woody vine reaching a height of several meters with stems armed with few to many stout spines. Leaves are elliptic to oblong-ovate, 8 to 13 centimeters long, the base broadly rounded or slightly cordate, and the apex shortly and abruptly acuminate. Umbels are many flowered, about 2 centimeters in diameter. Flowers are fragrant, greenish-yellow, and about 5 millimeters long. Berries are globose, 5 to 8 millimeters in diameter, black when mature.


– In thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes in Benguet, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Rizal, Bataan, Laguna and Quezon Provinces in Luzon.

– Methanolic extract from rhizomes yielded six new phenolic compounds: (2S,3S)-5-O-β-d-glucopyranosyloxy-6-methyl-3‘-methoxy-3,7,3‘-trihydroxyflavan, (2S,3S)-5-O-β-d-glucopyranosyloxy-6-methyl-4‘-methoxy-3,7,4‘-trihydroxyflavan, 3β-(3‘,5‘-dihydroxyphenyl) 2α-(4‘‘-hydroxyphenyl)dihydrobenzofuran-5-carbaldehyde, (1-p-O-coumaroyl-6-O-feruroyl)-β-d-fructofuranosyl-α-d-glucopyranoside, (1-p-O-coumaroyl-3,6-di-O-feruroyl)-β-d-fructofuranosyl-α-d-glucopyranoside, and (6-O-feruroyl)-β-d-fructofuranosyl-(6-O-acetyl)-α-d-glucopyranoside.
– Rhizomes yielded five compounds: 5,7-dihydroxy-chromone-3-O-α-L-rhamnopyranoside, resveratrol, astilbin, neoisoastilbin,catechin, respectively.


Depurative, emmenagogue.

Parts used
Rhizomes, roots.

– In the Visayas, decoction of fresh or dry rhizomes used as emmenagogue.
– Decoction of rhizomes and roots used as depurative.
– Rhizomes used for rheumatism.
– Decoction of roots or bark used by the Higanon tribe in Mindanao to relieve and prevent muscle pains or over fatigue in women after childbirth.

Study Findings
• Phenolic Compounds: Study of methanol extract of Smilax bracteana rhizomes yielded six new phenolic compounds with five other known compounds.
• Antioxidant / Radical Scavenging Activity: Ethanolic extract yielded six phenylpropanoid glycosides – smilasides G-L along with four known phenylpropanoid compounds and 14 known phenolic compounds. Compounds 1-6 exhibited moderate scavenging activities against DPPH radicals.