Latin name: Hemidesmus indicus R. Br. (Asclepiadaceae)
Sanskrit/Indian name: Anantamul, Sariva
Hemidesmus indicus, Indian sarsaparilla, is a species of plant that is found in South Asia. It is a slender, laticiferous, twining, sometimes prostrate or semi-erect shrub. Roots are woody and aromatic. The stem is numerous, slender, terete, thickened at the nodes. The leaves are opposite, short-petioled, very variable, elliptic-oblong to linear-lanceolate. The flowers are greenish outside, purplish inside, crowded in sub-sessile axillary cymes. It is occurs over the greater part of India, from the upper Gangetic plain eastwards to Assam and in some places in central, western and South India. The root is a substitute for sarsaparilla (the dried root of the tropical species of Smilax, Smilacaceae; in India Smilax aspera L., and Smilax ovalifolia Roxb.). It should be distinguished from American Sarsaparilla Smilax aristolochaefolia Mill. and Jamaican Sarsaparilla Smilax ornata Hook.f.