Sarsaparilla grows throughout the US, often close to water sources. It is a low-growing creeping vine plant from which comes a nutritionally and medicinally beneficial root. Several native peoples in the United States used it as a strong tea or decoction in the treatment of coughs as well as a general spring cleanser. It was also used as food in times of great hunger. Though there are several different types worldwide, in the south it grows widely. It is also used as an anti-syphilitic.