Sarsaparilla contains a wealth of plant chemicals thought to have a beneficial effect on the human body. Chemicals known as saponins might help reduce joint pain and skin itching, and also kill bacteria. Other chemicals may be helpful in reducing inflammation and protecting the liver from damage. It is important to note that human studies for these claims are either very old or lacking. The studies referenced below used the individual active components in this plant, individual cell studies, or mice studies. While the results are very intriguing, human studies are needed to support the claims.