Word Origin & History

tropical American plant, 1577, from Sp. zarzaparrilla, from zarza "bramble" (from Arabic sharas "thorny plant" or Basque sartzia "bramble") + parrilla, dim. of parra "vine," of unknown origin. In 16c.-17c. the dried roots were held to be efficient in treatment of syphilis.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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