This family (Smilacaceae) commonly known as the Catbrier Family consists of 12 genera and 225 species of lianas or climbers and a few herbs and shrubs. The family is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions and in the North Temperate Zone. Native American used Sawbrier thorns to scratch areas of pain and for muscular cramps, twitching and rheumatism. An infusion (medicine prepared by steeping thin plant parts without boiling) was taken for stomach trouble and a root decoction (medicine prepared by boiling thick plant parts) was taken to expel the afterbirth. Wilted leaves were applied to boils, and dried powdered leaves were used for scales. The 1998 edition of the Physicians’ Desk Reference for Herbal Medicines reports that preparations of roots from plants in this genus (Smilax) are used for skin diseases, psoriasis, rheumatic complaints, kidney disease and as a diuretic and diaphoretic (promote perspiration).