These compounds give a permanent froth when shaken with water. They also cause hemolysis of red blood cells . Saponin glycosides are found in liquorice . Their medicinal value is due to their expectorant , and corticoid and anti-inflammatory effects. Steroid saponins, for example, in Dioscorea wild yam the sapogenin diosgenin —in form of its glycoside dioscin—is an important starting material for production of semi-synthetic glucocorticoids and other steroid hormones such as progesterone . The ginsenosides are triterpene glycosides and Ginseng saponins from Panax Ginseng C. A. Meyer, (Chinese ginseng ) and Panax quinquefolius ( American Ginseng ). In general, the use of the term saponin in organic chemistry is discouraged, because many plant constituents can produce foam , and many triterpene -glycosides are amphipolar under certain conditions, acting as a surfactant . More modern uses of saponins in biotechnology are as adjuvants in vaccines : Quil A and its derivative QS-21 , isolated from the bark of Quillaja saponaria Molina, to stimulate both the Th1 immune response and the production of cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) against exogenous antigens make them ideal for use in subunit vaccines and vaccines directed against intracellular pathogens as well as for therapeutic cancer vaccines but with the aforementioned side-effect of hemolysis . 
Saponins from the Gypsophila paniculata (baby’s breath) plant have been shown to significantly augment the cytotoxicity of immunotoxins and other targeted toxins directed against human cancer cells. The research groups of Professor Hendrik Fuchs ( Charité University, Berlin, Germany) and Dr David Flavell (Southampton General Hospital, United Kingdom) are working together toward the development of Gypsophila saponins for use in combination with immunotoxins or other targeted toxins for patients with leukaemia , lymphoma and other cancers .
Although it’s been consumed safely by indigenous populations for centuries, there are some potential side effects when using any herb. Only very rarely have side effects been reported, but it’s possible to experience signs of an allergic reaction or an upset stomach. If you take any medications or have sensitives to other herbs, speak with a doctor before using sarsaparilla. If you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid sarsaparilla since there haven’t been many studies showing it’s safe to be used during this time.