"disease characterized by eruptive sores," late 15c., spelling alteration of pockes (late 13c. in this sense), plural of pocke "pustule" (see pock (n.)). Especially (after c. 1500) of syphilis.
tropical American plant, also its root used as a medicinal preparation, 1570s, from Spanish zarzaparrilla, from zarza "bramble" (from Arabic sharas "thorny plant" or Basque sartzia "bramble") + parrilla, diminutive of parra "vine," which is of unknown origin.
In 16c.-17c. the dried roots were held to be efficient in treatment of syphilis. From mid-19c. applied to a sweet soft drink made with the root extract (originally with suggestion of medicinal benefit).