Although soapwort has a number of potential therapeutic benefits, it is mainly taken internally for its expectorant properties as a natural remedy for coughing, bronchitis, asthma caused by allergies and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract.
As well as its more common use, soapwort can also be used to help treat joint pain stemming from arthritis, rheumatism and gout. It has anti-inflammatory actions as well as being a mild diuretic which can help flush uric acid from your system.
Decoctions made from the herb’s roots have been used traditionally to treat a range of skin conditions such as eczema, acne,psoriasis and as a mouthwash to treat fungal infections in the mouth. The same decoction can be used for soothing allergic rashes and boils.
Soapwort can be used to treat rashes caused by poison ivyand as remedy for bruising and black eyes - make a poultice with the plant and apply it against the bruise.
Soapwort also enhances the production and excretion of bile from the liver and gallbladder and it has been used as a natural treatment for constipation and bile duct diseases.
Soapwort has mostly been used as a natural cleanser which can be used on the face, hair and even on your delicate laundry items. Soapwort is still used in this day and age by in the textile restoration industry to clean and brighten fragile fabric. In the Middle East, the plant is still cultivated to wash woolen items.
Making your own soapwort soap or shampoo at home is actually quite easy. It produces a dark yellow or light brown soap with a mild and pleasant aroma much like unscented soap with a hint of wood.
The saponins found in soapwort are the compounds responsible for its cleansing actions. If you are going to make your own soap with the plant, don’t expect big, sudsy bubbles that you would get from commercial soaps and shampoo. Despite its lack of bubbles, it is an excellent natural cleanser that does not irritate even the most sensitive skin
Soapwort which is known scientifically as Saponaria officinalis originated in Europe but has since spread to various other parts of the globe. It is a member of the caryophyllaceae family and other common names for the plant are Bouncing Bet, Sweet William, Fuller’s herb and Bruisewort.
As its common name suggests, soapwort is perhaps best known as a plant for making natural soaps and also for cleaning and brightening delicate fabrics. However nearly the entire soapwort plant contains a number of therapeutic properties including the treatment of respiratory issues like coughs and bronchitis.
Its main constituents are saponins and its roots and rhizomes are used medicinally and its leaves are used to produce natural soaps and shampoo.
Preparation: Put a teaspoon of soapwort into a 200ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it brew for 10 minutes. Strain and drink a cup 2-3 times per day.
Tea: An extract of soapwort for internal use can be made by adding two teaspoons of the herb to a glass of cold water and soak it overnight. After the extract has been strained it can be used in small doses divided throughout the day. Alternatively, one teaspoon of dried herb can be added to a cup of boiling water. Let the tea cool down completely with the herb inside and drink when it's cold!
For internal use, a daily dosage of soapwort should not exceed 1.5 grams of the dried herb.
Body and fabric soap: You can use soapwort root as a simple bath additive by crushing some dried root and putting a few tablespoons in a muslin bag. If you boil the root first to extract the juice, the results will be even better. Soapwort doesn't product much noticeable lather, but gives the bath water a slippery feel, and leaves skin feeling soft and smooth. Soapwort is a great herb to use for skin and hair care and forms the basis of conditioning shampoos and body washes.
Precaution: Soapwort should never be consumed in a large dosage or over a long period of time because the saponin content of the herb can cause hemolysis, and severe irritation of the digestive tract resulting in cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Still, the saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and furthermore, they are broken down by thorough boiling so poisoning in humans occurs rarely. Not for use for pregnant and breastfeeding women!
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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