In ancient times, women used the soaproot plant to wash clothes, especially wool ones. It is usually employed in external use for skin and hair care.
Soaproot Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Bouncing bet, bruisewort, dog cloves, old maids’ pink, soapwort.
- French: Saponaire.
- Spanish: Saponaria.
- Environment: Common on roadsides and slopes of humid regions all over Europe and North America.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Cariofilaceae family, growing from 30 to 60 cm high, with upright stem and large rhizome. It has pink flowers with a pleasant aroma.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The whole plant.
Healing Properties and Warning
The whole plant, mainly its root and rhizome, contains a saponin called saporrubine, with expectorant, diuretic, cholagogue, and depurative properties. The saponins can dissolve fats into the water, producing foam.
Its most important action is the expectorant because of the ability to make the bronchial secretions more fluid. However, being effective with respiratory afflictions, given its toxicity when internally used, it has been substituted with more safe plants. In external application, it is helpful to combat skin eczema and rashes and for washing delicate hair.
WARNING! Do not exceed the recommended dose for internal use since this plant may produce poisoning.
How to use Soaproot
- Decoction with 15 g per liter of water. Drink up to two cups daily, sweetened with honey.
- Lotions or compresses soaked in a decoction more concentrated than the one internally used.
- Poultices with sliced leaves and/or roots.
- Hair washing, with a decoction of 20 g per liter of water.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 333. Print. [soaproot plant]