Articles - SoapwortCommon Name: SOAPWORT, BOUNCING BET
Scientific Name: Saponaria officinalis
This hardy, herbaceous perennial bears pretty pink/white lightly-scented flowers in summer until autumn. It grows in full sun/semi-shade. It will tolerate any soil, but if the soil is too rich in nutrients, Soapwort growth will be too rapid and difficult to control. Avoid planting it near fish ponds – it has creeping rhizomes which excrete a poison in wet soil that is harmful to fish. Cut back after flowering to tidy up the garden and prevent self seeding - This will also encourage new growth.
A natural lather can be made from the leaves, stems, flowers and roots. When boiled in water it releases saponins and produces a slippery substance which has the power to lift grease and dirt.
Soapwort was once used in the wool industry for cleaning new wool. Museums still use it to lift surface dirt gently from fragile antique textiles and paintings. It is a good cleaning product for delicate silk garments, upholstery and tapestries.
Simmer a pot of soapwort leaves, flowers, stems and roots (optional) in enough water to cover, for 20 minutes. Stand for 30 min. and strain. Use this as a treatment and anti-inflammatory for dry itchy skin conditions, eczema, rashes, allergy areas, insect bites, sunburn, heat rash, nappy rash, grazes, scratches and for a sensitive skin.
10 fresh soapwort stems with leaves each 15-20cm. long, 850ml water.
Herb alternatives -
Add 10 leaves of fresh pepper-mint/spearmint, 1 sprig fresh rosemary, 3 leaves of fresh sage.
Add 10 leaves of fresh chamomile/sweet marjoram leaves and 1 sprig fresh rosemary.
You can use soapwort on its own or combine it with other herbs for your hair type. Roughly chop the fresh stems, cover it with water in a saucepan, cover, bring it to boil and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove, cool and strain through a fine sieve/piece of muslin. Store the shampoo solution out of direct light for up to 1 week. Use this to wash your freshly shampooed hair. It will also revitalize permed, dyed, bleached and heat-damaged hair.