Soapwort ✿ Saponaria officinalis ✿ Cleanses and Soothes Sensitive Skin ✿ Seeds
1. Cleanses and Soothes Sensitive Skin
Soapwort contains compounds called saponins that can be combined with water to create a foaming, lathery skin wash that is generally non-irritating and non-drying, even when used on delicate skin.
Saponins are a class of bitter chemical compounds found in various plant species (herbs, seeds, grains and vegetables, for example) that research suggests may have benefits including killing harmful bacteria and parasites, supporting healthy cholesterol levels, fighting oxidative stress and inhibiting tumor growth. The roots of the plant have high levels of saponins compared to other plants, which is what allows soapwort wash to lather so well. Soapwort can be applied directly to the skin on an ongoing basis to treat chronic skin conditions. “Soapwort juice” is another way to describe soapwort wash, which can help treat skin conditions including: dryness, itchy skin rashes, acne, psoriasis, eczema and boils.
At least twelve different triterpenoid saponins have been isolated from the roots of Saponaria officinalis L., including vaccaroside, dianchinenoside and saponarioside C. Saponins are also found in other skin-saving herbs, such as calendula, although studies show that soapwort contains even higher amounts.
2. Fights Respiratory Infections
As a healing herb, soapwort has traditionally been used to treat swollen airways and respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, coughs and inflammation of the lungs that leads to trouble breathing. While there’s limited research showing how it works to support respiratory health, it’s believed that the plant contains chemicals that may thin mucus, making it easier to cough up and remove from the body.
3. Helps to Cleanse Hair
The leaf, roots and stem of the soapwort plant can be boiled to make a mild shampoo that removes grease/oil and residue from the hair. While it’s usually non-irritating, some people may experience dryness or redness on the scalp when using soapwort shampoo, so it’s best to first test your reaction to soapwort shampoo by only using a small amount every other day or so. Other ingredients that can be added to soapwort shampoo to cleanse and nourish hair include: tea tree oil, honey, frankincense oil, lemon oil, lavender oil and coconut oil.
4. Acts As a Natural Detergent (Including for Wool, Fleece and Lace)
Soapwort can be used to make a frothy liquid that helps to cleanse delicate fabrics, such as wool and fleece, without ruining them. It does this by retaining some of the natural lanolin found on wool. Some also use soapwort to waterproof wool and fleece, making them more resilient to damage caused by water exposure.