Soapwort has flowers which are normally white or/and pink and are known to grow in groups. The aerial parts of these herbs are usually cultivated during the night time while the roots are planted during fall. Interestingly, soapwort is a common herb with a soapy consistency as the name suggests. It is used as a laundry agent and for so many years, has functioned as a washing agent to clean fabrics. It also serves as an effective cure for diseases such as jaundice. People also use the herb for its expectorant properties as it is effective for the treatment of certain health issues such as coughs and chest congestions.
Soapwort contains certain compounds, including thujone, resin, menthol, azulenes, camphor, and bisabolol.
The Health Benefits of Soapwort
Soapwort contains an impressive range of health benefits. Let’s take a look at the top five.
Treats Coughs and Common Cold
The herb is believed to contain expectorant properties and so is possibly an effective cure for health issues such as cold and coughs. Soapwort helps to release phlegm and hence, resolving issues like chest congestions. While soapwort contains a host of potential therapeutic benefits, it is majorly used internally for its expectorant abilities as a natural remedy for coughs as well as bronchitis.
Although it is not clear why it works for respiratory issues, a possible explanation is that the herb is able to irritate the gut and alimentary canal, thereby stimulating a coughing reaction. In fact, it induces the secretion of liquid mucus in the respiratory system. Due to its expectorant capabilities, soapwort is commonly recommended as a natural remedy for asthma, coughs, and bronchitis caused by allergies.
Maintains Skin Health
Soapwort root is used to prepare which contains a number of compounds that help inhibit as well as treat a host of skin issues, including acne, eczema, psoriasis, and other skin infections. In fact, this decoction can be effective for soothing allergic boils and rashes. In addition to the root, you can make infusions from other parts of soapwort to cleanse the skin and treat irritations. As a matter of fact, soapwort can be used to treat black eyes, bruises, as well as rashes resulting from poison ivy.
Possesses Anti-inflammatory Properties
Soapwort is also believed to be an effective treatment for inflammations both internally and externally. The herb helps to treat the symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis as well. Soapwort can also be used to treat joint pain caused by gout, arthritis, and rheumatism. It contains anti-inflammatory properties and is a mild diuretic which can facilitate the removal of uric acid from the body.
Acts as a Mild Cleaner
The compounds known as saponins present in soapwort are the reason for its cleansing abilities. When the roots of soapwort are boiled, they can act as a mild cleaner. This is why it is used in the cleaning of fabrics as well as the various parts of the body. In fact, soapwort is commonly used as a natural cleanser on the hair, face, and even to brighten delicate fabrics. You can actually prepare your own soapwort shampoo or soap at home. It may not produce bubbles like commercial shampoo and soaps but it is a potent natural cleanser that does not irritate even the most sensitive skin. It has a hint of wood but a mild and pleasant aroma similar to that of unscented soaps.
Has Diuretic Properties
Soapwort possesses diuretic properties, which makes it effective in the detoxification process. This herb can help stimulate urination, making it effective for flushing excess toxins substances out of the body.
How to Use Soapwort
- The decoction made from soapwort contains an action which is similar to soaps and so acts as a body cleanser.
- Soapwort root can be dried and stored as well as consumed in various ways.
Side Effects and Precautions
When soapwort used to make soap, it is a natural, mild cleanser that is good for your skin. However, like it was mentioned earlier, soapwort contains a compound called saponins that if taken in excess, can become harmful to the body. So, it is not advisable to use soapwort internally as the saponins in it may become toxic when taken in large doses or on a regular basis for a long period of time. Some of the side effects include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.
Dosage and Use
Traditionally, soapwort was used internally to cure rheumatism and arthritis but due to its saponins content, its use is now discouraged as it may prove toxic in large doses.
However, to prevent side effects, you can make a soapwort extract by soaking two teaspoons of cut, dried soapwort rhizomes in a cup of cold water over the night. You can then drain the mixture by morning and take it in very small doses all day.
Another option is to incorporate a teaspoon of the dried soapwort into a cup of boiling water. After allowing it to cool, you can drink up.
The Bottom Line
As its name implies, soapwort is a plant with a lot of soapy consistency. The herb belongs to the clove family and is commonly considered an invasive species. Thankfully, soapwort possesses certain practical effects and is used to make cleansers, soaps, and shampoo. In addition, it is used for medicinal purposes.
The root and leaves of the soapwort plant are commonly used to make a natural soap that is rich in the compound saponins. The herb can also be used to make a natural shampoo as well. However, it is advisable to take precautions so it does not get into the eyes. Although currently, the internal use of the plant is not encouraged due to its possible side effects but historically, soapwort has been used to effectively treat a number of illnesses. In addition, a decoction prepared from soapwort’s roots can be helpful in topically treating skin blemishes, dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema as well as other skin conditions.
Having said all these, it is advisable to consult with your doctor before considering the use of any herbal remedy, including soapwort.