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Common Soapwort

Updated on April 18, 2011


Family: Caryophyllaceae


Vulgar names: soap, saponella, pink in bunches, conditioned, jasmine crazy savonea.


Etymology: the genus name Drive from the Latin word "sapo" = "soap and refers to the high content of saponins in these plants, which are foam like soap.


Perennial herb in appearance, provided with rhizome creeping, branched reddish-brown; Stems erect or ascending, glabrous or slightly pubescent, sometimes woody at the base. High up to 1 m. The stems are sterile or simple opposite leaves, oval, oblong, curved. The lower shortly petiolate, the upper sessile and opposite at nodes, covered with short hairs or glabrous, wrinkled on the edges, with 3 ribs detected. The pink flowers more or less intense, with 5 petals just bleed, calyx purplish, tubes and pubescent, buds are gathered in at the top of the stems. They give off a delicate fragrance, especially toward evening. The fruits are oblong-pyriform capsule containing many seeds blacks.


 Sometimes cultivated in gardens and gardens as a medicinal plant and ornamental plants, feral is found in meadows, ditches, along streams, in damp, shady or rocky. E 'spread from the lowlands to the highlands. 0000-1000 m.Giugno August


Properties and Uses


Known since ancient times, as well as saponin, a toxic glycoside, resin and contains vitamin C.


Use with caution and only on prescription.


Its properties are primarily purifying, diuretic, expectorant, tonic and sweat.


In medicine for internal use in gout and dermatitis, bronchial congestion, and jaundice.


Today it is rarely used because of its irritating effect on the digestive system. Excess destroys red blood cells, causing paralysis of the vasomotor centers.


For external use the decoction is useful in cases of dermatitis and skin affected by acne or psoriasis.


Although it is sometimes recommended as shampoos, can cause severe eye irritation.


The root and the dried leaves were used, before it was started commercial production of soap around the early nineteenth century, as a detergent for washing delicate items.


A decoction of soap, made by boiling the plant in different parts of the rain water is the ideal remedy to restore the splendor of lace, embroidery, silk fabrics and yarns, fabrics old whose colors have been dimmed by dust and time.


In the field of beauty


You can prepare an excellent shampoo for fragile hair. The high content of saponins, chemicals that have nothing in common with soap if not able to generate foam in contact with water, have earned the name for this plant that was used by the people as detergent. Its rhizome collected in autumn after flowering was used to wash the wool. The soap was also used to package toothpaste rudimentary.


Already used as soap by the Assyrians (VIII BC), five centuries before Christ was spoken of soap to remove grease from the wool that the nomadic peoples of Asia employed to weave their famous rugs.

Around 400 BC, the great physician Hippocrates mentioned treatment options allocated to the roots of soap "that is capable of purifying the body and give women a rose-colored skin, worthy of that of Venus."

Used by the ancient Roman thermal baths, in the past the Arab physicians employed in the treatment of leprosy.

In The Enlarged Physitian Inglese (1653) Nicholas Culpeper said that this plant is an excellent cure for syphilis. Its use in treating the symptoms of this disease and other sexually transmitted diseases was also recommended by Greve (A Modern Herbal 1931), especially in cases where he had failed treatment with mercury, used for about 400 years.

The soap is one strange phenomenon, completely opposite to what happens normally. In fact, usually the wild species are promoted to the role of cultivated plants, balconies and gardens come to decorate and sometimes end up disappearing from meadows and pastures, surviving only as decorative elements in nature.

The soap, however, at least in the European area, were originally imported to bring a touch of color in the secret gardens in the gardens of the castles or convents, cloisters of monasteries, and only then have become widespread and naturalized until invade the whole of our territory. It is found in the wild often the sites of the old woolen mills, where it was once cultivated for washing the fabric.


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    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Very interesting. I'd never heard of this flower before and am surprised at it's uses throughout history. It is a lovely looking flower and something I guess I should learn more about! Voted up and interesting.

    • profile image

      Fay Paxton 

      7 years ago

      I had a business making cosmetics with herbs. I made a soapwort soap that was very popular with the sauna crowd. I love these hubs.



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