Saponaria officinalis


French = Saponaire,German = Seifenkraut,Spanish = Saponella,Italian = Saponaria,foam dock,gill-run-by-the-street saponary,dog cloves,fuller’s grass,Bouncing Bet.Saponaria Officinalis,L. Soapwort,Scourwort,Fuller's Herb,Old Maid's Pink,Hedge Pink,Sweet Betty,Wild Sweet William,Lady-by-the-Gate,London Pride,Soaproot,Latherwort,Bruisewort,Crow Soap,Sweet Betty,Lady's-washbowl, Latherwort.


       The leaves, stems and roots, when bruised, release a mucilaginous juice and a substance called saponin which produces suds in water. Soapwort was used during pioneer days, to launder delicate fabrics and in the making of fine soaps. The early American colonists used the handy suds to clean everything from handmade lace to pewter vessels. New England textile workers cleaned and thickened newly woven cloth with soapwort - a process called "fulling", which accounts for one SOapworts' folk names, 'fuller's-herb'.

Generations of farmers' wives have subbed with "Bouncing Bet" roots, when they ran out of soap on wash day. In the old days, they pounded the roots on a board and let the saponins run into the wash water.
Soapwort is nicknamed "Bouncing Bette" because a pioneer called Betty was travelling across new terrain, and it was a tradition to leave some gift to other travellers who might come across a camp. Betty had no gifts, but she broke apart her Soapwort plants, which she used for travel soap, and planted stem cuttings for others to find.

Soapwort was used as a laundry powder/cleaner in pioneer days. It actually creates a cleansing soap and when the ladies were washing the clothes they would go break a branch of soapwort to use to clean the clothing. The Pennsylvania Dutch used the lather to give beer a foaming head, and it is still commercially in use. Everywhere Betty camped she left an abundance of new soapwort plants. Over time the plant became known as the “Bouncing Betty” plant in her honor for planting everywhere she camped before bouncing to a new location.*

*   Bouncing Betty




The herb has been used for:
Acne, As a shampoo, Boils, Constipation, Dandruff, Gout, Intestinal problems, Jaundice, Rheumatism, Skin problems, including psoriasis (scaly, raised skin patches)and eczema (a type of skin inflammation),Skin reactions caused by syphilis Poison Ivy;alterative,antiscrophulatic**,cholagogue,depurative,diaphoretic,mildly diuretic,expectorant,purgative, tonic, kills cancer cells.


If you have been foolish enough to try Soapwort orally without first consulting a physician:   Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of soapwort:

nausea, upset stomach, vomiting
This herb also can cause: digestive tract ulcers, kidney damage, liver damage, nerve damage.

Are there any interactions?

Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you're taking.


Don't use soapwort if you're pregnant or breast-feeding.
Don't use high doses of this herb for more than 2 weeks because it may damage your digestive tract.
Most people can't or shouldn't use soapwort because ingesting it can cause toxic reactions and intense bowel evacuation.
Be aware that your health care practitioner may recommend periodic liver and kidney function tests while you're using soapwort.

Above info from: Womens Health Club


constituents:    Grieves Botanical

Seeds capabilities, re: tobacco leaf mosaic lesions4ribosome-inactivating protein( s)
RIP(s) type 1: See abstract as linked in Sources: "The amino acid composition of the proteins obtained from S. officinalis and from H. crepitans is shown in Table 4. These proteins all contain a relatively high amount of lysine, and those from S. officinalis have a very low content of cystine and a higher content of phenylalanine, as compared with the protein from H. crepitans and with other RIPs."

Link here to Companion Article

As part of a pledge toward cancer research, this page is lovingly devoted to the memory of

Jack Layton

Canadian NDP politician; Leader of the Official Opposition.

1950 - 2011


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