Soapwort is easy to grow – in fact, it is rather invasive and aggressive. It is steadily winning against the mint that I planted in the same pot as an experiment to see who was stronger! It is also important to keep in mind that the very same properties that make soapwort a useful plant can also cause harm if you plant it too close to water features or ponds. The saponins in the plant can kill fish and other water creatures, but the saponins are what make this beautiful plant so wonderful!
Saponins are the part of the plant chemistry that create a soap-like cleaning action. Soapwort does not produce big bubbles like one might come to expect from soap, but the gentle soapwort infusion is a truly effective cleanser that doesn’t irritate the skin.
Harvest the tops, stems, and roots of soapwort. The whole plant works, and since it is such a quick grower, don’t be afraid to just continually harvest parts throughout the spring and summer when the flowers are blooming. Dry the plants and use them throughout the fall and winter as well.
Soapwort shampoo is a gentle cleanser for sensitive skin and dry hair. It cleans enough to leave you squeaky and fresh, but it does not strip all of the good and necessary oils away. People with chronic acne, psoriasis, or other sore skin problems can generally use soapwort infusion to clean without issues.
Simple Soapwort Shampoo
Here’s how you can make shampoo and body wash from either fresh or dried soapwort!
- 3 tablespoons fresh soapwort or 1 tablespoon dried
- 1 cup water
- Boil the water and add the soapwort leaves.
- Cover the pan and turn it down to a simmer for fifteen minutes.
- Let everything cool off.
- Strain the infusion through a clean kitchen towel or cheesecloth into a jar or bottle.
- That’s it!
Give the jar or bottle a good shake to bring out the bubbles and pour it in your wet hair while you shower. Use your fingertips to massage your scalp. Soapwort infusion is not as bubbly as regular shampoo, but you’ll notice your hair is squeaky clean when you rinse.
You can also add any of the following herbs for skin and hair to the pot with the soapwort:
- Rose Petals
- Hibiscus (red hair)
- Chamomile (fair hair)
- Rosemary (dark hair)
You can follow it up with a vinegar rinse, or use any of the above herbs brewed as tea for a conditioning rinse.
Soapwort Shampoo with Lemon and Catnip
Lemon Verbena for a citrus fragrance and catnip to promote healthy hair growth.
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried soapwort root (chopped) (most health food stores would carry this)
- 2 teaspoons Lemon Verbena and/or 2 teaspoons Catnip
Bring water to a boil add soapwort and simmer, cover for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, add herbs then allow mixture to cool. Strain the mixture keeping the liquid. Pour into a bottle. Makes enough for 6-7 shampoos. Must be used within 8-10 days. Store in a cool dark place.
- Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
- Plantain (Plantago major)
This sweet-smelling balm soothes and protects cuts and scrapes. And it’s so gentle you can even use it on diaper rash. Calendula and plantain are known for their ability to speed skin healing. Both soften skin, relieve pain, and are antibacterial.
First make an herb-infused oil. In a large glass jar, combine the following:
- 2 tablespoons crushed Calendula flowers
- 2 tablespoons dried Plantain leaves
- 1/3 c of extra-virgin olive oil
Leave uncovered, and place in a pan filled with enough water to cover the lower half of the jar. Set the burner on very low heat and simmer gently for about 4 hours. Check the oil periodically to be sure it’s not scorching; don’t let it boil. (You can also make the infused oil in a Crock-Pot set on very low without a lid.) After the allotted time, remove the oil from the heat and allow it to cool completely. Strain away the herbs through several layers of cheesecloth and discard.
To make the balm, combine the following:
- The oil you just infused
- 1 or 2 tablespoon of grated beeswax
Put it into a small stainless steel bowl; set the bowl into a pot of water and heat just until the beeswax melts, stirring gently to help the melting. To test the consistency, insert a cool metal spoon into the balm and check the balm that sticks to the spoon; it should be spreadable but firm. If it’s too oily, add another few shavings of beeswax.
At this point, you can add a natural preservative to your balm to prevent spoilage. Vitamin E, squeezed from capsules, works very well. Rosemary extracts or oil might improve the aroma and antiseptic properties as well. You’ll need about 1/4 tsp. (two capsules) to preserve this much balm. After you’ve blended in the vitamin E, transfer your final product to a sterile glass jar. Use a clean spoon or small spatula to transfer the balm to avoid introducing bacteria to the jar.
How to use it:
Apply the balm to rashes, scrapes, and other small or superficial abrasions (don’t use it on deep cuts). You can also apply it regularly to help heal chronically chapped skin. Stored in a cool, dark place, the balm should keep for up to a year. Discard if it smells rancid.
A good healing tea is made as follows:
- A pinch of peppermint
- A pinch of powdered ginger
- A pinch of clove powder or 2 bruised cloves
- One cup water
To prepare the tea:
Boil the water but do not use an aluminum kettle. Pour water into a mug or pot leaving herbs to steep for at least five minutes, but don’t leave for longer than ten minutes or the tea may become bitter. For stronger tea, use more herb rather than steeping the tea for a longer time. Sweeten with honey if desired.
For pain, soak cloths in ginger tea and apply them directly to the painful areas.
To prepare the tea, chop the ginger root into small pieces. Use approximately one to three teaspoons of herb per cup of boiling water. Ginger is very strong, so if you have never used it before, start with the lesser amount of herb. Boil water but do not use an aluminum kettle. Pour water into a mug or pot leaving herbs to steep for at least five minutes, but don’t leave for longer than ten minutes or the tea may become bitter. For stronger tea, use more herb rather than steeping the tea for a longer time.
The following herbs are said to be good for pregnancy and childbirth:
This is one of the few plant sources of vitamin K (necessary for blood clotting). It also contains eight digestive enzymes, numerous trace minerals and high quantities of vitamins A, D and E.
This is a great calming agent and helps with digestive disorders including nausea. It also has some anti-inflammatory properties.
These contain high levels of calcium, iron and protein, and is an excellent herb for nourishing mothers who are feeling depleted.
This is high in calcium and magnesium. It also calms nervous stress and tension, and is an effective remedy for yeast infections.
- Red Raspberry Leaf
This is an herb rich in numerous vitamins and minerals, especially iron. It also nourishes the uterus, soothes nausea, helps prevent miscarriage, eases labor pains and builds a healthy breast milk supply.
- Rose Hips
These are a great source of vitamin C and help fight infection and exhaustion.
Here’s a recipe for a Hot Toddy
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice (or orange, grapefruit and lemon juice combined)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1/4 cup bourbon
Add the spices to the juice and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil, pour into a cup and add the honey. Add the bourbon. Inhale the steam and sip very slowly.
Makes 1 cup.
To get rid of warts, take a slice of apple.
While looking at the New Moon, rub the flesh side of the apple against your wart and say:
What I see is growing
What I rub is going.
Bury the piece of apple or throw it away. As it rots, the wart will disappear.
From Moon Magick
For great shine and lusty luster, make a pumpkin hair mask by mixing together one cup of pumpkin with one-half cup plain yogurt and one tablespoon of honey. Mush it into your scalp and out to the ends of your hair and wrap your head with a shower cap or towel; let sit for up to 30 minutes. Cleanse hair as usual.
Found at: Treehugger
- 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- t teaspoon honey
- a whole egg.
Mix the ingredients until smooth and apply to face. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse, and pat dry.
Found at: Treehugger
Put pumpkin’s alpha hydroxy acids to work. Combine 1/4 cup pumpkin puree with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar and a whole egg. Mix the ingredients until smooth and apply to face. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse, and pat dry.
Found at: Treehugger
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