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.