Saponaria: The Herb Nature Provides Us as Soap!

(Photo: Wikipedia/ part of

Nature truly provide us with virtually everything. And many things not provided from nature are definitely from humans inspired by nature! Our natural environment is in the wild and not in the cities – it is scientifically proven that our emotions are improved by spending time in nature. Some countries provide medical prescriptions for a vacation in the countryside or activities in the wild for mental illnesses such as depression.

There, in the woods, people can discover how things in modern society are interconnected, like hygiene products such as shampoos and soaps with plants! If you are looking riversides in North America, Europe, and Asia, you could find common soapwort (Saponaria officinalis).

The discovery of its use happened randomly when a woman was doing “laundry in the past” by the riverside and accidently rubbed the clothes with this little perennial herb. Bubbles started to appear, and clothes were clean as never before! Saponaria has a great amount of saponin substances, which do not just make bubbles but have cleaning and antiseptic properties.

Saponaria is used for washing delicate fabrics and making pharmaceutical soaps. All parts of the plant contain ‘soap ingredient’ and ‘Saponaria’ is derived for the word ‘sapon’ or σάπων, which in ancient Greek means ‘sapouni’ (soap).

The species officinalis means pharmaceutical in Latin. You can boil three cups of dried Saponaria in 1 litre of water for 10 minutes and use it as soap water externally for helping skin problems like eczema, acne, or dry hair.

* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.

Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD Candidate in Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication