As the name suggests, soapwort is also used to make a natural soap. Although you may instantly think of hand soap, soapwort is used more as a cleansing solution, which is made by boiling the entire plant or simply making an infusion in warm water and allowing the water to foam up. Soapwort solution is known to be a gentle cleanser, and it is preferred over many harsh chemical soaps for cleaning delicate fabrics and even hair. Some people use this solution as a shampoo, often adding other herbs like chamomile or lavender for scent. Historically, soapwort root was used as an herbal remedy for gout, rheumatism and skin conditions. But it should not be taken internally since it can be poisonous. It is known to destroy red blood cells and can be harmful in large doses. Soapwort is sometimes applied topically for itchy skin, though, including eczema and even poison ivy. The plant can be propagated by root division as well as seeds.
Growing Information: Soapwort grows in temperate climates, and so it is used to temperature fluctuations. The seeds may need these fluctuations to germinate. So it is a good idea to start the seeds in warm temperatures for 2 weeks before giving them 8 weeks of cold and then ultimately placing them back into warm temperatures. You can do this by sowing the seeds 1/8” deep in a container and placing it at room temperature. Keep the soil moist but not wet. Most potting soils should suffice since soapwort is not picky. But a mix of sand and humus is ideal. If you do not see sprouts within the initial two weeks, place your container in the fridge for 8 weeks. Or if it is spring, you can move the seeds outdoors and let the temps rise naturally. After the 8-week cold period, the seeds should be ready to go back into warm temps for sprouting. Soapwort prefers full sun to partial shade. Plants should be spaced about a foot apart. Soapwort is considered hardy in zones 5-10.
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