Saponaria officinalis

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Soap flower medical

Soap washes and cleans. Thus, the effect of this herb related could be briefly described
(genus and appearance) carnations. Its rhizome, in which the active substances are contained the most, You can collect from the beginning of September until the end of November - so it's high time to go!

Soap can be found on loose, moist, fertilized soils. Often they are the banks of streams and rivers, ditches along the roads, weeds, borders, bushes. It likes sunny or only partially shaded locations, it grows from the lowlands to the foothills (max. 680 m above sea level). This perennial herb is 25 to 80 cm tall. The stem is straight, rough, often colored red or light purple. The leaves grow opposite, sessile, the lower ones are shortly petiolate, pointed, oblong or elliptical, narrowed in the petiole and entire. We can usually clearly see three parallel veins on each leaf.

At the upper end of the stem is a multiple inflorescence - vidlan. The flowers measure 20 to 25 mm in diameter and grow from a tubular calyx of pale green color, which is colored light purple at the top. Five-pointed flowers are white to light pink. Soap flowers bloom throughout the summer, from June to October.

We will be most interested in the brown, six to thirteen millimeter thick rhizome from which they grow
hairy roots. The rhizomes are markedly aromatic and contain a high concentration of saponins. In addition to saponins, soap also contains carbohydrates, resins, mucilages, rubber and mineral acids. The rhizomes are collected from two- to three-year-old plants, best excavated between September and November, or early spring (March to April). Sometimes the stem is collected, which contains the same substances, but in smaller quantities. The stem is collected at the beginning of flowering. After washing with cold water, the rhizomes are dried in a well-ventilated place, either in the sun or in a dryer at temperatures up to 60 ° C.

Saponins are substances which, when dissolved in water and subsequently shaken, form a foam. Chemically, these are carbohydrate derivatives. It contains not only soaps, but also many other plants, such as legumes, yams or the tree soap, from which fruits, so-called soap nuts, are used. Saponins have an active effect on the human body, sometimes in large quantities negatively (such as foxglove digoxins), sometimes very positively (such as ginsenosides from ginseng). According to scientists, some of them may prevent the absorption of excessive amounts of cholesterol or reduce the risk of cancer.

The ancient Romans used soap to soften water, degrease wool, wash and wash, and this
they spread their knowledge on their expeditions throughout Europe. In the Middle Ages, it was also a recognized medicinal herb. In the Middle East, it is still commonly used as a cleanser and as a medicinal herb with healing effects on skin diseases such as eczema, acne, psoriasis, but also those that accompany venereal diseases. Because of these properties, as well as its alleged ability to excrete toxic substances from the body and mitigate the effects of various intoxications, American shakers grew medical soap on their farms in the 19th century.

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Due to the fact that saponins dilute mucus in inflamed bronchi and at the same time have an antifungal and antibacterial effect, soap has traditionally been used especially for bronchitis. The soap decoction was also drunk for various skin problems (including chronic ones), for blocked lymphatic vessels, for jaundice, gout, rheumatism, asthma, for diseases of the liver, spleen and intestines, and for laryngeal obstruction.

At present, internal use is not highly recommended because some sources claim that it can be toxic in large quantities and cause muscle paralysis. In smaller doses, however (unless a person is hypersensitive to the substances contained) does not harm, it is still used, for example, in the production of toothpastes or as part of a sesame halva, a sweet oriental delicacy.

The extract is prepared from one to two tablespoons of dried drug, which is poured into a liter of boiling water and infused for 15 minutes. The resulting solution is used on inflamed wounds or antirheumatic dressings are prepared from it. This extract can also be used as a lotion, which is also suitable for cleansing pregnant skin, or as a natural shampoo.

And I must not forget to mention the possibility of using soap extract as a soap or laundry
the means by which the herb got its name. Nowadays, this is too much
it is not used, only when something is needed that cleans and washes, but very, very gently - for example, when restoring delicate old wallpaper or clothing.

The soap's ability to form foam was also used in the brewing of beer. You can add its flowers to vegetable salads in spring. Or grow it and just look at the flowers and enjoy how they decorate your garden with their tender beauty.

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