Saponaria officinalis L.
Carnation family – Caryophyllaceae
What does it look like? Perennial herb 30-100 cm tall. Stems are straight, bare or short-hairy, knotty. The leaves are oval-lanceolate, opposite, pointed, with three longitudinal veins. The flowers are collected in a shield-shaped panicle, on short peduncles, white or pale pink, fragrant. Blooms in June – August.
Where does it grow? Throughout the territory of Ukraine, with the exception of the Polygon Steppe, in shrubs, on floodplain meadows of the steppe and forest-steppe zones, in riverside rushes, on the sandy shores of lakes, on forest glades and forest edges, in neglected flower gardens, sometimes as an ornamental plant.
What and when are collected? Rhizomes and roots, late autumn.
When is it used? As a diuretic, somewhat diaphoretic and expectorant, it thins out sputum, because soapwort contains saponins (saporubrin – about 5% in the roots), triterpene hypsogenin, flavone glycoside (in the herb) saponarin; to improve metabolism and blood purification in skin diseases — eczema, psoriasis, furunculosis (tetanus). Large doses cause coughing, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, central nervous system agitation, convulsions, respiratory paralysis, and sometimes death.
It is used as a decoction. Take 1 teaspoon of crushed root for 1 glass of water, boil for 15 minutes and drink 3-4 glasses a day.
It is used for gastrointestinal diseases (constipation), diseases of the kidneys, liver and spleen. (Also with infectious diseases, jaundice, rheumatism).
Used against dropsy (ascites). Before cooking, finely chopped roots are soaked in water for 5-6 hours, draining the foam several times.
For gallstones, 1 tablespoon of a mixture of soapwort root, celandine grass and St. John’s wort in a ratio of 5:3:10 is infused for half an hour in 250 ml of boiling water and drunk 2-3 glasses a day (cholesterol is included in compounds with saponins). The mixture also works for bloating of the intestines, nausea.
A steam of 1 tablespoon of a mixture (equally) of soapwort root and sage leaves is infused for 10 minutes in 250 ml of water and used as a gargle for sore throats and for compresses for boils, psoriasis, and yellow fever.
At home, soapwort decoction is used to remove stains from clothes and to wash woolen and silk products.