Saturday, August 15, 2009
With its pretty pink or white flowers and heavenly scent, soapwort (or bouncing bet) is a must have in a healing herb garden.
Soapwort is easy to grow in full sun in almost any soil. It will spread, so plan ahead before planting. (It is a great candidate for our “less lawn” project). It is mostly disease free and not bothered by pests. The plant is easy to divide and share.
Caution should be taken if planting soapwort near fish ponds, the sap from the roots is said to cause harm to fish.
Soapwort has been used for years as a cleaning agent for delicate fabrics; in fact museums use it today for restoring fabric. Even the Shakers recognized its cleaning power, and it was very popular among them.
To clean delicate fabrics simmer chopped leaf, root or stem in untreated water for 30 minutes. The liquid will be soapy and is also useful for general household cleaning.
The leaves can be dried, although they will not soap up as well as fresh leaves.
Soapwort is also known to help skin problems such as acne, eczema and cold sores; however it should not be taken internally.