Soapword: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Soapword: Uses, herbal medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

The plant is native to Europe and Asia and has been naturalized in North America. Soapwort is now a popular garden plant worldwide, but commercial cultivation occurs primarily in China, Iran and Turkey. Drug imports also come from these countries.

Herbal medicinal use

In herbal medicine, the dried roots and rhizomes of the plant (Saponariae rubrae radix) are used. The above-ground parts of the plant are used less frequently.


Characteristics of Soapword

Soapwort is a perennial plant, up to 80 cm high, that likes to grow along rivers and in sparse alluvial forests. The rootstock has numerous long runners.

The stems bear opposite, oblong leaves and tipped with pale pink flowers, held in racemes.

Where does the name “Soapword” come from?

The crushed roots form a dense foam when rubbed in water, which is why soapwort was used in the past as a soap substitute and detergent. The Latin name “Saponaria” is derived from “sapo”, in English “soap”.


Soap Roots as Medicine

The drug material comprises round root pieces about 3-10 mm thick. These are red-brown on the outside. In the cross-section, you can see the light, white bark and the lemon-yellow wooden body on the inside.

Soaproot does not give off a particularly typical smell. The taste of the root material is bitter-sweet at first, then transitions into a scratchy flavour.

Soapword– application

Soapwort contains substances that promote the ejection of bronchial secretions. The plant is, therefore, suitable for treating diseases and infections of the upper respiratory tract, such as bronchitis and inflammation of the mucous membranes (catarrh). Disorders of this type often accompany a sore throathoarseness, cough and runny nose – symptoms that can be relieved with soap root.

Soapwordin folk medicine

In folk medicine, soapwort was used in ancient times to treat coughs and shortness of breath. Today, the root is rarely used in folk medicine as a diuretic, expectorant and sputum-promoting agent. In individual cases, the plant is also used for rheumatic complaints and skin diseases such as itchy rash (eczema).

Homeopathically, the dried soapwort root is also used for respiratory diseases.


Ingredients of Soapwort

Soap root contains 2.5-8% saponins, the main components being saponariosides A and B. The saponariosides CM also occur in smaller amounts. The saponins mentioned in the Latin name (Saponaria officinalis) are only in traces.

Small amounts of oligosaccharides were also detected in the root.

Soapword: for what indications to use?

Soapwort is used for the following indications:

  • respiratory diseases
  • Inflammation of the mucous membranes of the airways
  • Bronchitis
  • Cough
  • Halsweh
  • hoarseness

Soapword– dosage

Soap root is currently only commercially available in a few combination preparations in the form of cough drops. There are presently no tea preparations either.

Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is 1.5 g of the drug.

Preparation of Soapword

To prepare tea, 0.4 g of the medium-finely chopped root (1 teaspoon corresponds to around 2.6 g) is mixed with approximately 250 ml of hot or cold water and boiled for a few minutes. Then, everything is put through a tea strainer.

However, using soap roots in tea is not very common anymore.



Soap roots should be stored dry and protected from light.

Soapword– synonyms

German plant name: soapwort

German synonyms of the plant: Common Soapwort, Common Soapwort, Common Soapwort, Soaproot, Washerwort, Soapwort, Cough Root

Latin plant name: Saponaria officinalis L.

German drug name: Seifenwurzel

German synonyms of the drug: Red Soaproot, Soapwort Root, Washroot

Latin drug name: Red soapberry root

English name: Soapwort root, Saponaria root (Droge); Soapweed, Soapwort, Bouncing bess, Bouncing bet (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Caryophyllaceae

Plant family German: carnation family


Soapword- effect

Soaproot is a typical saponin drug that, in low doses, promotes expectoration . Irritation of nerve endings in the gastric mucosa leads to reflex stimulation of water secretion in the bronchi and, thus, to increased expectoration.

Saponins also reduce the viscosity of the bronchial mucus, and the activity of the ciliated epithelium, the tiny hairs that sit on the surface cells of the bronchi and transport the mucus upwards, is increased. All of this also makes it easier to cough up.

Soapword: side effects

In rare cases, taking soaproot supplements can cause stomach irritation and nausea.

There are currently no known drug interactions or contraindications.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *