An alternative to soapwort?

A year or two back, I read Mark Boyle’s The Moneyless Manifesto, which I found quite inspirational. Now, I am aware that if we didn’t have money, people would find plenty of other ways of being, say, corrupt or envious. On the other hand, on an individual basis, it can feel good when you choose to find alternative ways of operating.

One herbaceous plant Mark mentioned was soapwort, which in the past was apparently used to wash clothes. As I was suffering quite badly from psoriasis on the palms of my hands at the time, the plant therefore appealed on a number of fronts.

However, the seeds I sowed last year didn’t get very far. And it didn’t look like the Red Campion (Silene dioica) I sowed was going to do much better. At least, it grew a few leaves in the front garden.

This year, it has gone one better and produced flowers, although as you can see ‘red’ is not the colour I would choose to describe them.

When I bought the seeds, there had been some mention of a use as a herb. I couldn’t remember what, so I did an internet search on the bus this morning. I still can’t remember what the tea from them is supposed to be good for but I do remember a more interesting possibility. Soap.

The internet articles one and all failed to give precise guidance, unfortunately. The best I got was to heat an unspecified number of the roots in an unspecified amount of water for an unspecified amount of time. Not one for shirking a challenge, though, I will at some point do a bit of experimenting to develop my own recipe. And then I will let you know.

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About Helen

I have always been interesting in living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and used to do what I could. Now, I have come to realise that we have reached such a point in terms of environmental degradation that it is more important - perhaps - to focus on building resilience. I therefore do as much as I can to reuse, grow my own and encourage a supportive community, for example. I also keep reading and learning all the time.
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14 Responses to An alternative to soapwort?

  1. Helen, you’ve sent me off to do homework. I’ve looked up Mark, soapwort and Red Campion. Despite its name, it doesn’t appear to be red at all. Here’s what wiki had to say:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silene_dioica

    Are you still struggling with psoriasis? That sounds really uncomfortable.

  2. Linda Penney says:

    Helen thank you for sharing a lovely post and blessing to you and the family

  3. Our campion is much more prolific this year

  4. skyeent says:

    I’m having another go with the soapwort cuttings for you – looking a bit better this time – keep your fingers crossed. Good luck with the campion as well – yes it is rather pink!

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