White soapwort
White soapwort


In the Middle Ages, Franciscan and Dominican monks viewed soapwort as a divine gift that was meant to keep them clean (6). Avoid confusion with the red soapwort root.

People use this for...

Orally, white soapwort is used for cough, bronchitis, and inflammation of the mucous membranes in the upper and lower respiratory tract.
Topically, white soapwort is used for chronic skin disorders and eczema.

Possibly Safe ...when used orally and appropriately (2).

Pregnancy And Lactation: Insufficient reliable information available; avoid using.

There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of white soapwort.

Natural Medicines rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Dosing & administration

    Adverse effects

    General: Orally, white soapwort can cause stomach irritation (2), nausea, and vomiting (7).

    Interactions with pharmaceuticals

    None known.

    Interactions with herbs & supplements

    None known.

    Interactions with foods

    None known.

    Interactions with lab tests

    None known.

    Interactions with diseases

    GI IRRITATION: Theoretically, the saponin content of white soapwort can exacerbate existing gastrointestinal mucosal irritation (6).

    Mechanism of action

    The applicable part of white soapwort is the root. White soapwort has expectorant, emetic, antibiotic, and insecticidal effects (18). In large amounts, it is cytotoxic (2). The saponin constituents exhibit expectorant effects (2), and they irritate the gastric mucosa to stimulate the bronchial mucous glands via parasympathetic sensory pathways (7). Saponins can cause stomach upset, nausea, and vomiting (7).


    2Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Trans. S. Klein. Boston, MA: American Botanical Council, 1998.
    6The Review of Natural Products by Facts and Comparisons. St. Louis, MO: Wolters Kluwer Co., 1999.
    7Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Terry C. Telger, transl. 3rd ed. Berlin, GER: Springer, 1998.
    18Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company, Inc., 1998.
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    This monograph was last reviewed on 19/08/2021 22:54:41 and last updated on 24/12/2012 22:20:51. Monographs are reviewed and/or updated multiple times per month and at least once per year.
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