Nature never ceases to amaze me. No matter what humans need, somewhere there is plant that makes it. Why people started making artificial anything is beyond me.
A perfect example is the Soapberry Tree.
The soapberry tree is a member of the maple family and grows in warm to tropical climates. It is well suited for Florida and makes an excellent companion plant to several of the better known wild edibles that grow here such as beautyberry, chinkapin, and sumac. Although it is considered a tropical, it can take a light freeze and can also be grown in a large container.
It is used in India and Asia medicinally for treating eczema, psoriasis, and lice. It is also used around the world as an insecticide, an expectorant, a contraceptive, and for treating migraine headaches.
It is most commonly used though as an easily obtained natural soap.
The nuts of the tree contain saponins. To use them, all you have to do is put 3-4 of the nuts in a mesh bag and toss it in with your laundry. That’s it. No mixing, cooking, or other ingredients needed. If you have hot water, cold, water, or hard water, it doesn’t matter. They get everything clean and leave your laundry smelling fresh. Since they contain no chemicals that can irritate the skin, they are a perfect choice for those with skin allergies or chemical sensitivities. I have not found anything that works better on cloth diapers or toddler stains. Depending on the hardness of your water, you can get 3-4 loads per bag of berries. Once they break down, they can be composted, leaving nothing to harm your skin or your yard.
Absolutely perfect. Once again, nature delivers.