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Kendra Nelson
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While doing some research on soap making I came across this very unique tree called a soapberry tree or Sapindus drummondii, apparently the berries contain the substance called saponins which has been used by native people for soap for thousands of years. Here is a website about the Soapberry tree:

http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/organic-herbs/growing-a-soap-berry-tree

I was wanting to know if anyone has actually used soapberries?

I was also wandering if this was a tree i could grow in a large greenhouse (geodesic dome style)? Because i live too far north tho grow them outside.

 
Peta Schroder
Posts: 62
Location: Australia
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Hi, I am studying naturopathy and while I don't know much about this specific tree, I do know that there are a good number of herbs high in saponins. Wild yam and chickweed come to mind. Maybe these can be extracted for soap making without having to divert resources to a soap tree.
 
Trish Seal
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Location: Northern British Columbia, Canada
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These are what are sold as "soap-nuts" and can be found in any local health (food) store and are easily researched online. Here is a link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus
I have used them and find that they work well for most clothes except if you have a man whose clothes are covered in black motor vehicle grease - not so good then.
I really like it best for my own clothes (especially delicates). Use the little bag to hold them or you will have little bits of husk all over your clothes and that wouldn't work so great
for say, a sweater or towel or something. Make sure that you dry your clothes immediatley and thouroughly or you might get the mold smell, since it IS totally natural there are no
chemicals in it that prohibit mold growth - you will notice this if you don't dry your stuff immediately and well. Otherwise, have fun; you can boil them up for dish-soap,
bathroom cleaner, and I hear even shampoo. Use essential oils for a nice scent?
 
Kendra Nelson
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Petra Smirnoff wrote:Hi, I am studying naturopathy and while I don't know much about this specific tree, I do know that there are a good number of herbs high in saponins. Wild yam and chickweed come to mind. Maybe these can be extracted for soap making without having to divert resources to a soap tree.


I hadn't thought to look for other plants that would do the same thing, thank you for the info
 
John Polk
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Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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You might be interested in this thread concerning soapnuts:

http://www.permies.com/t/8416/frugality/Soapnuts-Laundry-believe-more-people#131672

 
Kendra Nelson
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John Polk wrote:You might be interested in this thread concerning soapnuts:

http://www.permies.com/t/8416/frugality/Soapnuts-Laundry-believe-more-people#131672



Thank you, I still hoping to grow a couple here in the midwest, though I might just have to face the fact that i cant
 
Paulo Bessa
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Location: Portugal (zone 9) and Iceland (zone 5)
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Hi all,

I am actually a soap maker as job

I now soap nuts, soap berries, boiled yucca roots, and shikakai bark powder, all of these clean your hair or hands very easily of oils. But they do not foam. Chickweed has same ability but a bit less. It will leave a clean feeling with you scrub your hands with it but not remove oils. I haven't tried soapwort (a native European plant) but shikakai powder works very well. Its such a effective and pleasant shampoo on itself alone (but does not foam).

The yucca should be much easy to get and to grow, as well. The yucca, I have never tried.

Quinoa is another that has saponins. Boiled flax seed (it gels) and corn starch also show some cleaning effect. I have tried all these things

Like Trish said, you must keep these powders in dry form, otherwise they will gain mold. Soap bars do not grow mold because they are alkaline and are a salt. They only grow mold if melted in water. If you do make a water solution with these, then you must add a preservative. Best of it, is to use alcohol from distillation at 15% in final product because it will preserve against mold, just like it does in a wine or liquour.

 
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