Soaproot


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Soaproot

 

the rhizomes and roots of plants that contain substantial amounts of saponins—organic substances that impart to solutions the capacity to lather. Medicinal and technological saponins are obtained from soaproot, and infusions of soaproot are used as expectorants and in the manufacture of liquid insecticides. Soaproot was formerly used in place of soap for washing fabrics. It is obtained from plants of various families. In the USSR it is derived predominantly from plants of the family Caryophyllaceae. For example, soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) yields red soaproot, which contains 13–15 percent saponins (according to other data, up to 35 percent). Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata) yields white soaproot, with 6.5–20 percent saponins. The carline thistle and other species of Carlina yield Turkestan soaproot.