Soapwort roots

Soapwort roots

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Credit: GEOFF KIDD/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Soapwort roots. These are the dried roots of the soapwort flower (Saponaria officinalis). In herbal medicine they are used to make a tea which is believed to be effective againt jaundice, and problems with digestion. The roots contain saporin, a substance which produces a lather when mixed with water and can be used as a substitute for soap (saporins are toxic if ingested).

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