Since prehistoric times, plants have accompanied people in their daily activities. Food, medicinal, but also in unknown, or forgotten, recurrent, cleansing roles. Plants from ditches or embankments, trees from our roadways, let’s go pick something to scour our pots.
Along the paths, on the edges of meadows near the streams, grouped in cool corners, strange plants, the ” ponytails ” or ” fox tails », Grow from spring to autumn. Singular, discreet, without any particular smell or flavor, horsetail, Equisetum arvense, however, deserves special attention. His medicinal qualities are known, diuretic, hemostatic, healing. And if its richness in silica also gives it a remineralizing action, this property has earned it used at other times as a scouring pad. Neatly rolled, fresh or dry, sterile horsetail stems overcome the worst bases of saucepans. Ephemeral tool, wears out quickly, but easy to renew and enriching the compost.
The abrasive properties of horsetail placed it on the workbenches of craftsmen, polishing of wood and metals was customary, its fine grain appreciated. Horsetail polish, Equisetum hyemale, persistent in winter, was preferred to its cousin in the fields. Reduced to an ash with a high silica content, mixed with a fatty substance, it served as solder paste.
Weed by the glass
Jug herb, vitriole, the gambler, Parietaria officinalis, bears the name of his past jobs. Corked like horsetail, it was used to clean pans, glass containers, enamelled pottery. Mechanical cleaning, by its small rough hairs, but also chemical, by the presence of potassium nitrate, calcium oxalate, soda. This strong cleaning power has promoted its use in most regions of France. Use reinforced by its presence at the doorstep of human habitat. Rock plant, “Paries” means “wall”, it has adopted the verticality of the villages, climbs on the walls and clings to them with its hard, lignified root. The supply is close at hand, available all year round.
A versatile plant, the parietary cleans utensils, but also bodies. Diuretic, it is quoted by the school of Salerno “against all the pains of the stomach and intestines of cold cause”. The cleansing, medicinal and food properties of this discreet and forgotten Urticacea deserves to be revisited.
In the wild stall of cleaning plants, washerwomen used to find their laundry. Companion of ditches, river banks, hedges, the soap, soap dish, soap grass, Saponaria officinalis, willingly settles in gardens. Roots, stems, leaves, flowers, contain saponin, a foaming cleansing substance, emulsifying fatty substances. The picking takes place from June to October, after flowering if you want to enjoy the pink floral bouquets of this pretty Caryophyllaceae. The roots can be harvested in the fall, dried, and then rehydrated for winter use. After a decoction of ten minutes, the detergent is ready to use, for a conservation of one to two days at most.
Officinale, the soap maker also cleanses the body, externally, internal use coming under informed practice. Gentle shampoo, soap treating dermatoses, soothing mistreated skin, soap grass is reverting to modern practices.
Chestnut, baby’s breath, sorrel and gallium
Forgotten for its medicinal virtues and cleansing, the so known horse chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum, contains saponins, which earned it to be prepared as soap during the last world war. Gypsophila struthium, « wool grass ” of the same family that the soapwort, was imported from Asia by the Greeks and Romans for its saponifying properties, at a time when the laundry was made of ash.
Little gardening tip for clean bottles without a swab : sorrel and its oxalic acid are not lacking in efficiency.
Reread our great-grandmothers, reinventing our shelves of household products along the paths, ditches, old walls, in his garden. Recycle at compost tampons, swabs, caps, washing powder. And why not ?
*The article has been translated based on the content of Au Jardin, conseils en jardinage by www.aujardin.info. If there is any problem regarding the content, copyright, please leave a report below the article. We will try to process as quickly as possible to protect the rights of the author. Thank you very much!
*We just want readers to access information more quickly and easily with other multilingual content, instead of information only available in a certain language.
*We always respect the copyright of the content of the author and always include the original link of the source article.If the author disagrees, just leave the report below the article, the article will be edited or deleted at the request of the author. Thanks very much! Best regards!