Homemade Shampoo Disaster

So I’ve been working on researching plants high in saponins—which is a natural form of soap. And I was delighted to find that the roots of pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) are very high in saponins.

Pokeweed is also a fairly toxic plant. You can eat it if you harvest the leaves in the very early spring while the plant is young and before the stalks turn red. You have to boil it and discard the water at least twice (three times or more for those who worry a lot). So I probably should’ve been a bit more cautious.

By the way, the purple berries (also toxic to humans, but I’ve seen poultry enjoy them) make a really nice dye for cloth or buckskin.

Anyway, I harvested a big chunk of root and grated it up with a cheese grater. When I put that in water, I was delighted with how soapy the water got—it is soapier than yucca root. Let me point out that natural soaps like this never get quite as frothy as commercial stuff, but this was surprisingly soap like.

Between handling the pokeweed root and then washing my hair with it, I got a good dose of whatever else is in those roots. Oh dear, I got quite a headache and a bit dizzy! LOL. So let me be the first to tell you NOT to try this one at home!

Stick with baking soda and vinegar if that is what you are using. And my personal favorite to date is the egg/honey/lemon blend I wrote about in this post on homemade shampoo.

If you are wondering why I don’t just make soap using lye and fat … well, here is a short video that explains why not.


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(This article was originally published October 29, 2013.)

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This post was written by Marjory Wildcraft


  • Mary Himmer says:

    Mountain Rose Herbs has herbal recipes for hair care. I make one in bulk for shampoo for our family, and have for years, created by Rosalee de la Foret, utilizing rosemary and rose infusions and adding rosemary essential oil. Best luck with finding the recipe that works well for you.

  • Mary Himmer says:

    Oops, I should have read why you don’t use fat before I had posted.

  • Robert Gardner says:

    why in the world go thru all that trouble.

    Seems like some people do not realize that YOUR TIME is also worth something – especially since all of us only have so much alloted on this earth.

  • terijo brewton says:

    Ive been shampoo free for about three years. There are several Indian herbal formulas which work well, they aren’t local products, easy to find on the ground hereabouts. Amla is a fruit which, dried and powdered, can be mixed with water and it makes a wonderful deep conditioner (which will stain things!). It does darken hair a bit but is messy and time consuming. I love what it does to my hair. Aritha (soap nuts) makes a strong cleanser, for hair or whatever. 4 of the soap nuts, whole, can be used over and over to do laundry. Shikakai, powdered, washes hair well, tho I avoid it because if it gets in your eyes it really hurts. All these and more are cheap and purchased at any Indian grocer.

    You can get shampoo bars and just stock up.

    Ive learned that for most people the answer is to migrate to less frequent washes – just shampoo with water as often as you can. My favorite is a simgle egg, beaten into a little water. I havent added the honey and lemon yet. It doesn’t work for me every day, though, I need to switch back and forth. I would be very interested in North American plants I could use, so keep looking!

  • Dawn says:

    Well – poke has been a bit of a lifesaver for me and my daughter, but you really have to know how to use it, and you have to be very, very careful. I dry the berries and keep them on hand for fibromyalgia pain (1 to 4 a day, never, never chewed – just swallowed whole), and I tincture the root (harvested after the first hard freeze) in 100 proof Vodka, every few years. Just a drop or two of that will kill the flu or a cold if taken before going to bed when you first feel it coming on.

    As for plant alternatives for washing hair, do you have soapwort in your area? I haven’t tried this yet, but I grew soapwort this year, and will be trying it soon. It’s used by conservators to clean delicate, antique textiles, and is supposed to be great for hair. There is a video about it from a BBC series here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2ACjD0CZJw
    Actually, the BBC series “Wartime Farm” should be really interesting for preppers in temperature zones.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi dawn,

      thanks for the advice on Poke root. Yes, it is quite strong medicine. didn’t realize it could be sued for warding off cold or flu – but makes sense – it works on the lymphatic system, yes?

      Oh, I really enjoyed that video on using soap wort leaves. I will check out that video ‘Wartime Farm’ – looks like it would be very useful.

      thanks again

  • marjory! I have been at war with pokeweed for at least 3 yrs now and was delighted to see there may be some use to this invasive intruder.the birds around here as well az the deer seem uninterested as well.I did however see a herculean beetle attached to a stalk,anyway I definately won’t be using it as shampoo, but to you think the saponins could be used to clean other objects

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Well, I was really delighted with the high amount of saponins – I just wonder about the other toxins in there. Maybe good for cleaning clothes with a good rinsing?

      We have noticed poultry eating the berries before. Especially the turkey liked them. We knew this for sure because the turkeys would come on the patio – and poop. and stain the patio purple… Its part of why we don’t have turkeys anymore. LOL.

  • Mark says:

    you might want to try this. I grows well in South Florida, so you might be able to grow it with some extra care. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sapindus.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Mark, thanks for that link. Uh, I didn’t realize there were spermacidal qualities to soapnuts… Hmm, brings up another topic. LOL

  • Gale says:

    Have you thought about soapwort? I read some where it is high in saponins.

  • Zack Richardson says:

    Thanks for your numerous articles. This is off topic since I did not see any other place to put it. One thing I just learned about because I never saw it anywhere else is this TED talk on the growing phosphorus shortage problem and its solution. Phosphorus is necessary to human life since our energy depends on the ATP (P for phosphorus) molecule and it is necessary for DNA.


    It is in French so just read the subtitles. Perhaps you could experiment with adding this microscopic mushroom to your crops and report back to us.

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Zack thank you for posting this important topic.

      a quick summary for those of you who haven’t watched the video – conventional agriculture is using up phosphorus at a rate that is projected to peak about 2030. Phosphorus is primarily mined and the sources are getting depleted. Phosphorus of course is an element critical to all of life – its the “P” in the N-P-K on ther bags of fertilizer at the store.

      with current ag practices, phosphorus is applied to the soil, but most of it is wasted – 85%. This French researcher shows that using fungi in the soil will help the plant uptake phosphorus. The species of mushroom he is studying is 450 million years old and has completely specialized in symbiotic relationships with plants. He showed some impressive photos comparing plots of corps used with less or no phosphorus and the mushrooms.

  • James Long says:

    Marjory, at the bottom of the article about the California soap plant it says this:

    Be careful using this plant if you are not familiar with it. Eating the bulb raw is bad, for the same chemicals that make it a good soap and fish poison (saponins) are present in the raw bulb.

    I would assume that you need to process the saponins before using them. Perhaps boiling? If I were you, I’d do a bit of research and take another swing at this one. It might pan out for you. 🙂

  • James Long says:

    Oh.. and for the love of god, boil out that cheese grater before it gets back to the kitchen. 😉

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Good point!

  • Georgia says:

    Have you considered snow berries for making shampoo? I hear that’s how the native americans in my area used to do it, and snow berries grow in many parts of the US.
    It seems the soft water is also key to soft and manageable hair, such as rain water!

  • Allen says:


    From James Duke’s work, http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/ here is what is listed as being in Pokeweed and below that list is the Ethnobotanical uses for that plant.

    Dr. Allen S. Hoaglund
    Dr. Duke’s
    Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

    Chemicals and their Biological Activities in: Phytolacca americana L. (Phytolaccaceae) — Pokeweed



    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.

    ALKALOIDS Fruit 22,000 ppm; DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.


    Antiinflammatory >Phenylbutazone; Antipyretic HH1:5


    Hepatoprotective ZUL ; Hepatotropic ZUL

    ANTHOCYANIN Fruit 93,000 ppm; DUKE1992A

    Antiviral PMP23:58 ; Hemostat JE26:65 ; Pesticide DUKE1992B

    ASCORBIC-ACID Shoot 1,360 – 16,184 ppm DUKE1992A

    Acidulant FEMA 6,000 ARC ; Aldose-Reductase-Inhibitor SYN-X ; Analgesic 5-10 g/day; Angiotensin-Receptor-Blocker NP6:1 ; AntiAGE 2,000 mg/day SYN-X ; Antiaggregant SYN-X ; Antiaging 400 mg/day; Antiallergic PIL ; Antialzheimeran 2,000-6,000 mg/day; Antiarthritic 0.2-1 g/day; Antiasthmatic 1,000 mg/day WER ; Antiatherosclerotic; Antibacterial DAS ; Anticataract 1 g 3x/day 350 mg/day WER 400 mg/day SYN-X ; Anticervicaldysplasic 1,000-2,000 mg/day; AntiCFS 500-1,000 mg TE2 ; Anticlimacteric 500-5,000 mg/day WAF ; Anticold 1-2 g/man/day; AntiCrohn’s 50-100 mg/day/orl/man M29 ; AntiCTS 1,000 mg 3x/day WAF ; Antidecubitic 500 mg/man/2x/day MAR ; Antidementia MPP ; Antidepressant 2,000 mg/day WER ; Antidiabetic SYN-X ; Antidote (Aluminum) EMP6:189 ; Antidote (Cadmium) DAS ; Antidote (Lead) DAS ; Antidote (Paraquat) MAR ; Antieczemic 3.5-5 g/day WER ; Antiedemic 1 g/man/day DAS ; Antiencephalitic DAS ; Antiendometriotic 2,000 mg/day WAF ; Antifatigue 500-1,000 mg TE2 ; Antifibrotic 1,000-2,000 mg WAF ; Antigallstone 1,000-3,000 mg/day WAF ; Antigastritic PIL ; Antigingivitic; Antiglaucomic 2 g/day WER ; Antihangover 1,000 mg WAF ; Antihemorrhagic 1 g/man/day DAS ; Antihepatitic 2-6 g/man/day DAS ; Antihepatotoxic EMP6:189 ; Antiherpetic 1-5 g/day; Antihistaminic 2 g/day orl man; Antihypertensive NP6:1 ; Antiinfertility 1 g/day WER ; Antiinflammatory PAM ; Antilepric 1.5 g/man/day MAR ; Antilithic 1,000-3,000 mg/day WAF ; AntiLyme 500-2,000 mg KEN ; Antimaculitic; Antimeasles DAS ; Antimenopausal 500-5,000 mg/day WAF ; Antimigraine M29 ; Antimutagenic EMP6:235 ; Antineuramidase X634178 ; Antinitrosic 1 g/man/day MAR ; Antiobesity 1 g 3x/day WER ; Antiorchitic DAS ; Antiosteoarthritic 1 g 2x/day WER ; Antiosteoporotic 500 mg/day; Antioxidant 100 ppm DUKE1992B ; Antiparkinsonian 1 g 2-3x/day; Antiparotitic DAS ; Antiperiodontitic 1 g 2x/day WER ; Antipneumonic PAM ; Antipodriac DAS ; Antipoliomyelitic DAS ; Antipyretic EMP6:189 ; Antiradicular SYN-X ; AntiRaynaud’s 500 mg 1-2x/day WAF ; Antiretinotic PIL ; Antirheumatic MPP ; Antirhinitic 1,000 mg 3x/day WAF ; Antiscorbutic 10 mg/man/day MAR ; Antiseptic 4-8 g/day SYN-X MIC=3.3-217 mg/ml MAR ; Antishingles DAS ; Antispasmodic 500-5,000 mg/day WAF ; Antistress 500-1,000 mg; Antisyndrome-X 1-4 g/day SYN-X ; Antitumor (Gastric) PIL ; Antitumor (Lung) NR54:S71 ; Antiulcer; Antiviral 1-5 g/day; Apoptotic 1-10 mM BO2 ; Asthma-preventive 1,000 mg/day/orl PAM ; Beta-Adrenergic Receptor Blocker NP6:1 ; Beta-Glucuronidase-Inhibitor 1.5 g/day/man BO2 ; Calcium-Antagonist NP6:1 ; Cancer-Preventive 525 ; Cardioprotective PIL ; Cold-preventive 1-2 g/day DAS ; Collagenic BO2 ; Detoxicant DUKE1992B ; Diuretic 700 mg/man/orl NP6:1 ; Fistula-Preventive PAM ; Hypocholesterolemic 300-1,000 mg/day DAS ; Hypoglycemic SYN-X ; Hypotensive 1,000 mg/man/day; Immunomodulator PIL ; Immunostimulant SYN-X ; Interferonogenic PAM ; Lithogenic DAS ; Mucolytic 1 g/woman/day MAR ; Pesticide DUKE1992B ; Uricosuric 4 g/man/day DAS ; Urinary-Acidulant M29 ; Vasodilator NP6:1 ; Vulnerary PAM


    ACE-Inhibitor ID50=180 ug/ml rat (24 hr.) T15015 ; Aldose-Reductase-Inhibitor IC30=1 uM DUKE1992B IC62=10 uM PC23:1885 ; Antileukemic DUKE1992B ; Expectorant DUKE1992B ; Hypotensive CPB38:1049 ; Immunostimulant DUKE1992B

    BETA-CAROTENE Shoot 52 – 621 ppm DUKE1992A

    Allergenic M&R610 ; Androgenic? PAM ; Antiacne PAM ; Antiaging DUKE1992B ; Antiarthritic MPP ; Antiasthmatic PAM ; Anticancer JNU ; Anticarcinomic PAM ; Anticervicaldysplasic MPP ; Anticoronary 50 mg/man/2 days CMR3/4/91:16 ; Antihyperkeratotic; Antiichythyotic PAM ; Antileukoplakic; Antilipoperoxidant IC71=50 ug/ml X16277432 ; Antilupus 150 mg/man/day/2 mos MAR ; Antimaculitic; Antimastitic PAM ; Antimutagenic EMP6:235 ; Antioxidant PAM ; Antiozenic DUKE1992B ; Antipapillomic MPP ; Antiphotophobic 30-300 mg/man/day M29 ; Antipityriasic PAM ; AntiPMS JAFC34:409 ; Antiporphyric MAR ; Antiproliferant JNU ; Antipsoriac PAM ; Antiradicular PAM ; Antirheumatic MPP ; Antistress DAS ; Antitumor HSC25:1495 ; Antitumor (Breast) IC45=60 ug/ml X16277432 ; Antitumor (CNS) IC43=45 ug/ml X16277432 ; Antitumor (Colon) X16277432 ; Antitumor (Lung) IC30=60 ug/ml X16277432 ; Antitumor (Prostate) MES ; Antitumor (Stomach) IC26=45 ug/ml X16277432 ; Antiulcer 12 mg 3x/day/man/orl PAM 15,000-25,000 IU/day WAF ; Antixerophthalmic DAS ; Cancer-Preventive 22 ppm 505 ; Chemopreventive MES ; Colorant JBH ; COX-1-Inhibitor IC78=50 ug/ml X16277432 ; COX-2-Inhibitor IC82=50 ug/ml X16277432 ; Gastroprotective X6654625 ; Immunostimulant 180 mg/man/day/orl PAM ; Interferon-Synergist PJB1(2):264 ; Mucogenic PAM ; Phagocytotic PAM ; Prooxidant 20 ug/g JAF44:2096 ; Thymoprotective PAM ; Ubiquiot JBH

    BETANIN Shoot: DUKE1992A

    Antioxidant JAF49:5178 ; Antiperoxidant JAF49:5178 ; Heme-Sparing JAF49:5178 ; Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor IC50=0.5 uM JAF49:5178 ; Pigment JBH


    No activity reported.

    CALCIUM Shoot 530 – 6,307 ppm DUKE1992A

    Antiallergic 500 mg/day; Antianxiety DAS ; Antiarrhythmic 500-1,500 mg RAF ; Antiarthritic 1,000 mg/day WAF ; Antiatherosclerotic 500 mg/day WER ; Anticlimacteric 1,000-1,500 mg/day WAF ; Antidepressant DAS ; Antidote (Aluminum) DAS ; Antidote (Lead) DAS ; Antihyperkinetic DAS ; Antihypertensive; Antiinsomniac DAS ; Antimenopausal; Antiobesity PIL ; Antiosteoporotic 500-2,000 mg/day; Antiperiodontitic 750 mg/day WER ; AntiPMS 1 g/day; Antirheumatic 1,000 mg/day WAF ; Antistress 500-1,500 mg/day WAF ; Antitic DAS ; Anxiolytic; Calcium-Channel-Blocker NP6:1 ; Diuretic NP6:1 ; Hypocholesterolemic 500 mg/day WER ; Hypotensive 1 g/day WER ; Laxative 1,000-1,200 mg WAF ; Tranquilizer 500-1,500 mg/day WAF ; Vasodilator NP6:1


    Emetic PJB1(1):169 ; Inflammatory PJB1(1):169 ; Laxative PJB1(1):169 ; Lithogenic PJB1(1):169

    CARBOHYDRATES Shoot 37,000 – 441,000 ppm DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.


    Aldose-Reductase-Inhibitor PJB1(3):238 ; Allergenic X16226832 ; Analgesic RAI ; Antiacne PJB1(3):238 ; Antiasthmatic LAF ; Antibacterial JAF40:2329 ; Anticariogenic MIC=>1,600 ug/ml JAF41:1103 ; Antidermatitic WO3 ; Antiedemic CPB38:2283 ; Antifeedant 500 ppm TOX ; Antiinflammatory IC50=100 uM CPB38:2283 ; Antileishmanic X180905647 ; Antionychyotic RAI ; Antiproliferant X16964395 ; Antispasmodic DUKE1992B ; Antistaphylococcic JAR10:7 ; Antistreptococcic PJB1(3):238 ; Antitumor JNP55:999 ; Antiulcer RAI ; Candidicide JAR10:7 ; FLavor FEMA 20-200 ARC ; Fungicide JAR10:7 ; Gastroprotective RAI ; Insectifuge; Irritant ZEB ; Larvicide X10701181 ; Mosquitocide X10701181 ; Perfumery M11 ; Pesticide DUKE1992B ; Sedative JAR10:7 ; Termitifuge 382


    No activity reported.

    FAT Shoot 4,000 – 48,000 ppm DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.

    FRUCTOSE Fruit 14,000 ppm; DUKE1992A

    Antialcoholic JBH ; Antidiabetic JBH ; Antihangover DUKE1992B ; Antiketotic M11 ; Antinauseant JBH ; Laxative AJC62:1212 ; Neoplastic CRC ; Sweetener 2 x glucose JBH

    GLUCOSE Fruit 46,000 ppm; DUKE1992A

    Acetylcholinergic DUKE1992B ; Antiedemic JBH ; Antihepatotoxic M11 ; Antiketotic M11 ; Antivaricose JBH ; Hyperglycemic M11 ; Memory-Enhancer SN138:189.1990

    GUM Root: DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.

    IRON Shoot 17 – 202 ppm DUKE1992A

    Antiakathisic M29 ; Antianemic M29 ; Anticanker; Anticheilitic DAS ; Antimenorrhagic 100 mg/day/wmn/orl PAM ; Prooxidant PIL


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    ACE-Inhibitor ID50=300 ug/ml rat (24 hr.) T15015 ; Aldose-Reductase-Inhibitor JBH ; Antibacterial JBH ; Anticancer JAF47:397 ; Antielastase IC50=0.7 ug/ml DUKE1992B ; Antifeedant 450 ; Antiinflammatory X16248545 ; Antinociceptive PR14:401 ; Antioxidant 1/4 quercetin IC50=9.0 uM PR14:501 ; Antiradicular 1/4 quercetin JAF47:397 ; Antitumor JAF47:397 ; Antitumor-Promoter JAF47:397 ; Cancer-Preventive 525 ; Capillarigenic DUKE1992B ; Diaphoretic PJB1(3):242 ; Diuretic 10 ppm HHB ; Hypotensive CPB38:1049 ; Insectiphile JBH ; Pesticide DUKE1992B ; TNF-alpha-Inhibitor X16248545 ; Topoisomerase-II-Inhibitor 550 ug/ml AAC41:992


    Antiinflammatory DUKE1992B ; Diuretic DUKE1992B

    NIACIN Shoot 12 – 143 ppm DUKE1992A

    Allergenic WER ; Antiacrodynic DUKE1992B ; Antiallergic 50 mg/2x/day WER ; Antialzheimeran PIL ; Antiamblyopic DUKE1992B ; Antianginal DUKE1992B ; Anticataract DUKE1992B ; Antichilblain JBH ; Anticonvulsant 3 g/day WER ; Antidementia PIL ; Antidermatitic DAS ; Antidiabetic DUKE1992B ; Antidysphagic DUKE1992B ; Antiepileptic WER ; Antihangover 50 mg WAF ; Antihistaminic 50 mg 2x/day WER ; Antihyperactivity 1.5-6 g/day WER ; Antiinsomnic 1 g/day WER ; AntiLyme 50 mg/day; AntiMeniere’s JAD ; Antineuralgic DUKE1992B ; Antiparkinsonian 100 mg/day WER ; Antipellagric DAS ; AntiRaynaud’s 1,500-4,000 mg/day WAF ; Antiscotomic DUKE1992B ; Antispasmodic 100 mg 2x/day WER ; Antivertigo DUKE1992B ; Cancer-Preventive 525 ; Cardioprotective PIL ; Circulotonic PIL ; Fibrinolytic MPP ; Hepatoprotective DUKE1992B ; Hepatotoxic PIL ; Hypocholesterolemic 50-100 mg 3x/day; Hypoglycemic DUKE1992B ; Hypolipidemic RWG:17 ; Sedative PAM ; Serotoninergic PAM ; Vasodilator M29


    Abortifacient DUKE1992B ; Antiallergic LAF351 ; Antiarrhythmic 40 mg/kg X15070161 ; Antiatherosclerotic LAF351 ; Antibacterial MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml JNP59:987 ; Anticarcinomic AJC31:37 ; Anticariogenic LAF ; Anticomplement IC40-50 0.01 mM/l gpg HH2 IC80-90 0.05 mM/l gpg HH2 ; Antiedemic IC36=40 mg/kg ipr rat DFN:159 ; Antifertility PMP24:113 ; Antigingivitic MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml JNP59:987 ; Antihepatotoxic PM56(2):173 ; AntiHIV EC50=1.7 ug/ml JNP61:1090 IC50=21.8 ug/ml; Antihyperlipidemic JE49:57 ; Antiinflammatory 40 mg/kg ipr JNP54:455 ; Antiischemic 40 mg/kg X15070161 ; Antileukemic AJC31:37 ; Antileukotriene IC50=17 uM X11085357 ; Antimalarial IC50=70-89 ug/ml PR13:115 ; Antinephritic IC50=19-24 uM X12898427 ; Antioxidant IC46=10 uM JMF5:1 BCI28:735 ; Antiperiodontic MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml JNP59:987 ; Antiperoxidant IC30=200 ug/ml JAF50:2993 ; AntiPGE2 IC50=24 uM X11085357 ; Antiplaque MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml JNP59:987 ; Antiplasmodial IC50=70-89 ug/ml PR13:115 ; Antisarcomic DUKE1992B ; Antiseptic MIC=625-1,250 ug/ml JNP59:987 ; AntiTGF-beta IC50=19-24 uM X12898427 ; Antitumor LAF351 ; Antitumor (Breast) AJC31:37 ; Antitumor (Colon) AJC31:37 ; Antitumor (Kidney) AJC31:37 ; Antitumor (Lung) AJC31:37 ; Antitumor (Pancreas) AJC31:37 ; Antiulcer >carbenoxolone PJB1(1):181 ; Antiviral EC50=1.7 ug/ml JNP61:1090 IC50=21.8 ug/ml JNP61:1090 ; Aromatase-Inhibitor FIT68:387 ; Beta-Blocker X15070161 ; Beta-Glucuronidase-Inhibitor ~100 mg/kg BO2 ; Cancer-Preventive 525 ; Cardioprotective 40 mg/kg X15070161 ; Cardiotonic; COX-2-Inhibitor IC50=295 uM/ JNP61:1212 ; Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor DUKE1992B ; Diuretic LAF ; Elastase-Inhibitor IC50=~15 uM BO2 ; Hepatoprotective ACM:211 ; Hypolipemic LAF351 ; Hypotensive X15070161 ; Immunomodulator LAF351 ; Leucocytogenic X13678231 ; NF-kB-Inhibitor X14966369 ; Phagocytotic LAF351 ; Piscicide WOI ; Prostaglandin-Synthesis-Inhibitor igs mus; Sedative LAF351 ; Uterotonic; Vasopressor X15070161


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.

    PHOSPHORUS Shoot 440 – 5,238 ppm DUKE1992A

    Antiosteoporotic DAS ; Anxiolytic WAF ; Immunostimulant DAS ; Osteogenic DAS


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    Convulsant DUKE1992B ; Hypertensive DUKE1992B ; Respirastimulant DUKE1992B


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.

    PROTEIN Shoot 26,000 – 311,000 ppm DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.


    No activity reported.

    RESIN Root: DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.

    RIBOFLAVIN Shoot 3 – 39 ppm DUKE1992A

    Antiarabiflavinotic 2-10 mg/day orl MAR ; Anticarpal-Tunnel 50 mg/day WER ; Anticataract 15 mg/day WER ; Anticephalagic PIL ; Anticervicaldysplasic 1.6-10 mg/day WAF ; Anticheilitic DUKE1992B ; Antidecubitic DUKE1992B ; Antiglossitic DAS ; Antikeratitic DUKE1992B ; AntiLyme 50 mg/day KEn ; Antimigraine DUKE1992B ; Antioxidant PIL ; Antipellagric DUKE1992B ; Antiphotophobic DAS ; Cancer-Preventive 525

    STARCH Root: DUKE1992A

    Absorbent M29 ; Antidote (Iodine) JBH ; Antinesidioblastosic M29 ; Emollient M29 ; Poultice M29

    TANNIN Root: DUKE1992A

    Anthelmintic JNP59:205 ; Antibacterial JE26:74 ; Anticancer JAF47:397 ; Anticariogenic JNP59:205 ; Antidiarrheic DUKE1992B ; Antidysenteric DUKE1992B ; Antihepatotoxic JNP59:205 ; AntiHIV JNP59:205 ; Antihypertensive JNP59:205 ; Antilipolytic JNP59:205 ; Antimutagenic DUKE1992B ; Antinephritic CPB38:1049 ; Antiophidic EMP5:363 ; Antioxidant 1/3 quercetin JAF47:397 IC50=1.44 ug/ml CPB38:1051 ; Antiradicular 1/3 quercetin JAF47:397 500 mg/kg/day orl mus CPB38:1049 ; Antirenitic CPB38:1049 ; Antitumor; Antitumor-Promoter JAF47:397 ; Antiulcer JNP59:205 ; Antiviral; Cancer-Preventive HG22:14 ; Carcinogenic AHP156 ; Chelator JNP59:205 ; Cyclooxygenase-Inhibitor JNP59:205 ; Glucosyl-Transferase-Inhibitor JNP59:205 ; Hepatoprotective DUKE1992B ; Immunosuppressant RWG29 ; Lipoxygenase-Inhibitor JNP59:205 ; MAO-Inhibitor JNP59:205 ; Ornithine-Decarboxylase-Inhibitor JNP59:205 ; Pesticide DUKE1992B ; Psychotropic CPB38:1049 ; Xanthine-Oxidase-Inhibitor JNP59:205

    THIAMIN Shoot 1 – 10 ppm DUKE1992A

    Analgesic 1-4 g/day WER ; Antialcoholic 50-100 mg/day; Antialzheimeran 100-3,000 mg/day WER ; Antianorectic JBH ; Antibackache 1-4 g/day WER ; Antiberiberi DUKE1992B ; Anticanker MPP ; Anticardiospasmic DUKE1992B ; Anticataract PIL ; Anticolitic DUKE1992B ; Antidecubitic DUKE1992B ; Antideliriant DUKE1992B ; Antidementia PIL ; Antidyspeptic PIL ; Antiencephalopathic M29 ; Antifatigue JBH ; Antigastritic JBH ; Antihangover 50 mg WAF ; Antiheartburn DUKE1992B ; Antiherpetic DUKE1992B ; AntiLyme; Antimigraine DUKE1992B ; Antimyocarditic DUKE1992B ; Antineuralgic 1-4 g/day WER ; Antineurasthenic DUKE1992B ; Antineuritic DUKE1992B ; Antineuropathic 50 mg WER ; Antipoliomyelitic DUKE1992B ; Insectifuge 75-150 mg/man/day MAR ; Neuroprotective PIL ; Pesticide DUKE1992B

    WATER Shoot 916,000 ppm; DUKE1992A

    No activity reported.

    XYLOSE Root: DUKE1992A

    Antidiabetic; Diagnostic MAR ; Dye M11

    ppm = parts per million
    tr = trace

    Ethnobotanical uses

    Phytolacca americana (PHYTOLACCACEAE)

    Alterative Steinmetz; Arthritis Eb33: 244; Bactericide* Eb31: 35; CNS stimulant Steinmetz; Cancer Hartwell, Krochmal; Cancer(Breast) Hartwell; Diuretic Nas, Takeda; Emetic Eb21: 206, Eb29: 177, Eb33: 244, Nas, Steinmetz; Eruption Krochmal; Fatality Lewis; Fever Krochmal; Laxative Steinmetz; Medicine Eb22: 333; Mitogenic* Lewis; Narcotic Steinmetz; Obesity Eb33: 244; Poison Eb29: 177, Eb33: 244, Krochmal, Steinmetz; Poultice Krochmal; Purgative Eb29: 177, Eb33: 244, FontQuer, Steinmetz; Rheumatism Eb33: 244; Skin Krochmal; Sore Krochmal; Stimulant Steinmetz; Swelling Krochmal; Syphilis Steinmetz; Tumor Hartwell; Wound Krochmal

    * = Chemical(s) found in plant shown to be effective for the ailment medicated
    ** = Plant itself shown to be effective for the ailment medicated
    Allen Hoaglund

    Nov 1

    Here is a follow up on the chemicals with surfactant properties and below that the plants with surfactant activities. I am not sure what makes a plant have a “soap” activity, but here’s a start.

    Dr. Allen
    Chemicals with Surfactant Activity


    Number of Chemicals in Plants
    with Surfactant Activity
    Acorus calamus (Calamus) Rhizome – 2 chemicals
    Citrus reticulata (Mandarin) Fruit – 2 chemicals
    Eucalyptus globulus (Blue Gum) Leaf – 2 chemicals
    Nicotiana tabacum (Tobacco) Leaf – 2 chemicals
    Ribes nigrum (Black Currant) Fruit – 2 chemicals
    Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary) Plant – 2 chemicals
    Zea mays (Corn) Silk Stigma Style – 2 chemicals
    Micromeria congesta (Kaya Yarpuzu) Leaf – 2 chemicals
    Origanum minutiflorum (Small-Flowered Oregano) Shoot – 2 chemicals
    Telosma cordata (Merrill flowers) Flower – 2 chemicals
    Achillea millefolium (Yarrow) Leaf – 1 chemicals
    Allium cepa (Onion) Bulb – 1 chemicals
    Aloysia citrodora (Lemon Verbena) Plant – 1 chemicals
    Alpinia officinarum (Chinese Ginger) Rhizome – 1 chemicals
    Angelica archangelica (Angelica) Root – 1 chemicals
    Annona muricata (Soursop) Plant – 1 chemicals
    Artemisia annua (Qinghao) Leaf – 1 chemicals
    Artemisia cina (Levant Wormseed) Flower – 1 chemicals
    Artemisia dracunculus (Tarragon) Shoot – 1 chemicals
    Artemisia herba-alba (Desert Wormwood) Plant – 1 chemicals
    Artemisia pallens (Davana) Plant – 1 chemicals

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Dr. Hoaglund – wow, that is an amazing report. No wonder I got sort of sick… LOL. I can’t even pronouce most of those chemicals.

      I am so curious, where did you get that information? It certainly could be useful for other plants.

      And thank you for the list of plants, although I can’t quite figure out how most of them would be useful for cleaning or soap… Surfactant properties is not quite the same.

      I am currently researching with a focus on plants containing saponins – which are the classic compound for soap. And, for plants with saponins that can easily be grown by the average person in their backyard.

  • Sam says:

    …a bar soap is probably the best and easiest! Homemade such as goat’s milk c/b good. There is a brand of bar shampoo–J.R.Liggett’s. 🙂

  • Marv says:

    Bobbi from “Backyard Food Production Team” requested I post this info here on this page that I got from “NaturalNews.com”:
    {I highly suggest you read this article thoroughly and carefully}

    USDA seeks to poison consumers by contaminating almonds with neurological poison — EVEN ORGANICALLY GROWN ALMONDS

    (HINT: ONE OF SIX METHODS USE TO BE USED TO FUEL DRAG-RACERS BUT WAS BANNED FOR IT’S TOXICITY AND DANGER, BUT COSTS A FRACTION OF THE OTHER FIVE METHODS. All the methods either kill or greatly diminish the life sources and nutrition out of the almonds, but PPO is poisonous and toxic. And all these methods listed in the link above are already in force, and are NOT required to be labeled. )

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      thanks for that link. Dang, you just don’t ever know about the food supply do you? Mayber we should start growing our own..

      sometimes I wonder – does the insanity with the food supply ever end?

  • Kier Skipper says:


    I enjoy reading your articles and want to share my experience, which
    differs from your post on Poke Weed. I always harvest the large leaves from the plant, wash them thoroughly with water and cut them up as if they were collards. I boil them in a pot of water for 20 minutes, drain the water and repeat the process twice, adding salt for the third boiling.

    After the third draining, I spoon the collards into a serving dish, garnish them with diced boiled eggs, pepper and chopped bacon. They are MOST delicious; similar to a collard or mustard green, but a milder taste.

    The old folks claimed that poke salad “purifies your blood.” I remember that from when I was a kid. It seems to me that poke does have potent cleansing powers. I just feel something happening in me over a couple of days when I eat poke salad. It does boost my energy, make me more awake and seems to flush out some fairly unsavory stuff. I eat it for two consecutive meals a few times a year because I believe that it works.

    In my younger days, I have picked and eaten the raw baby leaves on a dare and found that Poke definitely does have hallucinogenic effects. It’s very dangerous, somewhat frightening and definitely not recommended. Young men are often fools, are we not? My belief from testing and application is that the young leaves are very toxic. It takes only 2 or 3 to start feeling disoriented. I do believe that eating too many would cause serious problems with internal organs or even death.

    The poke berries can be boiled and stirred, mashing them against the kettle, then strained for a good dipping die or the berries can be smeared on fabric or leather with a small wooden trowel, like a putty knife, for design and detail work. I haven’t eaten the root, because I want my plants to feed me next year as well, so I really can’t offer any observations there.

    Again Marjory, I love your works and always enjoy learning from you. Talk around and see what some other folks have experienced. My grandpa told me avoid the little leaves and so far, it’s worked for over 40 years.

    Kier Skipper

    1. Marjory Wildcraft says:

      Hi Kier,

      Oh thanks for your comment. Let me clarify – I had read that the ROOTs of poke weed are very high in saponins, and they are! It was delightfully easy to get a good soapy, almost lather, going using shredded root. But the roots are also loaded with other chems in them and skin, as you know, is quite absorptive… Ayahh… LOL

      Thanks for your post.

  • Nettie Horner says:

    I wanted to ask you if you caught the survivalblog about the veggies flour. Pumpkin flour comes out real nice with a coffee grinder, also have made the tomatoe powder witch make some awesome bbq sauce my husband made. It was nice to find other uses for the veggies and be able to store the nutrition along with it. That’s my comment, keep up the good work, have be watching you oh I quess maybe 3 years now.
    Sincerely Nettie Horner of Reno nevada

  • Yvonne says:

    Here is a link to a woman who hasn’t used any kind of shampoo for five years.


    Just another idea.

    1. Hi Yvonne,

      That link didn’t work…

  • G! says:

    I now use ACV only! Love it! Hair is great! Why was I ever using shampoo or conditioner??

  • Brenda says:

    Marjory, I love your posts! My mission in life is to jolt people into realizing that we have been lied to about the safety (or lack of) in most all products. I believe we must inform others that they are eating toxic chemicals and using them on their skin and hair, and it is killing them.
    OK, off the soap box… What are your thoughts about using corn starch on the hair for a quick dry “poo” to absorb oil and freshen hair?

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