Soapwort herb, Red (Saponariae rubrae herba)

Published April 27, 1989.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Saponariae rubrae herba, soapwort herb.

Composition of Drug

Soapwort herb consists of the dried, above-ground parts of Saponaria officinalis L. [Fam. Caryophyllaceae], as well as preparations thereof.


Red soapwort preparations are used as an expectorant for cough and other diseases of the respiratory tract, as an emetic, laxative, for ailments of the gastrointestinal tract, for liver and kidney diseases, as a diuretic, a diaphoretic, for metabolic modifications.

Externally, soapwort preparations are used for compresses, baths and washing of lichen, skin rashes and other afflictions of the skin.

The effectiveness for the claimed applications is not sufficiently substantiated.


At higher concentrations, triterpene saponins from S. officinalis cause irritation of mucous membranes. Higher dosages used for external application may also lead to irritations.


Since the effectiveness for the claimed applications is not sufficiently documented, and especially since the dosage indications are missing, a therapeutic administration for the respiratory tract and skin cannot be recommended.

The use for the other applications is not justifiable.