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Source: Soap Messages

Yucca "sudes" are very interesting. The Navaho use them to wash the hair off the dead to prepare them for burrial. I have tried to wash cloths in yucca on a camping trip (didn't bring enough soap) and while they got the shirt "clean" they left a slippery residue that took several machanical washing with comerical detergent to wash out. I added some soap wort to my last batch of soap. I'll test it as soon as it cures and post the result. Its supposed to increase the lather you get from home made soap. I have only, with some trepidation, started growing soapwort (Saponaria). Its an out-of-control weed in Boulder CO, where I was on sabbatical, I hope it won't do that well here in Lincoln NE. (Of course, in Boulder the landowners would've let me gather it.) We tried Yucca casually in an ecology class I taught some years ago. We peeled the "rind" off the tap root of a dead plant. The heart of the root made a lather but we didn't do much testing. The lather was sufficiently less than we're used to in shampoos that we weren't much impressed, but it was clearly "soapy". Chipping at your "soap" with a knife to get lather was also a strange experience: we figured a fresh cut would release the saponins. That was Yucca glauca in western Nebraska. By the time you get to Phoenix there are a lot of other species.
Kathleen Keeler