Everyone loves to eat strawberries, but have you ever washed with them? One of the great benefits of natural soap is that during the soap making process, the opportunity exists to get all of the health benefits of your favorite fruits and herbs into soap-not to mention the beautiful colors and scents.
Strawberry soap is a form of natural cold process soap where strawberry extract and sometimes strawberry seeds are added to soap as the soap hardens. Unlike manufactured soap, which is often hot process-meaning that the process of making soap involves constant high temperatures which can denature the beneficial natural chemicals in strawberries-natural cold process soap keeps the natural health benefits of the strawberry fruit intact, but suspended in the solid soap. That means that most of the Vitamins and minerals in the fruit remain in the soap for months.
Strawberries are extremely high in Vitamins C and K as well as pantothenic acid, Vitamin B1, folic acid, and iodine. They also contain high levels of antioxidants, which are known to fight cancer (in fact, strawberries contain compounds that have been shown it inhibit COX enzymes in vitro) and to fight chronic disease as well as providing numerous other health benefits. Strawberries have also been linked to effecting blood vessels, lipoproteins, and platelets in ways that can improve your health. Numerous studies have shown that daily intake of strawberries can bring down the chance of cancer and even the growth of cancerous tissue. Free radicals, which have been shown to contribute to joint problems and arthritis, have also been shown to be reduced by the antioxidants found in strawberries.
Not to mention, strawberries give natural soap a lovely red color that ranges from pink to deep maroon based on the amount of extract used in making the strawberry soap. Strawberries contain phytonutrients, or naturally occurring chemicals, called anthocyanins that combine with sugar to give strawberries a rich red color. This explains why strawberries are red when ripe-because the anthocyanins are colorless at first until the plant starts producing sugar. The sugar then links to the chemical inside the fruit and is responsible for the chemical reaction that turns strawberries red. Compounds from the same family make blueberries blue and grapes purple.
When picking out a strawberry soap, be sure to look closely at the label. Most drug store variety strawberry soaps actually do not contain strawberries, but only strawberry fragrance (which is often not even natural strawberry fragrance, by a synthetic chemical that may actually have health risks). Most manufactured soaps that contain natural strawberries are hot processes, which removes many of the beneficial properties of strawberries by heating the soap to high temperatures. Others contain high levels of synthetic preservatives. The benefit for big manufacturers is that their strawberry soap lasts much longer on the shelf. Unfortunately, that means that the consumer-you!-don't get all the natural benefits of washing with strawberries in your soap.
One of the best qualities of cold process natural soap is that the compounds in natural extracts are retained in the soap, so even when strawberries go out of season you can still get all the great health benefits year round by choosing a strawberry soap.