EARTH Professor Dr. Arce instructs intern Ashley Kissick (TN) and Alison Pankey (MI, not pictured) on how to make soap from plant leaves.
Dr. Jorge Arce taught US students one of the many uses of medicinal plants through a fun after-class participatory demonstration: how to make soap. The students helped Dr. Arce select leaves from EARTH’s medicinal garden, extracted the oils, and then listened to Dr. Arce explain the benefits each plant species throughout the process.
“We chose these specific plants [to make the soap] because they are common in Costa Rica and because they are good for [the] skin,” explains Dr. Arce.
The students extracted oils from rosemary, lemon, juanilama, oregano, peppermint, gotas de maifer, and guanabana leaves. Examples of these plants’ benefits that these students learned about is the use of juanilama, a plant native to Costa Rica, to help with digestive problems, and the use of the guanabana plant to heal skin eruptions.
Based on which benefits they wanted from the plants and the scents of the plants, the students chose which plant leaves to put in their soap.
Now that is what EARTH calls good, clean fun!