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The Best Leaves To Use Instead Of Toilet Paper

Short on bogroll? Your garden may hold some much-needed relief.

Panic over coronavirus may have caused borders to close, whole regions to self-isolate, and the stock market to tank, but here in Australia the biggest problem most of us have had to face is:

What the hell are we going to use to wipe our bum?
Image result for dog wipe bum on grass gif
Dogs have had the answer for years: plant-life. (via Gfycat)

To the rescue: the Hills Herbal Collective, a Victorian group of botanically-minded folks, who have suggested some leaves that might do the trick just as well as Sorbent.

They first posted the message late last week, but with supermarket shelves still being emptied as soon as they are filled, the gardeners’ advice is still as timely as ever.

Gotta do something with this massive haul.
Gotta do something with this massive haul.

So if you’re short of toilet paper, or if the virus apocalypse truly is upon us, here are three leaves that you can rely upon to clean up the messiest of symptoms.

Presenting the new toilet paper aisle. (Image: Hills Herbal Collective via Facebook)
Presenting the new toilet paper aisle. (Image: Hills Herbal Collective via Facebook)

Their number one choice is Mullein (Verbascum thapsis), which they described as “the most obvious choice of bog roll replacement, given its large, thick fluffy leaves that are absorbent and don’t tear easily. It's better than those fancy quadruple-ply aloe-infused toilet papers but grows easily as a weed in gardens and parks almost everywhere.”

But – there’s a warning: “Some people find the hairs on the leaves a bit irritating to their skin, so it's probably a good idea to do a patch test on a not-so-sensitive area first.”

If mullein gives you the irrits, the silky lamb's ear (Stachys byzantina) may be a better option. It even sounds like a brand of toilet paper, or possibly fabric softener.

“Lamb's ear has delightfully soft furry leaves that are gentle on your skin and will feel like you're wiping with, umm, well, the ear of a baby animal (without harming any furry creatures!). Its leaves are on the narrow side, so you may need to use a decent handful or two.”

But when you’re all out of lamb’s ear, why not try mallow (Malva neglecta)? It’s another plant name that leaves us chilled-out and refreshed. (Unless you use its other common name, marshmallow weed. Slightly less friendly.)

“Common mallow has soft leaves that are broad, durable and won't tear, but the larger ones tend to get a bit leathery and rough so opt for medium sized leaves. Mallow has the added bonus of demulcent qualities, so give the leaves a bit of a scrunch before using for some added skin soothing effects.”

I’ll admit I had to look up “demulcent” but that means it relieves inflammation or irritation. Bonus! I’ll never call you a weed again, friendly aloe-vera-esque toilet paper plant.

Nick Bhasin

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Commenters offered some other suggestions.

“Coltsfoot is a good size for a larger posterior,” one offered.

“And for a more 'chimney sweep' clean out and Man size leaf wipe you can't go past Gunnera manicata,” wrote another.

Another alternative is to use large trees such as pine. When chopped down and pulped, they can be pressed into fine sheets which are actually quite pleasant to wipe your bottom with.

Another irresponsible toilet paper waster.
Another irresponsible toilet paper waster.