Violet Herb Photos by Karen
Bergeron Copyright 2000
Other Names: Ordinary violet, Common blue
violet, Sweet violet, Garden violet
Habitat Violets are European
perennials. They are now naturalized throughout
North America, and can be found growing in most
any soil or situation. CultivationViolets are
easily cultivated through root cuttings or
seeds. With over 900 species, plant
identification to the exact is an expertise in
itself. However all have practically the same
medicinal and edible herb values.
Description The heart shaped leaves often with
scalloped or slightly serrated edges are dark
green, smooth or sometimes downy underneath,
and grow in a rosette at the base of the plant.
Roots are creeping and send out runners.
Depending on soil and light the flowers may be
from deep purple or blue to pinkish or even
yellow whitish. All have 5 petals, which may
have a yellow (fur) or beard on the inside of
two of the petals, blooming from March to June.
Gather flowers in full bloom, leaves anytime,
and rootstock in fall. Dry root for later use.
Properties Medicinal and edible,
the flowers and leaves of viola are made into a
syrup used in alternative medicine mainly for
respiratory ailments associated with congestion,
coughing, and sore throat. Flowers are also
edible and used as food additives for instance in
salad, made into jelly, and candied for
decoration. Large doses of the root contain an
alkaloid called violine which is emetic (causing
vomiting). A decoction made from the root (dry
herb) is used as a laxative. Tea made from the
entire plant is used to treat digestive disorders
and new research has detected the presence of a
glycoside of salicylic acid (natural aspirin)
which substantiates its use for centuries as a
medicinal remedy for headache, body pains and as
a sedative. The plants constituents are being
studied and show these uses to be valid. Eugenol,
Ferulic-acid, Kaempferol, Quercetin, Scopoletin,
also show promise in the treatment of many kinds
of cancer, arthritis, AIDS, gum disease and more.
Used externally the fresh crushed leaves reduce
swelling and soothe irritations. As a bath
additive the fresh crushed flowers are soothing
to the skin and the aroma is very
relaxing.Folklore The Ancient Greeks
considered the Violet a symbol of fertility and
love, they used it in love potions. Pliny
recommended that a garland of them be worn about
the head to ward off headaches and dizzy spells.
RecipesSyrup: Pour 1 pint of boiling water over
1 cup packed, of fresh crushed flowers and
leaves cover and let stand for 12 hours. Strain
and squeeze through cloth, add 2 lb. of sugar
and boil for 1 hour or until syrupy. Store in
glass jar. Give 1 tbs. -1 tsp. for children 2
or 3 times a day.
Tea: Steep ? cup dried or fresh herb in 1 cup
of water for 10 min. stain, flavor to taste.
Take in ? cup doses twice a day.
Article by Deb Jackson & Karen Bergeron
Next > Watercress