Botanical: Violata sororia
energetics: cool, moist
parts used: leaf, flower, root
actions: anti-inflammatory, mildly laxative, mucilage
used for: bronchitis, chronic skin conditions, constipation, urinary tract irritation
The species name for these cherished violets that are intent on growing anywhere and everywhere at the farm “sororia”, which means “sister”. It may very well be that this is why so many women feel an alliance with these sweet little heralds of spring.
Sweet violet, common violet, in the spring you will see violets sprouting up in yards, marshy places, stream-sides, and on the edges of moist forests. They are a must-have for your home health care cabinet.
There are many recorded historical journals for all the violets. As far back as 1885, a study compared violet leaf vitamin C content to that of oranges and vitamin A content to that of spinach. From the basal leaves, if collected in spring, this early research reported that violets contain twice as much vitamin C as the same weight of orange and more than twice the amount of vitamin A, gram for gram, when compared with spinach! .
Uses for Violet
The Cherokee used an infusion of violets roots to soak corn seeds in prior to planting to repel insects.
Culinary Uses of Violet
Both violet leaves and flowers are delicious in salad, as a garnish or. The leaves have a mucilaginous (slippery) quality when chewed and can be used to thicken soups and stews (think okra and gumbo). They have a mild, slightly sweet and grassy flavor,
and the earlier in the season, the more tender they are.
“Nutritionally, violets supply ample amounts of vitamin C and bioflavonoids such as rutin, making it a useful tonic to those with venous insufficiency such as hemorrhoids, spider veins, varicose veins, broken capillaries and easy bruising. They are also loaded with carotenes, the precursor to Vitamin A. Both of these important vitamins are associated with increased immune function and wound healing. Violet is a healer, you see. Violet roots reach way down into moist spring soil and pull up vital nutrients and minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. The leaves become little green vitamin tablets.”
Using Violet for Wellness
The violet’s… “long history of medicinal use begs that we give them more crucial attention and recognition.”
The violet, due to its mucilagous content, has soothing antitussive and anti-inflamatory properties.
Its saponin content gives the violet expectorant properties (think violet syrup, yum). The salicylic acid gives the plant analgesic properties. Add the methyl-calicylate, eugenol, and beta-sisosterol and you add antipyretic to the list (it can reduce fever). Want more? This mighty little beauty contains malic-acid and quercetin giving it bacteriostatic properties (prevents the growth of bacteria) This, all growing in one cocktail of a plant, beautiful!
Use violet to soothe the symptoms of bronchitis, cold, flu, asthma. It helps reduce swollen mucous membranes. Most preparations of violet can decrease coughing and reduce inflamed airways, facilitating easier breathing.
The demulcent (soothing) properties of the mucilage in violet is helpful for gastroduodenal ulcers and gastritis, helping to reduce inflammation of gastric mucosa. An infusion of one teaspoon dried flowers for a cup of water. Drink two cups per day.
Violet is a mild herb with many uses. The malic acid exercises a mild laxative effect and can help with constipation.
Activity of Violet
- Acids: ferulic-acid, sinapic-acid (plant) malic-acid (flowers) Octenoic-acid, octylic-acid, palmitic-acid, propionic acid (leaves)
- Alkaloids: scopoletin (plant) odoratine (roots), violin (flowers and roots)
- Flavonoids: quercetin (plant), routine (flowers)
- Saponins: (roots)
- Mucilages: (plant)
- Methyl salicylate (essential oil)
- Alchohols: eugenol, nonadienol (flowers and leaves) nonadienal, octadienol, benzyl-alcohol (flowers) beta-siosterol (plant)
- Ketones: parmone (flowers)
Video!Violets are a beautiful and useful herb. Listen in while Jessie Conaway, Brigitte Mars, Mary Bove and Matthew Wood talk about this spring bloomer.
GRAS – No side effects or drug interactions have been reported for violets. There are no reported risks for pregnancy or lactation that are noted . Enjoy your violet tea!
If you are blue
You’re lover, untrue
Violets might be the herb for you.
~ Brigitte Mars
- Photo Credit, 2016 Keir Morse, http://calphotos.berkeley.edu/
- Erichsen-Brown, Charlotte. (1979) Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants; a Historical Survey with Special Reference to the Eastern Indian Tribes. Dover Publications. New York.
- “Viola! Violets!” Sarah P April 5, 2012 https://theradiclereview.com/tag/medicinal-uses-of-violet/
- Violet’s Edible and Medicinal Uses, Juliet Blankespoor http://chestnutherbs.com/violets-edible-and-medicinal-uses/
- Rachel Ross, http://hillsideherbals.com Article, “The Virtues of Violets – Medical Uses of Violets” https://theherbalacademy.com/ April 29, 2014
- Brinker, Francis. (2010) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines. Fourth Edition. Eclectic Medical Publications, Sandy, Oregon.
- Appell, Scott D. The Ethnobotanical Uses of the Genus Viola by Native Americans. The Violet Gazette, Summer 2000, B1=3, P4.