Mostly purple but when you hear of violet you probably think of the shades of purple and not the blossoming herb that we will get to know here. They are not just pleasant to smell and look at, but those attributes help to draw us closer to examine the wonderful benefits of violets. There are about 600 species of violets worldwide. In the U.S, you can find about 60 species of violets including the Pansy and bloom in early spring. Fun Fact: Violets are the state flowers of Illinois and Wisconsin. Another interesting fact is that the African Violet is not in the family of Violets. It belongs to the Gesneriaceae family, native to Tanzania; do not try to eat these. Some violets are edible, some are endangered and some are poisonous.
Let’s get into the thick of it on the benefits of Violets. They have been around for centuries being cultivated for their robust medicinal abilities by Europeans. These mostly edible flowers are quite nutritious, packing a huge punch with their levels of vitamins A and C. Half cup of violets can carry more vitamin C than three oranges (Nebraska Herbal Society). Double the amount of vitamin A of spinach by the same weight! (Erichsen-Brown, 1979). Perfect example of never judging the book by its cover.
The leaves and blossoms can be harvested to make syrup, tea or for food. You’ll find violet syrup around flu and cold season as it is used to soothe coughs, sore throats and swollen lymph nodes. Great treatment for bronchitis as violets are expectorants. This allows mucous to pass easily out the body through the airways. Another possible, highly probable benefit of violets is that they may dissolve cysts, lumps and fibrous tissue of the breast. They increase lymph circulation. Matter of fact cysts throughout the body. There is a history of native Americans using violets to treat cancer. This is also known by the National Cancer Institute. (Erichsen-Brown, 1979).
The blooms and leaves are said to improve memory, calm nerves and ease restlessness. You can achieve this by making a tea with the leaves, blossoms or both. Anti-inflammatory propertities may help joint pain and ease symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. Also ease dry skin and eczema. The same it may help ease haemorrhoids, by making a poultice or add violet oil to your bath water. Remember, oil makes surfaces slippery, so be extra cautious if you go this route. While we are on oil, you will find the very expensive violet essential oil also called violet leaf absolute available for purchase. The cost of violet essential is so great, infusing your own honey, oil, water or vinegars will be much more cost effective.
You can harvest your own fresh violets if you are comfortable in how to identify them or you can purchase violet leaves from herbal suppliers like Mountain Rose Herbs. You will find the blooms as beautiful decorations on cakes and lovely addition to a fresh spring green salad.
To recap the mighty punch of violets:
Softens callous skin
I will post a few violet home recipes for syrup, infusions and poultice to my Instagram. Please share with someone who may need some great information or comment below with any questions.
*Please consult with your physician before starting any herbal remedies*