Heartsease (Viola tricolor)
A common garden flower, heartsease, also known as viola, Love-Lies-Bleeding, Love-in-Idleness and Johnny Jump-Up pansy, is familiar to most people. Its cheery purple, yellow and white blossom makes its appearance in spring and will happily bloom all summer long. The flower will come up again the following year in areas with mild winters. It can reseed itself in colder areas and will happily spread throughout the garden. This little flower was once believed to be a potent love charm, and was a common ingredient in love potions. It is mentioned in William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" as one of the ingredients Oberon needs for the love potion he wants to apply to Titania's eyes.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally As a herbal remedy it is useful for rheumatism, bronchitis and whooping cough. It is a natural expectorant and its mucilage soothes the chest. This herb has also been beneficial when treating cystitis and painful urination. It also helps reduce atherosclerosis and high blood pressure. It is mildly laxative and diuretic. Heartsease has been used to treat gout and rheumatoid arthritis. There have been some experiments with using heartsease to treat hantavirus.
Externally Heartsease is used most frequently for skin problems like eczema, acne and psoriasis. It is also gentle enough to be used for cradle cap in babies. It is anti-inflammatory, which makes it a good choice for treating arthritis. This herb can be used to prevent bruising and broken capillaries.
Other Uses The herb is dried and used decoratively on greeting cards and other designs using flat, dried flowers. It is still used ornamentally in many gardens. It is also used as a flower remedy for those who feel hurt or rejected, lonely or broken-hearted. It heals emotional pain, specifically related to betrayal.
Herbs to Combine/Supplement
To treat lung conditions, combine with coltsfoot. For skin troubles, mix with nettles, cleavers or red clover. For cystitis, blend with buchu or couchgrass.
Aerial parts The aerial portion of the plant is used medicinally.
There are no known contraindications for heartsease. It is not known whether this herb will interact with prescription medications or not.
Preparation and Dosage
The plant is harvested from March to August, during the main growing season. To make a heartsease infusion, put 1 teaspoon of dried herb into 1 cup of boiling water and let it infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink the strained liquid three times per day. For a tincture, the usual dose is 1 to 2 ml of tincture three times per day.