Sweet Violet (Viola odorata, or English Violet)
Sweet violets are usually the harbingers of spring. The cheery little faces and heart-shaped leaves of the violets peek around stones and grasses adding color and fragrance to bright spring days. A favorite in England, violets have long been symbols of love and fertility. Pliny advised that a garland of violets worn on the head would ward off dizziness and headaches.
Key Medicinal Uses
Internally Sweet violet tincture can be used for disorders of the digestive and respiratory systems. It is also useful for urinary issues and fragile capillaries. An infusion can be taken as an immune and circulatory system stimulant. It is also effective for chronic skin disorders.
Violets make a gentle expectorant for coughs, so are often added to syrups or infusions to help with colds and flu. They also induce a light sweating, so it can help with fever as well. The root is a much stronger expectorant, and when used in large doses, can help induce vomiting. In Britain, the leaves and flowers are used to treat stomach and breast cancer.
Violets are slightly laxative, and are safe enough to give to infants for constipation. The seeds are diuretic. Historically, the herb was used for headaches, to ease the temper and dizziness. In fact, violets contain salicylic acid, which is a type of natural aspirin, so it does have the ability to relieve pain and act as a light sedative.
Externally Sweet violet poultices can be applied to sores and ulcers on the skin. A cream can be applied to rashes and eczema. A wash can be used topically for diaper rash, cradle cap and insect bites, varicose ulcers and weeping sores. Violets can be added to the bath to soothe the skin and relax the mind due to the aromatherapy qualities of the herb.
Other Uses Violet can be made into a light, refreshing jelly. The flowers can be crystallized and added to confections and baked goods. Fresh flowers and leaves can be added to salads.
Leaves, flowers, roots The leaves, flowers and roots are all used medicinally.
Large doses may cause nausea or vomiting.
Preparation and Dosage
The aerial parts can be made into infusions, tinctures, poultices, creams and washes.
To make an infusion, pour one cup of boiling water over one teaspoonful of the herb. Infuse for 10 to 15 minutes. This herbal tea can be taken three times per day.
For a tincture, 1 to 2 ml of tincture can be taken three times per day.