pansiesandteddy
7 May 2015

A Family Herb: Violet Plant

Violet plants are a pure delight for the senses, enchanting children and adults alike with their lovely, sweet-smelling purple flowers and precious, bright green heart-shaped leaves. A seasonal springtime flower, violets are often among the first plants to peek their little flowering heads up towards the sun. Gather the flowers in the spring and enjoy the leaves throughout the growing season.

From the smaller wild plants with sweet little flowers and leaves to the larger garden pansies, violas comprise a large group of useful plants. Most well known and commonly used among herbalists are the fragrant sweet violet (Viola odorata) and colorful heartsease (V. tricolor). Both of these herbs have captured the hearts of people and been used for centuries as herbal remedies during all stages of life.

Violet For The Family

Violet’s Useful Actions

The helpful violet is a gentle yet powerful plant ally. It is considered cooling, nutritive, demulcent, alternative, febrifuge, nervine and analgesic. What does this mean for you? How can you use violet to help your family be as healthy and happy as possible?

Use violet as a nourishing food that the whole family can enjoy. The leaves are chock full of healthful vitamins and minerals. Most noteworthy are high amounts of vitamin A and C. In fact, the leaves are said to contain “264 mg of ascorbic acid (a component of vitamin C) and 20,000 IU of vitamin A” per 100 grams of leaves (Weed, 1989). The beautiful edible flowers are also full of vitamin C and are lovely addition to any meal.

Use violet to help encourage healing and provide comfort during illness accompanied by heat and dryness. When chewed, the leaves release a slightly slippery mucilage that is soothing and moisturizing to mucus membranes of the digestive, respiratory, and urinary tracts. This makes violet a wonderful demulcent used internally as an infusion or syrup for helping out when someone in your family needs a bit of help dealing with stomach ache, constipation, scratchy throat, dry cough, and painful urinary infections.

Violet Helps Soothe Headaches and Sadness

The cooling nature of violet helps to ease inflammation and provide relief during fevers, illness and headaches accompanied by heat when used internally. You can also use violet topically as a poultice or compress to help cool down hot inflammation of skin issues such as wounds, sores, and eczema as well as for helping to cool fevers, sore eyes, and even mastitis (Weed, 1989).

Use violet to provide comfort during times of emotional upheaval. Violet tends to the heart, helping to comfort those dealing with heartache and grief. “The leaf and flower calm the physical and emotional heart” (Mars, 2002). Children and adults who are sad, anxious, or tense will find violet to be a cooling friend that helps to soothe heated emotions and nerves. Symptoms of stress such as headaches including migraines and even insomnia can be helped by kind violet (McIntyre, 1996).

Enjoy reading even more about violet here: The Virtues Of Violets: Health Benefits Of Violets.

How to use violet for the family

Invite Violet To Join Your Family At The Table

Use violet’s delicious leaves in place of or in addition to other green leafy vegetables by adding them to your salads, soups, and steamed or sautéed greens. The flowers make a beautiful edible garnish for salads, on top of cakes, and even blended into butters and cheeses.

Violet Leaf Soup

Adapted from Jean Craighead George

Ingredients

4 cups fresh violet leaves
1 chopped onion
1 to 2 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to taste
Violet flowers and leaves for garnish

Directions
  • Melt the butter in a pot and add the violet leaves, garlic, and onion.
  • Cover and cook until the onions are soft.
  • Carefully add the stock and heat.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • At this point, if you wish, you can blend the soup with an immersion blender or in a countertop blender.
  • Pour into bowls, garnish with a few violet flowers and serve hot!

Enjoy Violet Beverages

You can also make simple tasty drinks from violet. Violet infusion can be drunk regularly as a healthful addition to your family’s diet. To make, place a big handful of fresh or dried leaves in a quart jar. Cover with just boiled water and leave to infuse for anywhere from 15 minutes to 8 hours. The longer you leave it to steep, the more vitamins and minerals will be extracted. Then strain out the leaves. Make your infusion tasty by drinking it hot or cold. You can even add juice or honey if you wish. Dilute the infusion for children with water or juice.

Visit A Kid’s Herbal Pharmacy to learn more about making infusions for kids and read the parent note for dosage information.

Make another lovely drink by infusing fresh violet blossoms in water. To make, place fresh, clean blossoms in a jar or pitcher. Cover with water and wait for at least 30 minutes before straining and drinking. This is a beautiful way to enjoy violets together as a family.

Violet The Family: How to use violet with your family

Keep Violet In Your Medicine Cabinet

Be sure to make and stock up on violet remedies during the growing season.   Harvest and dry your own violet leaves to have on hand for making nourishing infusions and to lend a helping hand during times of need. You can also purchase dried violet leaf here.

Violet and heartsease flowers make wonderful glycerite tincture that can be used by children.

Violet leaves also make a lovely infused massage oil to use on hot, inflamed skin and as a wonderful breast massage oil for superior self-care.

Use the flowers to make an herbalist favorite, violet flower infused honey. This honey is not only incredibly tasty, it is perfect for soothing children’s coughs and sore throats. A sweet spoonful of violet flower honey is perfect for soothing a grieving heart, too. Learn how to make your own fresh violet flower honey with this infused honey tutorial.

Violet Grief and Head Ease

Recipe adapted from Susun S. Weed

Ingredients

1 cup honey
½ to ¾ cup of water
1½ cups violet leaf and flower
Juice and zest of one organic lemon

Directions
  • Blend all ingredients in a blender.
  • Freeze into serving size portions. An ice cube tray works wonderfully for this.
  • Use for easing grief, headaches, coughs, and constipation.

How to use violas for familly health

Using Violet Safely

For some folks, violet leaves can cause externally itching and irritation of the skin (Weed, 1989). The roots and seeds can be toxic in large amounts. Please enjoy violet’s leaves and flowers!

Violet is just one of many plants that can be part of your family’s healthy lifestyle. Enjoy learning more about herbalism with our online Introductory and Intermediate courses in herbalism!

REFERENCES

Drucker, Ann. (2000). Unpublished Class Notes: Making Medicine In The Wise Woman Tradition. Colorado: Rocky Mountain Center For Botanical Studies.
George, Jean Craighead. (1982). The Wild, Wild Cookbook. New York: Thomas Y. Crowell.
Mars, Brigitte. (2002). Sex, Love & Health. New Jersey: Basic Health Publications.
McIntyre, Anne. (1996). Flower Power. London: Gaia Books.
Weed, Susun S. (1989). Healing Wise. New York: Ash Tree Publishing.

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