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The Humble, Healthful Violet

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The Humble, Healthful Violet

Not long ago, the humble Violet was among the most important plants in the Appalachian Mountains.  After long, cold winters of eating salted, dried and smoked foods, the first edible greens and flowers of spring were essential to prevent scurvy.  Even for those who made sauerkraut and dried apples something fresh was desired   Vitamins were needed, fiber was needed.  Violets and other spring plants were known as “blood cleansers” and were essential to prevent sickness.  The Violet is a widespread family of plants with around 600 varieties!  Everywhere these cheerful little plants grow, they have found traditional use as both food and herbal medicine.  While the flowers are generally violet/purple they vary in color dramatically, from white to the Viola tricolor (one of my favorite flowers), which are known as Johnny Jump Ups, Heartsease or Pansy.

Violets are mentioned in much of the earliest recorded information on Herbs.  Homer mentions violets as being used in ancient Greece to moderate anger. Theophrastus mentions Violet as an herb of Zeus and discussed it use in garlands.  Pliny the Elder gives us “Seventeen Remedies Derived from the Violet”:

There are both wild and cultivated violets. The purple violet is of a cooling nature: for inflammations they are applied to the stomach in the burning heats, and for pains in the head they are applied to the forehead. Violets, in particular, are used for defluxions of the eyes, prolapsus of the fundament and uterus, and suppurations. Worn in chaplets upon the head, or even smelt at, they dispel the fumes of wine and headache ; and, taken in water, they are a cure for quinsy. The purple violet, taken in water, is a remedy for epilepsy, in children more particularly,  violet seed is good for the stings of scorpions.

On the other hand, the flower of the white violet opens suppurations, and the plant itself disperses them. Both the white and the yellow violet check the menstrual discharge, and act as diuretics. When fresh gathered, they have less virtue, and hence it is that they are mostly used dry, after being kept a year. The yellow violet, taken in doses of half a cyathus to three eyathi of water, promotes the catamenia; and the roots of it, applied with vinegar, assuage affections of the spleen, as also the gout. Mixed with myrrh and saffron, they are good for inflammation of the eyes. The leaves, applied with honey, cleanse ulcerous sores of the head, and, combined with rerate, they are good for chaps of the fundament and other moist parts of the body. Employed with Vinegar, they effect the cure of. abscesses.

Dioscorides wrote of Violet as “Ion”:

Ion has a leaf smaller than cissus, thinner and darker; and little stalks in the midst (from the root) on which is a little flower, very sweet, of a purple. It grows in shady rough places. It is cooling, so that the leaves (applied by themselves or with polenta) help a burning stomach, inflammation of the eyes, and prolapse of the perineum. A decoction of the purple part of the flower (taken as a drink with water) helps the synanchic [abscessed throat], and epilepsy of children. It is also called dasypodion, priapeion, wild violet, or cybelion; the Romans call it setialis, some, muraria, or viola purpurea.

Violet was much used in the Monastic Medicine of the Middle Ages, but was not included in the Officina, probably because it grew too commonly in the wild to require cultivation in the Physick Gardens from which the monks and nuns sourced most of their herbs.  Saint Hildegard recommended violets infused in oil, applied to the eyelids before sleeping for foggy eyes. She recommended violets infused in wine for melancholy and aching lungs. For a heavy head or kidneys (likely a dull ache), she recommends violets infused in fat as a salve -violets contain salicin, which is the origin of aspirin.

Fr. Kneipp wrote of Violet:

This pretty little fragrant spring-flower shall fill our apotheca also with its salutary perfume. When, in the beginning of spring-time, the children get bad coughs in consequence of the  frequent changes in the weather, the anxious mother boils a handful of green or dried violet  leaves in half a pint of water, and gives the children two or three spoonfuls of such tea every two or three hours. (The roots of the plant may be used too; but they must be crushed before boiling.)

Adults are cured of whooping-cough by taking a cup of this tea three times a day. It likewise  relieves the cough of consumptive people and assists in loosening the phlegm. It serves as a medicine and should be taken as such, i.e. three to five table- spoonfuls every two or three hours.

This tea serves farther against headache and great heat in the head. A piece of linen is moistened with violet-leaf-tea and bound across the forehead; or better still, the head, especially the back  of the head, is washed with such a decoction.

For a swollen throat this tea is a tested gargle; at the same time the throat bandage may be applied dipped in the decoction instead of pure water.

Those who suffer from difficulty in breathing, which, however, is more the result of gathered gasses and morbid matters in the stomach and bowels, should undertake a little course of violettea, i.e. they should drink daily for some time two larger or smaller cups of this tea.

Crushed violet -leaves bound as a compress on inflamed tumours have a cooling effect; if boiled in vinegar, they will heal gout.

Rejoice at the fragrance and the lovely blue colour of many a little bunch of violets; but keep also a little supply of this medicinal herb in your home - dispensary, that it may still breathe its fragrance for those who are sick, at a time when the little spring flower has long since faded

Brother Aloysius likewise recommended Violet, “Sweet Violet ( Viola odorata) - Used for lung disorders, measles, scarlet fever, smallpox, throat infections and podagra.”

Violet’s popularity was by no means confined to the Germanic nations.  In Poland, according to Sophie Hodorowicz Knab, Violet was included in the head wreaths worn by virgins before marriage, which is a very important tradition there.  She tells us, "A decoction of violets is ingested like a tea for whooping cough.  For a cold, gather leaves of violet with the dew still on them; boil and drink.”

In Russia, according to Igor Vilevich Zevin, Viola tricolor is called “Anuta’s eyes because the petals appear to be the laughing eyes of a happy young lady.”:

An infusion of the herb is a good remedy for treating acute respiratory diseases like bronchitis and whooping cough.  It also tends to reduce inflammation of the trachea.  Pansy is also useful for inflammation of the urinary tract and is a common folk remedy for treating kidney stones.  A pansy infusion is an effective remedy for treating inflammations of the gastrointestinal tract and is used to treat symptoms of dysentery.  Russian herbalists also prescribe pansy infusions for treating atherosclerosis, arthritis, joint inflammation (especially rheumatism), gout, rickets in children, and as a preventative remedy for people who have previously suffered heart attacks.

Dentists prescribe a pansy gargle for inflammations of the mouth from periodontal disease.  Retaining a mouthful of pansy gargle for several minutes is often recommended for relieving toothache.

In folk medicine, pansy tea is taken internally for cough.  Pansy washes and compresses are widely used to treat a variety of skin diseases, including itching, eczema, psoriasis, allergic dermatitis. Blackheads and furunculosis.

The Ashkenazi Jews, who spread much herbal knowledge throughout Central Europe, several varieties of Violet seem to have been preferred.  Deatra Cohen and Adam Seigel tell us in Ashkenazi Herbalism:

Viola Mirabilis.  A decoction or infusion of the whole plant or only the leaves and flowers was used for treatment of heart trouble, palpitations and shortness of breath by folk healers in Lachovitz, Polona, Makhnivke and Barditchev.  The remedy book of Yoel Ba’al Shem also summons the root of the violet in his recipe for coughs, shortness of breath and heart pains.”

Viola Hirata.  In Barditchev and Letichev, a decoction of the entire plant including roots was given in cases of heart trouble and shortness of breath.  THis remedy is further confirmed by a separate study of the Podolia region that includes Letichev.  Descendants of Leitchev’s inhabitants note that wild pansy or Viola tricolor, was looked to by community healers as a remedy for heart palpitations and coughs.

Viola Epipsila.  A decoction of the plant was given by folks healers for the treatment of heart diseases in the community of Ulanov.

Violoa Riviania.  In Ba zilia traditional healers gave and infusion of the herb’s leaves and flowers for the relief of heart pain.

In the British Herbal Tradition, Violet finds much use.  Gerard wrote of 21 varieties of Violet and false Violets!  Of Violets specifically, he said:

There might be described many kinds of flowers under this name of violets if their differences should be more curiously looked into than is necessary: for we might join hereunto the stock Gillyflowers, the Wallflowers, Dame's Gillyflowers, Marian's Violets, and likewise some of the bulbed flowers, because some of them by Theophrastus are termed Violets. But this was not our charge, holding it sufficient to distinguish and divide them as near as may be in kindred and neighbourhood; addressing myself unto the Violets called the black or purple violets, or March violets of the garden, which have a great prerogative above others, not only because the mind conceiveth a certain pleasure and recreation by smelling and handling of those most odoriferous flowers, but also for that very many by these Violets receive ornament and comely grace: for there be made of them garlands for the head, nose-gays, and posies, which are delightful to look on, and pleasant to smell to, speaking nothing of their appropriate virtues; yea gardens themselves receive by these the greatest ornament of all, chiefest beauty and most pliant grace; and the recreation of the mind which is taken hereby, cannot be but very good and honest: for they admonish and stir up a man to that which is comely and honest; for flowers through their beauty, variety of colour, and exquisite form, do bring to a liberal and gentle manly mind, the rememberance of honesty, comeliness, and all kinds of virtues. For it would be an unseemly and filthy thing (as a certain wise man saith) for him that doth look upon and handle fair and beautiful things, and who frequenteth and is conversant in fair and beautiful places, to have his mind not fair, but filthy and deformed.

The Temperature.

           The flowers and leaves of the Violets are cold and moist.

The Virtues.

           A. The flowers are good for all inflammations, especially of the sides and lungs; they take away the hoarseness of the chest, the ruggedness of the windpipe and jaw, allay the extreme heat of the liver, kidney, and bladder; mitigate the fiery heat of burning agues; temper the sharpness of choler, and take away thirst.

           B. There is an oil made of Violets, which is likewise cold and moist. The same being anointed upon the testicles, doth gently provoke sleep which is hindered by a hot and dry distemper: mixed or laboured together in a wooden dish with the yolk of an egg, it assuageth the pain of the fundament and hæmorrhoids: it is likewise good to be put into cooling clysters, and into poultices that cool and ease pain.

           C. But let the oil in which the Violets be steeped be either of unripe olives, called omphacinum, or of sweet Almonds, as Mesues saith, and the Violets themselves must be fresh and moist: for being dry, and having lost their moisture, they do not cool, but seem to have gotten a kind of heat.

           D. The later physicians do think it good to mix dry Violets with medicines that are to comfort and strengthen the heart.

           E. The leaves of Violets inwardly taken do cool, moisten, and make the belly soluble. Being outwardly applied, they mitigate all kind of hot inflammations, both taken by themselves, and also applied with Barley flour dried at the fire, after it hath lain soaking in the water. They are likewise laid upon a hot stomach, and on burning eyes, as Galen witnesseth. Dioscorides writeth, that they be moreover applied to the fundament that is fallen out.

           F. They may help the fundament that is fallen out, not as a binder keeping back the fundament, but as a suppler and a mollifier. Besides, Pliny saith that Violets are as well used in garlands, as smelt unto; and are good against surfeiting, heaviness of the head; and being dried in water and drunk, they remove the squinancy or inward swellings of the throat. They cure the falling sickness, especially in young children, and the seed is good against the stinging of scorpions.

           G. There is a syrup made of Violets and Sugar, whereof three or four ounces being taken at one time, soften the belly, and purge choler. The manner to make it is as followeth.

           H. First make of clarified sugar by boiling a simple syrup of a good consistence or mean thickness, whereunto put the flowers clean picked from all manner of filth, as also the white ends nipped away, a quantity according to the quantity of the syrup, to your own discretion, wherein let them infuse or steep four and twenty hours, and set upon a few warm embers; then strain it, and put more Violets into the same syrup: thus do three or four times, the oftener the better; then set them upon a gentle fire to simmer, but not to boil in any wise: so have you it simply made of a most perfect purple colour, and of the smell of the flowers themselves. Some do add thereto a little of the juice of the flowers in the boiling, which maketh it of better force and virtue. Likewise some do put a little quantity of the juice of lemons in the boiling, which doth greatly increase the beauty thereof; but nothing at all the virtue.

           I. There is likewise made of Violets and sugar certain plates called sugar violet, or violet tables, or plate, which is most pleasant and wholesome, especially it comforteth the heart and the other inward parts.

           K. The decoction of Violets is good against hot fevers, and the inflammation of the liver and all other inward parts: the like property hath the juice, syrup, or conserve of the same.

           L. Syrup of Violets is good against the inflammation of the lungs and breast, againt the pleurisy and cough, against fevers and agues in young children, especially if you put unto an ounce of syrup eight or nine drops of oil of vitriol, and mix it together, and give it to the child a spoonful at once.

           M. The same given in manner aforesaid is of great efficacy in burning fevers and pestilent diseases, greatly cooling the inward parts: and it may seem strange to some, that so sharp a corrosive as oil of vitriol should be given into the body; yet being delayed and given as aforesaid, sucking children may take it without any peril.

           N. The same taken as aforesaid cureth all inflammations of the throat, mouth, uvula, squinancy and the falling evil in children.

           O. Sugar-violet hath power to cease inflammations, roughness of the throat, and comforteth the heart, assuageth the pains of the head, and causeth sleep.

           P. The leaves of Violets are used in cooling plasters, oils, and comfortable cataplasms or poultices; and are of greater efficacy among other herbs, as Mercury, Mallows, and such like, in clysters, for the purposes aforesaid.

Culpepper tells us:

They are a fine pleasing plant of Venus, of a mild nature, no way harmful. All the Violets are cold and moist while they are fresh and green, and are used to cool any heat, or distemperature of the body, either inwardly or outwardly, as inflammations in the eyes, in the matrix or fundament, in imposthumes also, and hot swellings, to drink the decoction of the leaves and flowers made with water in wine, or to apply them poultice-wise to the grieved places: it likewise eases pains in the head, caused through want of sleep; or any other pains arising of heat, being applied in the same manner, or with oil of roses. A drachm weight of the dried leaves or flower of Violets, but the leaves more strongly, doth purge the body of choleric humours, and assuages the heat, being taken in a draught of wine, or any other drink; the powder of the purple leaves of the flowers, only picked and dried and drank in water, is said to help the quinsy, and the falling-sickness in children, especially in the beginning of the disease. The flowers of the white Violets ripen and dissolve swellings. The herb or flowers, while they are fresh, or the flowers when they are dry, are effectual in the pleurisy, and all diseases of the lungs, to lenify the sharpness in hot rheums, and the hoarseness of the throat, the heat also and sharpness of urine, and all the pains of the back or reins, and bladder. It is good also for the liver and the jaundice, and all hot agues, to cool the heat, and quench the thirst; but the syrup of Violets is of most use, and of better effect, being taken in some convenient liquor: and if a little of the juice or syrup of lemons be put to it, or a few drops of the oil of vitriol, it is made thereby the more powerful to cool the heat, and quench the thirst, and gives to the drink a claret wine colour, and a fine tart relish, pleasing to the taste. Violets taken, or made up with honey, do more cleanse and cool, and with sugar contrary-wise. The dried flower of Violets are accounted amongst the cordial drinks, powders, and other medicines, especially where cooling cordials are necessary. The green leaves are used with other herbs to make plaisters and poultices to inflammations and swellings, and to ease all pains whatsoever, arising of heat, and for the piles also, being fried with yolks of eggs, and applied thereto.

John K’Eogh tells of the use in Irish herbal Medicine in 1735:

March Violet (Viola martina purpurea) It has a cold moist nature.  A decoction of the syrup is good against fever, inflammations of the liver and the lungs, and is useful for coughs and pleurisy.  Externally applied, it is good for abscesses and inflammations.  The seed breaks up kidney stones.

Maude Grieve summarizes the British use:

Violet is the diminutive form of the Latin Viola, the Latin form of the Greek name Ione. There is a legend that when Jupiter changed his beloved Io into a white heifer for fear of Juno's jealousy, he caused these modest flowers to spring forth from the earth to be fitting food for her, and he gave them her name. Another derivation of the word Violet is said to be from Vias (wayside)....

Violets were mentioned frequently by Homer and Virgil. They were used by the Athenians 'to moderate anger,' to procure sleep and 'to comfort and strengthen the heart.' Pliny prescribes a liniment of Violet root and vinegar for gout and disorder of the spleen, and states that a garland or chaplet of Violets worn about the head will dispel the fumes of wine and prevent headache and dizziness. The ancient Britons used the flowers as a cosmetic, and in a Celtic poem they are recommended to be employed steeped in goats' milk to increase female beauty, and in the Anglo-Saxon translation of the Herbarium of Apuleius (tenth century), the herb V. purpureum is recommended 'for new wounds and eke for old' and for 'hardness of the maw.'

In Macer's Herbal (tenth century) the Violet is among the many herbs which were considered powerful against 'wykked sperytis.'

Askham's Herbal has this recipe for insomnia under Violet:

'For the that may not slepe for sickness seeth this herb in water and at even let him soke well hys feete in the water to the ancles, wha he goeth to bed, bind of this herbe to his temples.

Violets, like Primroses, have been associated with death, especially with the death of the young. This feeling has been constantly expressed from early times. It is referred to by Shakespeare in Hamlet and Pericles and by Milton in Lycidas.

In parts of Gloucestershire the country people have an aversion to bringing Violets into their cottages because they carry fleas. This idea may have arisen from these insects in the stem.

When Napoleon went to Elba his last message to his adherents was that he should return with Violets. Hence he was alluded to and toasted by them in secret as Caporal Violette, and the Violet was adopted as the emblem of the Imperial Napoleonic party.

Violets were also and still are used in cookery, especially by the French. 'Vyolette: Take flowrys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray (pound) hem smal,' and the recipe continues that they are to be mixed with milk and floure of rys and sugar or honey, and finally to be coloured with Violets. A recipe called Mon Amy directs the cook to 'plant it with flowers of Violets and serve forth.'

A wine made from the flowers of the Sweet Violet was much used by the Romans.

Violets impart their odour to liquids, and vinegar derives not only a brilliant tint, but a sweet odour from having Violet flowers steeped in it.

The chief use of the Violet in these days is as a colouring agent and perfume, and as the source of the medicinally employed Syrup of Violets, for which purposes the plant is largely cultivated, especially in Warwickshire. The Syrup can be made as follows: To 1 lb. of Sweet Violet flowers freshly picked, add 2 1/2 pints of boiling water, infuse these for twenty-four hours in a glazed china vessel, then pour off the liquid and strain it gently through muslin; afterwards add double its weight of the finest loaf sugar and make it into a syrup, but without letting it boil. This is an old-fashioned recipe.

Another recipe, from a seventeenth century recipe book:

'Sirrup of Violets

'Take a quantity of Blew Violets, clip off the whites and pound them well in a stone morter; then take as much fair running water as will sufficiently moysten them and mix with the Violets; strain them all; and to every halfe pint of the liquor put one pound of the best loafe sugar; set it on the fire, putting the sugar in as it melts, still stirring it; let it boyle but once or twice att the most; then take it from the fire, and keep it to your use. This is a daynty sirrup of Violets.'

Syrup of Violet with Lemon Syrup and acetic acid makes an excellent dish in summer. The Syrup forms a principal ingredient in Oriental sherbet.

The Violet is still found in the Pharmacopoeias.

Violet flowers possess slightly laxative properties. The best form of administration is the Syrup of Violets. Syrop Violae of the British Pharmacopoeia directs that it may be given as a laxative to infants in doses of 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful, or more, with an equal volume of oil of Almonds.

Syrup of Violets is also employed as a laxative, and as a colouring agent and flavouring in other neutral or acid medicines.

The older writers had great faith in Syrup of Violets: ague, epilepsy, inflammation of the eyes, sleeplessness, pleurisy, jaundice and quinsy are only a few of the ailments for which it was held potent. Gerard says: 'It has power to ease inflammation, roughness of the throat and comforteth the heart, assuageth the pains of the head and causeth sleep.'

The flowers are crystallized as an attractive sweetmeat, and in the days of Charles II, a favourite conserve, Violet Sugar, named then 'Violet Plate,' prepared from the flowers, was considered of excellent use in consumption and was sold by all apothecaries. The flowers have undoubted expectorant qualities.

The fresh flowers have also been used as an addition to salads; they have a laxative effect.

An infusion of the flowers is employed, especially on the Continent, as a substitute for litmus, as a test of acids and alkalis.

,,,,The underground stems or rhizomes (the so-called roots) are strongly emetic and purgative. They have occasionally been used as adulterants to more costly drugs, notably to ipecacuanha. A dose of from 40 to 50 grains of the powdered root is said to act violently, inciting nausea and great vomiting and nervous affection, due to the pronounced emetic qualities of the alkaloid contained.

The seeds are purgative and diuretic and have been given in urinary complaints, and are considered a good corrective of gravel.

A modern homoeopathic medicinal tincture is made from the whole fresh plant, with proof spirit, and is considered useful for a spasmodic cough with hard breathing, and also for rheumatism of the wrists.

The glucosidal principles contained in the leaves have not yet been fully investigated, but would appear to have distinct antiseptic properties.

Of late years, preparations of fresh Violet leaves have been used both internally and externally in the treatment of cancer, and though the British Pharmacopoeia does not uphold the treatment, it specifies how they are employed. From other sources it is stated that Violet leaves have been used with benefit to allay the pain in cancerous growths, especially in the throat, which no other treatment relieved, and several reputed cures have been recorded.

An infusion of the leaves in boiling water (1 in 5) has been administered in doses of 1 to 2 fluid ounces. A syrup of the petals and a liquid extract of the fresh leaves are also used, the latter taken in teaspoonful doses, or rubbed in locally. The fresh leaves are also prepared as a compress for local application.

The infusion is generally drunk cold and is made as follows: Take 2 1/2 OZ. of Violet leaves, freshly picked. Wash them clean in cold water and place them in a stone jar and pour over them 1 pint of boiling water. Tie the jar down and let it stand for twelve hours, till the water is green. Then strain off the liquid into a well-stoppered bottle and the tea is ready for drinking cold at intervals of every two hours during the day, taking a wineglassful at a time till the whole has been consumed each day. It is essential that the tea should be made fresh every day and kept in a cool place to prevent it turning sour. If any should be left over it should be thrown away.

As a cure for cancer of the tongue, it is recommended to drink half this quantity daily at intervals and apply the rest in hot fomentations.

Injection. - About a couple of wineglassfuls made tepid can be used, if required, as an injection, night and morning, but this infusion should be made separate from the tea and should not be of greater strength than 1 OZ. of leaves to 1/2 pint of water.

As a hot Compress, for external use, dip a piece of lint into the infusion, made the same strength as the tea, of which a sufficient quantity must be made warm for the purpose. Lay the lint round or over the affected part and cover with oilskin or thin mackintosh. Change the lint when dry or cold. Use flannel, not oilskin, for open wounds, and in cold weather it should be made fresh about every alternate day. Should this wet compress cause undue irritation of the skin, remove at once and substitute the following compress or poultice: Chop some fresh-gathered young Violet leaves, without stems, and cover with boiling water. Stand in a warm place for a quarter of an hour and add a little crushed linseed.

A concentrated preparation is also recommended, made as follows: Put as many Violet leaves in a saucepan as can boil in the water. Boil for 1/2 hour, then strain, squeezing tightly. Evaporate this decoction to one-fourth its bulk and add alcohol (spirits of wine 1 in 15); 1 1/2 OZ. or 3 tablespoonsful of spirits of wine will keep 24 OZ. for a month. This syrupy product is stated to be extremely efficacious, applied two or three times a day, or more, on cotton-wool about the throat. This will not cause irritation unless applied to the skin with waterproof over for a considerable time, as under such circumstances moisture will cause irritation.

For lubricating the throat, dry and powder Violet leaves and let them stand in olive oil for six hours in a water bath. Make strong. It will keep any time.

A continuous daily supply of fresh leaves is necessary and a considerable quantity is required. It is recorded that during the nine weeks that a nurseryman supplied a patient suffering from cancer in the colon - which was cured at the end of this period - a Violet bed covering six rods of ground was almost entirely stripped of its foliage.

Violet Ointment. - Place 2 OZ. of the best lard in a jar in the oven till it becomes quite clear. Then add about thirty-six fresh Violet leaves. Stew them in the lard for an hour till the leaves are the consistency of cooked cabbage. Strain and when cold put into a covered pot for use. This is a good oldfashioned Herbal remedy which has been allowed to fall into disuse. It is good as an application for superficial tubercles in the glands of the neck, Violet Leaves Tea being drunk at the same time.

In Native American Herbalism, the most extensive use of Violet that I have found is in the Muskogee tradition, as documented by Tis Mal Crow:  He recommends Violets as an “accelerator", meaning that they help other herbs in their actions.  He recommends Violets for bladder pain, prolapsed bladder, prolapsed uterus, boils, carbuncles, pus-filled sores, swollen glands, as an antiseptic, for cold sores, as an emetic, to induce vomiting and to prevent gagging, for morning sickness, stomach pain, diarrhea, for the heart if it is slow or sluggish and for angina, for cancer and cancer pain, pleurisy, bronchitis, coughs as an expectorant, for varicose veins, to increase lactation, for chapped lips in skin lotions and as a wild edible.

Plants for A Future tells us of the modern herbal use of Violet:

Sweet violet has a long and proven history of folk use, especially in the treatment of cancer and whooping cough. It also contains salicylic acid, which is used to make aspirin. It is therefore effective in the treatment of headaches, migraine and insomnia. The whole plant is anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, expectorant, and laxative. It is taken internally in the treatment of bronchitis, respiratory catarrh, coughs, asthma, and cancer of the breast, lungs or digestive tract. Externally, it is used to treat mouth and throat infections. The plant can either be used fresh, or harvested when it comes into flower and then be dried for later use. The flowers are demulcent and emollient. They are used in the treatment of biliousness and lung troubles. The petals are made into a syrup and used in the treatment of infantile disorders. The roots is a much stronger expectorant than other parts of the plant but they also contain the alkaloid violine which at higher doses is strongly emetic and purgative. They are gathered in the autumn and dried for later use. The seeds are diuretic and purgative. They have been used in the treatment of urinary complaints are considered to be a good remedy for gravel. A homeopathic remedy is made from the whole fresh plant. It is considered useful in the treatment of spasmodic coughs and rheumatism of the wrist. An essential oil from the flowers is used in aromatherapy in the treatment of bronchial complaints, exhaustion and skin complaints.

Oddly enough there is little mention of Violet among the early American schools of herbalism, abd not much these days. The reason for this is certainly not that Violets are not useful.  They are excellent herbs.  Violets are simply unassuming.  I agree with the Russians that a violet flower is like a pretty smile.  All varieties seem to brighten out days, coming and going with the seasons.  Violets are far too easily taken for granted.  

Author: Judson Carroll.  Judson Carroll is an Herbalist from the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. His weekly articles may be read at http://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/

His weekly podcast may be heard at: www.spreaker.com/show/southern-appalachian-herbs

He offers free, weekly herb classes: https://rumble.com/c/c-618325

His New Book is Christian Herbal Medicine, History and Practice

Read about his new book, Christian Medicine, History and Practice: https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2022/01/christian-herbal-medicine-history-and.html

Available for purchase on Amazon: www.amazon.com/dp/B09P7RNCTB
His other works include:

Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People by Judson Carroll

You can read about and purchase Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People here: southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/10/herbal-medicine-for-preppers.html

Also available on Amazon: Herbal Medicine for Preppers, Homesteaders and Permaculture People: Carroll, Judson: 9798491252923: Amazon.com: Books

Look Up: The Medicinal Trees of the American South, An Herbalist's Guide: https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/06/paypal-safer-easier-way-to-pay-online.html

The Herbs and Weeds of Fr. Johannes Künzle: https://southernappalachianherbs.blogspot.com/2021/05/announcing-new-book-herbs-and-weeds-of.html


The information on this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Nothing on this site has been evaluated or approved by the FDA. I am not a doctor. The US government does not recognize the practice of herbal medicine and their is no governing body regulating herbalists. Therefore, I'm just a guy who studies herbs. I am not offering any advice. I won't even claim that anything I write is accurate or true! I can tell you what herbs have "traditionally been used for." I can tell you my own experience and if I believe an herb helped me. I cannot, nor would I tell you to do the same. If you use any herb I, or anyone else, mentions you are treating yourself. You take full responsibility for your health. Humans are individuals and no two are identical. What works for me may not work for you. You may have an allergy, sensitivity or underlying condition that no one else shares and you don't even know about. Be careful with your health. By continuing to read my blog you agree to be responsible for yourself, do your own research, make your own choices and not to blame me for anything, ever.

Posts: 59
Location: Virginia, USA
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Wow!  Do your books go into this kind of detail?   Violets  fill our yard every Spring and now I know what to do with them.

I shall follow your blog with interest 😊
Judson Carroll
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Posts: 1131
Location: Blue Ridge Mountains
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Ellen Morrow wrote:Wow!  Do your books go into this kind of detail?   Violets  fill our yard every Spring and now I know what to do with them.

I shall follow your blog with interest 😊

Some do, including my book on medicinal trees (which is huge) and the one I am working on now... which is even bigger!  Violets are one of my favorite herbs.  Thanks for reading!
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