Violets (Viola spp.)
Perennial with heart-shaped leaves;. often with scalloped or slightly serrated edges. Dark green, smooth or sometimes downy underneath. Grow in a rosette at the base of the plant. Roots are creeping and send out runners. Depending on soil and light, the flowers may be from deep purple to blue to
pinkish or even yellow-whitish. All have 5 petals, which may have a yellow fir beard on the inside of two of the petals.
Common Names: Ordinary violet, common blue violet, sweet violet, and garden violet.
Parts Used: Flowers, leaves, and rootstock.
Flowers: March – June.
Habitat: European perennials. Now naturalized throughout North America, and can be found growing in most any soil or situation.
Family: Violaceae (Violet Family)
History: The ancient Greeks considered the violet a symbol of fertility and love; they used it in love potions. Pliny recommended that a garland of violets be worn about the head to ward off headaches and dizzy spells.
Constituents: Salicylate glycosides, saponins, flavonoids, odoratine (an alkaloid), mucilage, and violine.
Properties: Alterative, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, anti-pyretic, emetic, and expectorant.
Uses: The flowers and leaves are made into a syrup used for respiratory ailments associated with congestion, coughing, and sore throat. Large doses of the root contain an alkaloid called violine, which is emetic (causing vomiting). A decoction make from the root (dried) is used as a laxative. Tea made from the entire plant is used to treat digestive disorders and new research has detected the presence of a glycoside of salicylic acid (natural aspirin) which substantiates its use for centuries as a medicinal remedy for headache, body pains, and as a sedative. Used externally, the fresh crushed leaves reduce swelling and soothe irritations. As a bath additive, the fresh crushed flowers are soothing to the skin and the aroma is very relaxing.
Preparations and Dosages:
Cough Syrup: Pour 1 pint of boiling water over 1 cup packed, fresh, crushed flowers and leaves. Cover and let stand for 12 hours. Strain and squeeze through cloth. Add 2 pounds sugar and boil for 1 hour or until syrupy. Give 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon for children 2 or 3 times a day.
Tea: Steep 1/4 cup dried or fresh herb in 1 cup water for 10 minutes. Strain and flavor to taste. Take in 1/2 cup doses 2 times a day.
Tincture: [Fresh Plant, 1:2], 1 to 2 teaspoons up to 2 times a day.
Violets (Viola spp.)