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Oh! For the Love of Violet!


AKA: Viola odorata, Viola sororia, Viola spp., L. Family: Violaceae. Commonly known as viola, wild pansy, heartsease, sweet violet.


Propagation/Description: Wild or Sweet Violets (not to be confused with African Violets) are short plants growing from 4 to 6 inches in height. They grow in a variety of different colors, Purple, blue, yellow, or white on a leafless stalk. They bloom from early spring into early summer. Their heart-shaped basal leaves grow from the root system directly. They love shady areas but can grow in sunny areas as well. Harvest the blooms and leaves in April, May, and June when blooms are freshly open.

Folklore/History: Wild Violet is native to much of Europe and Asia. Ancient Greece believed they calmed tempers and helped with insomnia. Many cultures, including the Greeks, believed it assisted by enhancing beauty and attracted a lover. In Greek mythology, the story of Hades and Persephone. The story states Persephone was picking bunches of violets when Hades first saw her. The Romans swore wearing a necklace of violets would prevent drunkenness. Which when you realize that they made wine from violets, is kind of a funny irony. In Christianity, violets are commonly symbolic of humility, modesty, and shyness. Violets (and Primroses) are also associated with death, especially the death of the young. Wild Violets (also known as pansies) were one of the floral perfumes used in the plague doctors’ masks during the black plague. Many times, a bouquet of violets was left at a graveside or buried with a loved one. An old Scottish poem collected in the 18th century, has it that washing your face with violets steeped in goat’s milk was a popular method to increase a woman’s beauty and charm potential lovers: “Anoint thy face with goat’s milk in which violets have been infused, and there is not a young prince upon earth who would not be charmed with thy beauty.”

Medicinal: The blooms and leaves are edible, but the seeds and roots may cause nausea and vomiting. The leaves have a natural mucilaginous (a viscous or gelatinous solution from plant roots, seeds, etc., and used in medicines and adhesives.) texture which may cause thickening of liquids. Both leaves and blooms are high in vitamins A and C and are also high in antioxidants (an agent that prevents oxidation. A preservative or agent that removes oxygen radicals or free radicals that cause oxidation.) and phytochemicals (chemicals from plants that may affect health but are not essential nutrients.). Wild Violets are cooling (slows down the metabolism, decrease energy production and cool inflammation and irritation.) and moistening (increase the moisture retention of tissues, lubricating and softening dry, brittle, or hardened tissue.), relive pain, detoxifier, strengthens the immune system, stimulates the lymphatic systems (The tissues and organs that produce, store, and carry white blood cells that fight infections and other diseases.), assist with respiratory conditions, anti-inflammatory, minor scrapes & bruising, Mild laxative, lowers cholesterol, helps sooth hemorrhoids and varicose veins, dermatitis, insect bites & eczema. In British herbalism they are also used to treat breast and stomach cancers. The roots can be used to make an expectorant but be careful of dosage taken. Violets are high in antioxidant anthocyanins and rutin, which are known to support heart health by strengthening and increasing flexibility in blood vessels, reducing cholesterol, and preventing and dissolving blood clots.


****Please be sure of your plant identification prior to consumption. There are poisonous look alike plants. Do not consume if you are currently on blood thinners. ***

Spiritual: Clarity, creativity, purifying, wishes, healing, devotion. Put violets under your pillow to enhance your prophetic dreams and divination skills. Infusing a bottle of water or face oil with violet flowers and blessing them to enhance your natural beauty. In American folklore and African American conjure, Violet (when combined with Lavender) is commonly used to either draw in new love or ease heartbreak. Wear a violet leaf for protection from all things. Putting vases of violets in your home to draw luck, love, and protection. Use candied violets and share a cake with your loved one to increase or encourage the bond between the two of you. Drink in a tea blend to calm the nerves and bring spiritual awareness. Wear the leaves in a green sachet to help heal wounds and prevent evil spirits from making the wounds worse.

Summary: Violets, whether considering the sweet or wild varieties, have the same health benefits and will bring a pleasant addition to your day, week, month, or year. Take stock in her healing capabilities as well as her spiritual ones. The scent and taste of the violet has been revered for many millennia and continues to be so today. Consider this beautiful plant to be a part of your home apothecary and health regiment indefinitely. She brings love, health, and prosperity to all who embrace her.


Bibliography:

The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies, The Healing Power of Plant Medicine by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, 550 herbs & Remedies for Common Ailments by Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Plant Witchery, Discover the Sacred Language, wisdom and Magic of 200 Plants by Juliet Diaz

The Magic of Flowers, A Guide to Their Metaphysical Uses & Properties by Tess Whitehurst

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