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Violets for a Variety of Health Benefits

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Violets for a Variety of Health Benefits

You know spring is here when you catch a whiff of Violets (Viola odorata). These beautiful flowers, which you may also know as Heartsease, are members of the Violaceae (Violet) Family.

In mythology Zeus had a lover named Ione (from which the word viola is derived). His wife, Hera was jealous and turned her into a white heifer. Zeus created violets to give her something lovely to graze upon. Wherever Venus and Adonis lay together a bed of violets was said to have sprung. Persephone, the daughter of the Earth Mother Demeter, was picking violets when Pluto kidnapped her to live with him in the underworld. Athens was once known as “the city of violets.”

The leaf and flower have been used for thousands of years by millions of people as an antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic agent.

Violets have been used to improve acne, anger, asthma, bronchitis, colds, eczema, fever, fibrocystic breast disease, grief, headache, heartbreak, lymphatic congestion, mastitis, mumps, psoriasis, scurvy, sore throat, ulcers, urinary tract infection, varicose veins, and whooping cough. Apply a cloth soaked in violet leaf and/or flower tea to the back of the neck to treat headaches. The flowers are eaten as a breath freshener.

Violet flower essence helps those that feel lonely, despite being surrounded by others. It increases openness and helps shy aloof people that want to share but feel overwhelmed.

As long as the leaves are heart shaped, the leaves and buds are edible raw in salads or as a potherb. The flowers are edible and make a beautiful garnish. Freeze the flowers into water in ice cube trays for a touch of elegance. Violet sherbet, puddings, and candied violets are sweet delicacies. Violet tea is most often prepared from the leaves. Violet leaf tea is safe and gentle; it even can be used as a substitute for baby aspirin. Do not substitute African violets as a medicine plant.

Next: More benefits and uses for violets!

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Brigitte Mars

Brigitte Mars, a professional member of the American Herbalist Guild, is a nutritional consultant who has been working with Natural Medicine for over 40 years. She teaches Herbal Medicine at Naropa University, Boulder College of Massage, and Bauman College of Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts and has a private practice. Brigitte is the author of 12 books, including Rawsome!. Find more healthy living articles, raw food recipes, videos, workshops, books, and more at brigittemars.com. Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at rainbeaumars.com.

119 comments

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5:52AM PDT on May 23, 2011

Thanks for sharing this great info.

11:58PM PDT on May 7, 2011

When I was very little my Granny used Nasturtium flowers in the salad if she ran out of radishes for a little spice. So, when I at 6 yrs old, smelled a violet in the neighbors yard I tried it. Love at first bite. If you ever get a chance to try "Violet Pastilles" candy, go for it. They end with an Anise seed in the middle. They are sold in England as Breath Sweeteners sometimes. Look in German Deli's too. If anyone has recipes for home made Violet Candy I would love to try them . Thanks

10:06PM PST on Nov 20, 2010

Thanks for the info!

8:53PM PDT on Sep 25, 2010

Our backyard yields a ton of these and I always look forward to them! I have a few jars of my violet jelly laid up, it's wonderful to have a taste of spring still left!
Thanks for all the great info on this wonderful flower!

5:16AM PDT on Aug 17, 2010

Thanks for sharing! So interesting:)

6:50AM PDT on Jul 21, 2010

Thank you, I have adored violets my whole like (now 60) and it's great to have a reason for my love! This Spring, when mine come into bloom I'll try some of this but, be sure to leave some just because they make the World pretty!

10:35PM PDT on Jul 18, 2010

Wow, I didn't think you could do anything with violets, that's interesting!

12:27AM PDT on Jul 14, 2010

New information for me. Thanks.

6:32AM PDT on Jun 21, 2010

I have trouble with growing violets....any ideas??

10:49PM PDT on Jun 18, 2010

Excellent article, thanks for the information.

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