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Violets for a Variety of Health Benefits

Ancient Greeks wore crowns of violets to promote serenity and sleep. Ancient Romans would plant violets upon the graves of children. Violets are regarded as a symbol of innocence and modesty. Violet is the state flower of Illinois, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Wisconsin. Violet flowers are carried to bring good fortune.

Violet leaves and flowers contain beta-carotene, vitamin C, salicylates, the flavonoid rutin, mucilage, and the flowers contain essential oil.

Violets are pungent, bitter, and sweet, cool and moist and correspond to Venus, and the element of water.

Viola odorata is native to western Asia and Europe but is widely cultivated and naturalized. This evergreen perennial grows to about 6 inches in height and has heart-shaped leaves. The flowers are self-pollinating and purple, pink, lavender, or white in color. They usually have five petals, two on the upper portion, two laterals, and one on the bottom. Though flowers appear in early spring, the true seed-producing flower is inconspicuous and appears in autumn.

In gardening, violet leaves are used as a fertilizer for leaf crops. Some Native Peoples have soaked corn seeds in cool violet tea to prevent insect damage during germination.

In the garden, violet provides nectar for early butterflies. The plant prefers full to partial shade, soil that is rich in organic matter, and moderate to high amounts of water. There are over one hundred of the Viola genus. Most are perennial, though there are a few annuals in the genus. Viola. tricolor, also known as Pansy, also edible is one of the most recognized.

Violet Vinegar

Place as many violet flowers as possible into a jar. Cover with white wine vinegar, cork and allow to steep for one month, shaking daily. Strain and refrigerate. Voila!

Violet Honey

In the spring, collect two cups violet flowers. Place in the blender with one cup raw unfiltered honey and the juice of one lemon and blend. Store in a glass jar in the freezer. Use as a spread on sprouted crackers.

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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 Also check out her international model yogini daughter, Rainbeau at


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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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Thanks for the info. I cook them sometimes and eat them raw others; they are delicious both ways.


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