One of my favorite plants since earliest childhood, I attribute my love for violets to their beautiful purple color and sweet, delicate aroma. They seem to be popping up everywhere during the April rains, and I only wish they would grow in my yard more plentifully!
Found: A European perennial that has made its way to America; grows just about anywhere.
Identifying: Dark green heart shaped leaves that grow in a rosette; the roots send out runners. Flowers, ranging from dark purple to light lavender and even whitish-yellow, have five petals and typically blooms from March through June.
Parts Used: Leaves, flowers, root. Leaves can be used anytime they look nice and healthy. Gather flowers when in full bloom. Roots best in fall.
Medicinal Uses: Great as a balm for skin that is dry, sore, or raw. Safe for children and a gentle remedy for coughs, bronchitis, upper respiratory, asthma. Constipation, kidneys, bladder, urinary tract infections. Chronic arthritis, eczema. Also good for severe headaches, inflammation of the eyes, and infections in the mouth. Breast lumps, both benign and malignant – it has quite a reputation as an anti-cancer herb. Epilepsy, nervous disorders.
Preparation: Great as a tea; 2 1/2 oz. clean, fresh leaves and flowers, covered with 1 pint boiling water in a large sturdy jar. Cover tightly and let sit for 12 hours until green. Strain and drink cold. The plant is also edible and the leaves make for a great salad. Add the blooms; they’ll give color to the salad and are edible as well. Some make syrups from the violet. Take 1 cup violet leaves and blooms (tightly packed) and place in a bowl that has a lid. Pour 1 pint boiling water into bowl, cover, and let sit for about 12 hours. Strain well through a cheesecloth and boil liquid for one hour with about 2 lbs. sugar. Store in jelly jars. This can be used for its medicinal purposes and can be administered to children in 1-tsp to 1-Tbs. doses up to three times daily. W.T. Fernie called Violet Flower syrup mixed with almond oil a great laxative for children.
Allergic Reactions/Warnings: None to report for our beloved violet, although I always figure there’s someone somewhere with an allergy to something! So always use caution when trying any new herb. In general, violets are quite safe for even young children.