7 Oct 2008

Sweet Violets

We may pass violets looking for roses. We may pass
looking for victory. ~ Bern Williams

There has never been a nicer bouquet than a little bunch of sweet violets. They have a wonderful perfume which few of the more popular flowers like long stemmed roses have. Sweet violets (viola odorata) are also known known as the garden violet, blue violet, English violet, common violet and banafsha.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans cultivated them, considered them as a symbol of fertility and love, and used them as a medicine, made them into wine and perfume, and used them to decorate their food, their hair and and their homes. Violets were also a very popular flower in Victorian times and with Native American tribes.

Violet leaves and flowers are antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, an emollient, and an expectorant. They contain vitamin C and iron with an excellent amount of rutin, a bioflavonoid, which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and helps the body absorb vitamin C. Internally they can be used to treat mouth, throat and chest infections , as a mild laxative and to relieve headaches. Externally as a poultice to reduce swelling sand irritations. Can also be used as a beauty treatment to tone and strengthen skin.

Claims have also been made for hundreds of years that they cure various types of cancer and also relieve cancer pain. Researchers have either agreed and disagreed with this. Hopefully in the future we will get a clear answer and positive results are found. For further reading you might enjoy an interesting article I recently came across, "Violet Syrup Recipe for Asthma, Lung, Cancer and More", found at Natural News.

Being edible, sweet violets are also a popular culinary item as they add wonderful color to salads and cake decorations. Having a very light, sweet, nectary flavor they do not change the flavor of dishes they are added to.

Violets are a useful garden plant as they are evergreen perennials and will grow in damp, shady areas where other plants do not thrive well. They make a wonderful ground cover. The leaves can be harvested all year round and the flowers when blooming in Spring and Autumn. Pop out and get a few plants today!

Take Note: Only eat edible sweet violets you have grown yourself
without insecticides or are marked as edible on the packaging.

Violet Sherbet
From Wild Man Steve Brill from his book Shoots & Greens of Early Spring in Northeastern North America

Sherbets usually contain water, sugar, and artificial flavors. This one, using natural thickeners and sweeteners, provides an especially rich setting for these luxuriant flowers.

4 cups water
1/4 cup grape seed or canola oil
1/4 cup vegetable glycerin
1/4 cup raw cashews
1/4 cup lecithin granules (available at health food stores
2 tbs flax seeds
2 tsp liquid stevia or other sweetener
2 tsp freshly grated orange rind
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups violet flowers

Purée all ingredients except the violets in a blender. Freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer's directions. Stir in the violet flowers. Makes 5-1/2 cups.

Violet Eye Cream
From the SkinCareCompany Submitted By: Tammy

1/2 cup (125 ml) of fresh violet flowers
1/2 cup (125 ml) pf fresh violet leaves
1 1/4 cups (300 ml) of almond oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) of fresh horsetail
2 tablespoons (30 ml) of beeswax
10 drops of vitamin E oil
10 drops of chamomile essential oil --not required

Place the violet leaves and flowers on a towel or something similar and allow them to wilt overnight. In a double boiler, steep the leaves, petals, and horsetail in oil over low heat for 5 hours. Cut or grate the beeswax into small pieces. Strain the plant material from the oil, and remove from the heat. Quickly add the vitamin E oil and blue chamomile oils. Melt the beeswax completely into the oil, then remove from heat. Quickly add the vitamin E and blue chamomile oils. Pour into dainty 1/4-ounce (7-g) containers or jars. Decorate it with violet stickers. This makes 30 1/4-ounce containers.

Violet Tea

1 cup boiling water
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp fresh violet leaves
1/2 tsp dried or 1 tsp violet petals

Put violet leaves and petals in a pot, pour over boiling water and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and drink.

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Shinade said...

Jackie this is a wonderful post for me.

I do have an area right in front of my porch that stays in the shade and and very moist all year.

It gets just wee bit of morning sunlight and that's it. I have been looking for something to that would grow there.

And I also have asthma so this would be perfect. I will check to see when my planting season for violets is in my area and try this.

Also thank you very much for taking out an add from me.

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and it's wonderful! Love the recipes...I'm going to have to try the violet sherbert!

Mystery Ranch said...

Hi Jackie,
Got a gift for you over at
Your posts are so informative and interesting. Go see.

Home Remedies said...

hello jackis, nice to meet you...

i never thought that even a violet flower can be so useful for natural remedies until I found your wonderful post here:)

Keep up the good work!

Natural Remedies for Natural Cure,

Home Remedies said...

oupss..I'm so sorry, I mistype your name Jackie...

Patricia Lanchester said...

Thank you. Great resources!

Mystery Ranch said...

Thank you for this post. I have violets growing in several places on my property. I have been hoping to find a way to 'capture' their scent and beauty and I think the infused oil is it. They grow in the cold part of the year, before the big rain and frost. They are blooming now. Thank you also for being a loyal reader and commentor.