Violets bring back fond memories for me. I have spent many springs as a child in the woods collecting fists full of these purple beauties to hand to my mom who would proudly display them on our kitchen table in a used jelly jar. They never lasted very long and they didn’t have the strongest smell but they brought a smile to us all.
Today, I am no different than I was at 10. I still love to collect fists full of violets except now I use them for many more things than just a garnish to a kitchen table. Here are a few of the many uses for violets:
- Violets make a wonderful spring food. Both the flowers and the leaves are edible. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, especially Vitamin A and C. The leaves make for a great salad green. The can also be steamed and eaten as a pot herb and I like to add them to spring soups as a green. The flowers make a beautiful addition to a salad and the flowers can be candied to add a special decoration to a cake, pie or dessert.
- Violets are medicinal as well as a great food. The whole plant can be used with the leaves and flowers the most tastee bits. Maude Grieves recommends that the whole plant be eaten fresh and the dried but fresh or dried they all work for me.
- If functions as an alterative making a great blood purifier just what we all need after a long winter.
- Flowers contain a slight laxative effect and when made as a syrup, they can be given to small children. This is also why they make a great spring food helping us to cleanse our slow winter guts.
- The roots of the violet have been used as a purgative and emetic and as a replacement for ipecacuanha (Ipecac). The seeds of the violet are also purgative and diuretic. They have been used for urinary symptoms especially urinary gravel.
- The heart shape of the violet leaf gives a clue as to its use for heart aliments. The leaves can be made into a poultice to treat bruises. And the energy of a violet can promote love or heal a broken heart.
- It has also been used for sore throats and chest congestion or coughs.
- There is some salicylic acid in the violet and for this reason it can also be used as a pain aid.
- Violet has also been used to treat cancers and can be taken internally or used as a poultice.
- One of my personal favorite ways to use violets is as a skin cream or skin poultice. It works well for inflammation and its cooling properties are just the thing for the first sunburn of the spring season. They also work well for mild cases of acne and eczema.
So this year, when the purple violet peeks out from under the forest floor, enjoy these spring time beauties.