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How I use herbs - sweet violet

To be honest, I've had Sweet Violet (Viola Oderata) in my garden for about a year now and I'm not really sure how to use it.  It smells lovely when it flowers and I've managed to keep it alive through winter and a hot dry summer.  I thought this was a good opportunity to learn more myself.


eight acres: how to grow and use the herb Sweet Violet in the sub-tropics


How to grow sweet violet
I bought this herb as a small plant in a pot.  It spreads as it grows, so its pretty easy to propagate by division.  I've read that it also grows from seed.  The plant seems to flower here in autumn, and dies back a bit when we get a heavy frost.  I do have to remember to water it in summer, but otherwise its seems pretty hardy.  I've planted it in a shady spot.  Apparently it grows wild in some areas, but I think our climate is too harsh.  It would be a great herb to forage if you have it locally.


eight acres: how to grow and use the herb Sweet Violet in the sub-tropics


How to use sweet violet
I haven't been actively using my sweet violet, but I'd like to start, here are a few things that jump out at me from my herb books.  Firstly the flowers:

  • good nectar for bees (ours forage year-round)
  • edible and can be added to salads
  • the aroma is calming
  • make violet vinegar using apple cider vinegar and lots of flowers
The leaves are also useful:
  • mild expectorant action - treatment for colds and congestion as a tea
  • will also reduce fever and induce sweating
  • the tea can be used externally to relieve swollen joints (e.g. rheumatism) and eczema (here's a recipe for a balm made with violet leaves)
  • it seems to also have some anti-cancer properties, slowing the growth of tumours
I'd really like to try this violet leave soap recipe too.

I also notice that sweet violet is related to the pansy (Viola tricolor), which I didn't know had herbal properties.  That's a good excuse to grow some pansies!  


So I guess that answers my question about sweet violet!  I'll keep it in mind when I next have a cold, and its another great skin herb in my garden.  And next time I see flowers I will think about eating them instead of just smelling them!

Do you grow sweet violet?  How do you use it?


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Comments

  1. I've always loved violets and would pick them from an old abandoned cottage that my parents owned near the edge of the town. It took forever to pick a bunch, but oh it was so worth it for the fragrance. I didn't know of their medicinal qualities until now. Thanks Liz.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Liz I have made some Violet Salve from this recipe on This Blessed Hearth
    http://theblessedhearth.blogspot.com.au/2011/05/making-violet-salve.html. I have also made violet leaf oil infusion from the link you have mentioned and used that in soap. I think I used violets for something else as well but can't remember now. As usual Isabell Shipard has some suggestions in her book including Violet Ointment and Violet Vinegar. We used to pick the flowers and eat them when we were kids :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. Liz, I have fields of violets in spring at my place:)!I use them for making sache for my towels and linen. They smell magically!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I use Heartsease to decorate cakes. You could do the same with these. Just dip them in egg white, then castor sugar and allow to dry. So pretty!

    ReplyDelete

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Thanks, I appreciate all your comments, suggestions and questions, but I don't always get time to reply right away. If you need me to reply personally to a question, please leave your email address in the comment or in your profile, or email me directly on eight.acres.liz at gmail.com

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