Violets, also referred to as sweet violets, and botanically known as Viola odorata, are beautiful, aromatic, purple flowers. They usually bloom during spring and make their presence known by giving off a wonderful scent. Violets are native to Asia, Europe, and North Africa but are now widely naturalized in many parts of the world including the US where many gardeners consider them as a weed. Unfortunately, most of these people do not know about the medicinal properties of violet flowers.
[Note: The Right Flowers is not a medical site. Knowledge of and information about the therapeutic benefits and applications of flowers, while known through the ages, does not constitute medical advice. If you are having health issues, you should consult with a physician.]
Sweet violets have a special place in European folklore. Their sweet and aromatic flowers were used by ancient Greeks to make perfumes. Violet was so special to Greeks that Athens adopted the flower as its symbol. Apart from Greeks, Celts mixed violets with milk to produce cosmetics while Romans used the flowers to make wine. In addition, the flowers were used by many ancient civilizations to make cough syrups, laxatives, and sedatives.
Medicinal properties of violet flowers are good for the following conditions:
Colds and flu
Violet flowers have mild demulcent and expectorant properties. These help to relieve chest congestion while mucilage, vitamin C and other compounds in the flowers assist in relieving pulmonary inflammation. The combination of these compounds eases dry coughs and makes it easier to breathe. Since sweet violet extracts are highly effective in easing coughing, they work well for asthmatic people by easing respiration.
At the same time, sweet violets contain salicylic acid and rutin which works similarly to aspirin. These help to relieve pain and reduce inflammation making violets a powerful flu remedy.
Traditionally, people nursing a broken heart were given sweet violet as a remedy to ease their heartaches. Apart from soothing emotional pain, the flowers are good for your physical heart too as they are high in bioflavonoid rutin. This compound helps in blood circulation, prevents clots and lowers the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
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Violet is famous for reducing fibrotic tissues in the breasts, lumps, and cysts. According to Matthew Wood, a herbalist, a fresh poultice of violet flowers can help with lymphatic, and breast cancer.
Sacyclic acid in the flowers has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. These assist in reducing pain in inflamed joints making sweet violets highly effective against rheumatic pain.
When crushed violet flowers are applied in the form of hot poultice, infused oil or salve, they treat fresh wounds, bedsores, and crevasses on breasts due to difficult breastfeeding. Violet is also great for treating dry skin, insect bites, hemorrhoids, and varicose veins.
Now, with the above medicinal properties of violet flowers in mind, next time you come across this fragrant plant, think twice before uprooting it from your garden even if you did not plant it.