Botanical: Viola odorata
Family: Violaceae (violets)
Other common names: Violet, Sweet Violet, Garden Violet, Common Blue Violet, English Violet
Blue Violet Leaf is best known as an effective expectorant that works to clear the upper respiratory system of phlegm and relieve bronchitis, dry coughs and asthma. This Sweet Violet also has an age-old reputation for cleansing blood, calming nerves, relieving painful headaches and insomnia .
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Blue Violet is a tiny, but hardy, member of a large family of perennials. It is a native of the Old World and now commonly distributed throughout the world. This delightful messenger of Spring is cultivated as an ornamental and also grows wild in meadows, thickets, hedges and along roadsides and edges of woods, where its creeping rootstock sends out runners along the ground that take root. This modest, spreading plant creates good ground cover and thrives in rich, well-drained, moisture-retentive soil in sun or partial shade and generally grows to a height of six inches. Since about 500 B.C., Blue Violet Leaves have been used medicinally, and were actually first known in poultices to treat skin cancers, as the physicians of the school of Aesclepios used Violet Leaves to treat topical cancers. Violets were the national flowers of Athens, and ancient Athenians covered their corpses with the beautiful and fragrant blooms. The Greeks also prescribed Violet Leaf to moderate anger, and Violet was also the plant of Venus and Aphrodite and believed to suggest strong emotions. The Romans drank it in a wine, and the first-century Roman scholar, Pliny, recommended it for preventing headaches, dizziness, gout and spleen disorders. The Violet was the favorite flower of Napoleon (sometimes nicknamed Caporal Violette), who died wearing a locket of Violets from Josephine's grave. The famed seventeenth-century herbalist, Nicholas Culpeper, recommended its cleansing qualities, saying that it "doth purge the body of choleric humours," and in herbal medicine, Blue Violet Leaf has traditionally been regarded as a cleansing herb with a background of treatment for cancer. In the 1930s, it was widely used by herbalists for cancer and is still occasionally featured in alternative cancer therapies, but there are no clinical trials to prove its efficacy. Violets are used to flavor and color candy and breath fresheners; included on cakes as decorations; in drinks, sweets, syrups, salads and desserts; in cosmetics; and especially in perfumery. Violet is a bitter, aromatic, sweet, mucilaginous and cooling herb, and the whole, beautifully-scented plant is collected during the Springtime and flowering season, dried and used commercially and in herbal medicines. Some of the constituents included in Blue Violet Leaf are saponins, salicylates, alkaloids, glucosides, rutin, quercetin, ferulic acid, flavonoids, essential oil, mucilage, odoratine, irone and ionone (its main aromatic element, which was synthesized in 1893).
Blue Violet Leaf has been used for centuries as a blood purifier and "alterative," or agent that gradually converts an unhealthy condition into a healthy state and facilitates a beneficial change in the body, frequently by cleansing and stimulating the efficient removal of waste products from the system. It has a reputation as a fine purifier that helps to eliminate toxins from the blood, and it is believed that the effects may be noticed quite plainly, even if the pollution of the blood has gone quite far.
Because Blue Violet is said to create better blood, the herb is generally thought to improve the body's resistance to disease and infection. Known to remove toxins from the blood, Blue Violet has been used to alleviate boils, abscesses, pimples, psoriasis, eczema, acne and other skin problems caused by polluted blood. It is also thought to help ease scrofula and swollen glands.
As an effective herbal expectorant, Blue Violet Leaf is said to be very helpful for the temporary discomforts of respiratory problems. It appears to act by loosening mucous obstructions in the inner organs and help produce and expel phlegm from the lungs. The herb has been traditionally used to relieve bronchitis, excess respiratory phlegm, general catarrh, asthma, whooping cough and chronic and dry coughs.
Blue Violet Leaf has been used for centuries to relieve pain and soothe the nerves. It is a calming herb that has been helpful in cases of sleeplessness, anxiety, hysteria, lamenting and other emotional and nervous disorders.
The salicylate content in the leaves acts as a pain reliever (it is the natural forerunner of the synthetic aspirin), and as such, Blue Violet Leaf has been employed to relieve body pain (including rheumatic, limb, extremity and joint pains) and headaches (even severe headaches).
With regard to the herb's traditional use as a detoxifier, many herbalists think that Blue Violet Leaf's actions as a blood cleanser may have some effects in warding off infection; uncontaminated blood may promote a higher resistance to disease and infection.
Used externally as an herbal antiseptic, Blue Violet Leaf's disinfectant properties are often included in eyewashes and mouthwashes for throat infections and mouth infections.
Large amounts of Blue Violet Leaf Herbal Supplement (many times the recommended dosage) may cause nausea and vomiting because of the irritant effects of saponins on the digestive system.