Blue Violet

Blue violet
Violet scientifically known as Viola odorata is a small bushy plant that belongs to Violaceae – Violet family.

The plant is native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to North America and Australia.  From old ages it has been grown in gardens, and now it has spread to most of Europe.

Common names of the plants are Sweet Violet, English Violet, Garden Violet, Florist’s Violet, wood violet, common violet, garden violet, fragrant violet, sweet blue violet and violet.

The scientific name of the genus “viola” comes from the Latin. In turn, it comes from the Greek word “Io”, who was the lover of Jupiter. Jupiter’s wife was jealous of her, so Jupiter protected her turning her into a calf that was fed in the meadow. For “Io” could eat well, Jupiter provided her with violets.

The species name “odorata” (= smell) comes from the Latin and refers to the characteristic intense aroma that this violet produces.

It is known for its medicinal properties and the many health benefits it procures the body. The sweet, unmistakable scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations and has consequently been used in production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes. It is commonly used as remedy for coughs and sore throat, hoarseness and tonsillitis. It is valued as an expectorant, diaphoretic, antipyretic, and anti-bacterial, diuretic and as a laxative, in bilious affections. It is used either alone or in mixture with other herbs for catarrhal and pulmonary troubles and for calculous affections.

Both the legendary origin of the violet as well as its peculiar smell has been momentous to turn it into a symbol of love. There have been many lovers who have shown their love by giving violets to his beloved. The scent of violet has also been used to create love potions, with whom he could woo the woman he loved.

Plant description

Violet is a small bushy, hardy, evergreen, herbaceous flowering, perennial plant that grows about 4-6 inches (10-15cm) tall and 8 to 24 inches wide. The plant is found growing in field, woods, thickets, stream banks, old parks, gardens and roadsides, waste areas and lawn. The plant preferably grows in rich, humus-rich, cool and well-drained soil although they prefer moisture-retentive, rich soils. Stem are almost a leafless scape, scale-like bracts halfway or above.


Violet leaves are palmate, alternate, and are somewhat an oblong heart or kidney shape. The leaf margin is serrated (toothed) and they do not have any hairs. They can grow to anywhere between 13mm and 50mm in width.

Flowers & Fruits

Purple/blue tends to dominate the wild violets though they are also yellow and white. The flower has an inner white area and is somewhat hairy. Each flower slightly droops. Flowers bloom in early spring and usually by the time the temperatures get hot the flowers die off but the leaves remain. Flowers have five petals arranged with two upper, two middle, and one lower petal, which is often larger. There are many colors to be found: dark purple, yellow, white, beige, blue, even multi colored. Flowers are replaced by spherical, short-hairy, light purple, 3-lobed, approx. 7 mm (0.28 in.) long capsule. Scape curve towards the ground in fruiting stage.

 ---Medicinal Action and Uses---

The Violet is still found in the Pharmacopoeias.

  1. Violet flowers possess slightly laxative properties. The best form of administration is the Syrup of Violets. Syrop Violae of the British Pharmacopoeia directs that it may be given as a laxative to infants in doses of 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful, or more, with an equal volume of oil of Almonds.
  2. Syrup of Violets is also employed as a laxative, and as a colouring agent and flavouring in other neutral or acid medicines.
  3. The older writers had great faith in Syrup of Violets: ague, epilepsy, inflammation of the eyes, sleeplessness, pleurisy, jaundice and quinsy are only a few of the ailments for which it was held potent. Gerard says: 'It has power to ease inflammation, roughness of the throat and comforteth the heart, assuageth the pains of the head and causeth sleep.'
  4. The flowers are crystallized as an attractive sweetmeat, and in the days of Charles II, a favourite conserve, Violet Sugar, named then 'Violet Plate,' prepared from the flowers, was considered of excellent use in consumption and was sold by all apothecaries. The flowers have undoubted expectorant qualities.
  5. The fresh flowers have also been used as an addition to salads; they have a laxative effect.
  6. An infusion of the flowers is employed, especially on the Continent, as a substitute for litmus, as a test of acids and alkalis.

Health Benefits

  • Treat skin problems
  • Pain-killer
  • Aid digestion
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Treat hemorrhoid
  • Reduce Cysts
  • Treat cancer
  • Reduce fever
  • Blood purifier
  • Relieve cough
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Colds and the Flu

  • For some folks, violet leaves can cause externally itching and irritation of the skin.
  • Roots and seeds can be toxic in large amounts.
This herb is sold by the Ounce is Copyright © 2000-2023