blooms of the Viola sororia
Confederate violet (Viola sororia)

Botanical: Violata spp.

Family: Violaceae

energetics: cooling, moistening

parts used: leaf, flower, root

actions: alterative, anti-inflammatory, anti-neoplastic, anti-rheumatic, aperient, cholagogue, depurative, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, lymphatic, nervine, neurovasodilator, peripheral vasodilator, vulnerary

used for: breast health, bronchitis, chronic skin conditions, constipation, cysts, sore throats, swollen lymph glands, urinary tract irritation

plant preparations: food, syrup, tea, tincture

The species name for these cherished violets that are intent on growing anywhere and everywhere at the farm is “sororia”, which means “sister”. It may very well be that this is why so many women feel an alliance with these sweet little heralds of spring. My daughters and I pick them together… it is a spring ritual.

Sweet violet, common violet, in the spring you will see violets sprouting up in yards, marshy places, stream-sides, and on the edges of moist forests. They are a must-have for your home health care cabinet.

There are many recorded historical journals for all the violets. As far back as 1885, a study compared violet leaf’s vitamin C content to that of oranges and vitamin A content to that of spinach. From the basal leaves, if collected in spring, this early research reported that violets contain twice as much vitamin C as the same weight of orange and more than twice the amount of vitamin A, gram for gram, when compared with spinach! [2]

Interestingly, the flower of the violet is not a reproductive flower… Let me explain… when my children were small, I often said, “Where there is a flower, there will be a seed.” It was part of explaining why a tomato was a fruit, not a vegetable. But the flower of the violet is different. The flower that bears fruit is an inconspicuous green. jim mcdonald says, “The violet’s spring blossoms have therefore been seen as a celebration of life and the rebirth of Spring, and are believed to banish despair and “comfort and strengthen the heart.”(Source)

It is commonly said that violets flower in the spring for the sheer exuberance of doing so. Who could not love these little happy beauties!


The Cherokee used an infusion of violets roots to soak corn seeds in prior to planting to repel insects. [8]

Culinary Uses of Violet

Violet is an incredible edible, can be used in salads, to thicken soup, flavor vinegar, and even to assist in belaying the symptoms of colds. They make an amazing tea that not only relaxes, but can also be used as a laxative. Now, that is flower power! The leaves have a mucilaginous (slippery) quality when chewed and can be used to thicken soups and stews (think okra and gumbo). They have a mild, slightly sweet and grassy flavor, and the earlier in the season, the more tender they are. [3]

“Nutritionally, violets supply ample amounts of vitamin C and bioflavonoids such as rutin, making it a useful tonic to those with venous insufficiency such as hemorrhoids, spider veins, varicose veins, broken capillaries and easy bruising. They are also loaded with carotenes, the precursor to Vitamin A. Both of these important vitamins are associated with increased immune function and wound healing. Violet is a healer, you see. Violet roots reach way down into moist spring soil and pull up vital nutrients and minerals such as Calcium and Magnesium. The leaves become little green vitamin tablets.” [3] jim mcdonald says, “On a foundational level, violets nourish. First and foremost: eat them.” They are delicious.

Violet is an incredible edible, can be used in salads, to thicken soup, flavor vinegar, and even to assist the body dealing with cold symptoms. They make an amazing tea that not only relaxes, but can also be used as a laxative. Now,… Share on X

The energetics of violet are cooling and moistening. These are properties you can acquaint yourself with firsthand by putting the plant in your mouth. The mucilaginous properties of the leaves are felt on the tongue within seconds of chewing, as a cooling and slippery mucilage coats the mouth. This is proof of the medicine, which coats mucus membranes along the digestive tract, soothing and nourishing as it goes.

Using Violet for Wellness

The violet’s… “long history of medicinal use begs that we give them more crucial attention and recognition.” [4]

In terms of supporting health, violet is a gentle, but powerful herb. While it is often classified as an alterative, it also stimulates the lymphatic glands, this helps the body get rid of toxins and bacteria.

There’s a reason that they sprout up first thing in the spring! They are one of the best spring tonics helping our bodies move from the sluggishness of winter into an energized spring.

Respiratory System

The violet, due to its mucilagous content, has soothing anti-tussive and anti-inflammatory properties.

Its saponin content gives the violet expectorant properties (think violet syrup, yum). The salicylic acid gives the plant analgesic properties. Add the methyl-calicylate, eugenol, and beta-sisosterol and you add antipyretic to the list (it can reduce fever). Want more? This mighty little beauty contains malic acid and quercetin giving it bacteriostatic properties (prevents the growth of bacteria) This, all growing in one cocktail of a plant, beautiful!

Use violet to soothe the symptoms of bronchitis, cold, flu, asthma. It helps reduce swollen mucous membranes. Most preparations of violet can decrease dry coughing and reduce inflamed airways, making way for easier breathing.

Digestive System

The demulcent (soothing) properties of the mucilage in violet is helpful for duodenal ulcers and gastritis, helping to reduce inflammation of gastric mucosa. An infusion of one teaspoon dried flowers for a cup of water. Drink two cups per day.

Violet is a mild herb with many uses. The malic acid exercises a mild laxative effect and can help with constipation.

A mild tea of fresh or dried violet leaves can be made into a nasal rinse by added ¼ teaspoon salt per 8 ounce cup of well strained tea, and it is wonderfully soothing when dryness accompanies inflammation of the sinuses. This same preparation can be used as an eyewash and is really quite impressive; use it when the eyes are dry and blinking feels like someone’s scratching sandpaper over your cornea. For both eye and nasal rinses, it combines well with a slew of other herbs, from plantain to strawberry leaves to purple loosestrife (I almost always use plantain). Violets have a reputation for acting as a laxative; this results from the mucilage helping to lubricate the intestines, helping to ease the passage of stool if it is inhibited by dryness. Along the way, it will help soothe corollary inflammation. (Source)

Then let me to the valley go, this pretty flower to see;
That I may also learn to grow in sweet humility.
~Jane Taylor

violet Violata sororia

If you are blue
You’re lover, untrue
Violets might be the herb for you.
~ Brigitte Mars

Video! Violets are a beautiful and useful herb. Listen in while Jessie Conaway, Brigitte Mars, Mary Bove and Matthew Wood talk about this spring bloomer.


GRAS – No side effects or drug interactions have been reported for violets. There are no reported risks for pregnancy or lactation that are noted. [7] Enjoy your violet tea!


  • Photo Credit, 2016 Keir Morse,
  • Erichsen-Brown, Charlotte. (1979) Medicinal and Other Uses of North American Plants; a Historical Survey with Special Reference to the Eastern Indian Tribes. Dover Publications. New York.
  • “Viola! Violets!” Sarah P April 5, 2012
  • Violet’s Edible and Medicinal Uses, Juliet Blankespoor
  • Ross,Rachel Article, “The Virtues of Violets – Medical Uses of Violets” April 29, 2014
  • Brinker, Francis. (2010) Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines. Fourth Edition. Eclectic Medical Publications, Sandy, Oregon.
  • Appell, Scott D. The Ethnobotanical Uses of the Genus Viola by Native Americans. The Violet Gazette, Summer 2000, B1=3, P4.

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"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease" ~ Thomas Jefferson