Viola odorata
Viola odorata

Part Used: Herb.

Violet has a long history of use for the lungs, lymph system and as an aid in some cancers. Chronic lymph congestion, swollen glands. Eczema. Allergies and allergic reactions. Soothing, expectorant and anti-infective for the lungs: full cough, dry irritative cough, cough with tough mucous, whooping cough, bronchial asthma. Bladder irritation, difficult urination. Larger doses traditionally used in cancers and tumors esp. of lungs, skin, throat, breasts, stomach, and colon.

In looking to herbal aids for people I always look first to the herbs that are abundant in many locations, can be gathered fresh over a long period and are mild-acting (which doesn't mean ineffective) and nutritional. Along with an amazingly versatile herb like Plantain, I would place Violet herb. Violets grow in many garden, lawn and abandoned homestead locations in fertile soils. Violet has the potential to take over some of our herb beds, but it seems to behave when boundaries start to be set, and can make a good ground cover, spreading from its rhizomes. There are many varieties of Violet, all of which are used interchangeably more or less. The variety we will speak of is the Blue or Garden Violet. The Violets begin to emerge and bloom in the early spring, and the leaves can be gathered throughout the summer. They are one of my favorite greens, the young leaves being gathered and added raw to salads (best), or lightly cooked as a green. The leaves are high in minerals, trace minerals and Vitamin A and C (especially raw). The flowers have some of the highest concentrations of Vitamin C in the plant kingdom, and add beauty to a salad, with a sweet, nutty flavor. Violet is a cooling, dispersing and de-toxifying herb. It is a lymph system de-toxifier. From ancient European traditions comes its use for dry and allergic skin conditions like eczema. It seems to have antihistamine along with immune-balancing properties, suggesting its use in other allergic and hypersensitive conditions, and perhaps partly explaining its traditional use in asthma. It can be applied as a poultice or extract for dry, itching skin conditions. This herb has a long tradition as an anti-cancer and anti-tumor (through its dissolvent action) aid. A famous case of its use by a member of British royalty to cure throat cancer has been handed down, and it has been used as an aid in breast, uterine, lung, throat, stomach and colon cancers. Its use in breast cancer is augmented by its lymph-clearing properties. It is also used externally on tumors and hard swellings. I was once given a vision by the violets as to their particular use by women in cancer. Violet, as would be expected is used in acute or chronic swollen glands. Its effects on the lungs make it useful for dry, hard phlegm and/or inflamed lung conditions; as well as chronic bronchitis and asthma with tough mucous. Finally, Violet has a reputation in neurogenic bladder (bladder spasm). There are a few folks who might get a case of mild diarrhea from long-term, high volume use of fresh Violet due to its high saponin content; but is in general a mild-acting, safe, abundant and wonderful herb.

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