Sweet violet originated in Europe, North West Africa and Asia Minor and is cultivated in New Zealand and Australia as well as other countries. Historically this delightful herb has been used to to treat insomnia, epilepsy, inflammation of the female reproductive tract and the eyes; pleurisy, jaundice, tuberculosis, bladder and kidney problems and problems to do with the head. It was also used to strengthen the heart and to treat moderate anger; gout, quinsy, ague, and headache due to tiredness or insomnia. Sweet violet was also used internally and externally to treat tongue cancer, the pain of throat cancer, and externally for the treatment of swellings, bruises, inflammations and piles.
Today the herb is used to treat pulmonary congestion, dry coughs, bronchitis, chronic nasopharyngeal catarrh; migraines; rheumatism, and as a mouthwash for inflammations of the throat and mouth. Sweet violet has been shown to have antineoplastic (inhibiting or preventing the growth or development of malignant cells) properties and this substantiates the tradition of using the herb to treat tumours, especially in the alimentary canal and breast. It is also believed to be protective against the spread of cancer cells following the destruction or removal of the tumour.
Sweet violet is grown from seed and by separating new plants that have grown from the mother plant. In winter, violets like an open sunny position to flower and in summer they need to be protected from hot sun so they grow well under deciduous trees. Over fertilising them will increase leaf growth and reduce flowers. Violets are drought tender and frost resistant.
The leaves and flowers are used as herbal medicine and should be harvested at or just prior to flowering. The adult dose of the dried herb is 2 - 4 grams three times daily.
Proprietor, author, and tutor of The Home Herbalist Online Course.