Although violet blossoms are long gone from our area, the leaves have persisted in spite of the dry, hot weather and can still be found flourishing in shady spots around my house.
I’ve touched on it before, but I wanted to highlight today just how beneficial violet can be so that the leaves can be picked & utilized while they can still be found.
Violet leaf is a wonderful soother of inflamed skin and can help tame rashes, hives & eczema. It helps moisturize, tone and heal the skin. My favorite use for it, however, is in making a balm to help fibrocystic breasts.
This past winter, I had a major freakout moment. I discovered the dreaded-by-all-women lump and fretted about it for a month or two since both my mother & grandmother had breast cancer, then finally went and had a checkup.
My bloodwork was beautiful, I was deemed perfectly healthy, and it was just a very mild case of fibrocystic breast disease. Whew! The naturopath I saw is wonderful and she had many ideas to treat it, however I was broker than broke, so had to rely on a virtually cost-free home remedy if I could find one.
I went home, started researching my options, and discovered that violet leaf was exactly what I needed. At the time, it was growing like crazy around the house, so I picked some, infused an oil with the heat method (described below) and started applying that night.
Within mere days, I felt complete and total relief. Every so often, the nagging pain flares up again, I treat it a few days with the violet leaf (I turned it into a balm after some time passed, to be less messy than the oil) and it feels better again.
Now, this is just MY experience. This does not mean it will help everyone. If you have concerns about a lump in your breast, you should definitely see a qualified medical professional immediately. I happen to prefer my naturopath over any ole regular doctor – but that’s totally on you to decide.
This is just a recounting of something that helped for my situation and should NOT to be construed as medical advice.
You should also check your diet, which is the root cause of many symptoms. In my case, in trying to cut budget corners, I switched from real butter to margarine (which is not so good for ANY type of inflammation.) We’ve since resumed eating the real deal and I do think that helped along with the balm.
Okay, now that that disclaimer is out of the way – if you’d like to try this, here’s how you can make Violet Leaf Balm (or Oil):
First, you’ll want to gather some fresh, unsprayed violet leaves. Look for where you saw violet blooms in the spring, you should find plenty of the heart-shaped leaves still around.
You can also use dried leaves, which I prefer if the balm needs to have a longer shelf life. Oils infused with fresh plants tend to spoil quicker. If you have none available in your area, you can purchase some from Mountain Rose Herbs.
You can infuse the oil either the slow way (takes about five or six weeks) or the fast way (takes just a few hours.)
For the slow way, place several handfuls of dried violet leaves in a mason jar, cover with a light oil (I like olive oil), cap, and let sit in a dark place for five or six weeks, shaking occasionally. Strain into a fresh glass jar (I sterilize my jars in the dishwasher using the sanitize cycle, before using) and store, tightly sealed and in a dark, cool place.
For the fast method: Place your leaves in the jar (fresh or dried), cover with olive oil, but don’t cap. Set the jar in a saucepan half filled with water and slowly bring the water to just under a simmer, then turn it down a bit more. Let this infuse for around two to three hours.
You don’t want your water to be hot enough to boil (steam droplets in your oil is not good.)
In no way, shape or form should you get your oil so hot that you end up deep-frying your leaves and the whole mess smells like burnt parsnips. Trust me, that is not a smell you want to smell! If you accidentally, sorta, kinda do that – like I may have accidentally, sorta, kinda did one time – just toss it and start over.
Once your oil is sufficiently infused, strain out the violet leaves and discard. You can either use this Violet Leaf Oil, as is, or go a step further and turn it into a balm.
To make a balm, any type of balm, I use roughly 3 1/2 ounces of oil for every 1/2 ounce of beeswax. If I want a softer, looser salve, I use a bit less beeswax. For this violet leaf balm, we want a softer consistency, so it won’t drag across the skin.
- 3 1/2 ounces of violet leaf infused oil
- a bit under 1/2 ounce of beeswax
That’s it! Melt those two together in a heat proof container set into a pan of simmering water, then carefully pour into containers to cool.
This recipe is very customizable. For example: I sometimes like to add rose leaves or petals to the initial infusing in order to make a Violet-Rose balm. (Roses have tons of skin soothing benefits.)
When I make this with fresh plant matter, I add a spoonful of Meadowfoam Seed Oil and a few drops of Rosemary Antioxidants to extend the shelf-life. Meadowfoam Seed Oil also helps the active constituents of a balm soak deeper into the skin.
If you are making this for eczema, I highly recommend including a tablespoon of Tamanu Oil in your 3 1/2 total ounce amount. It is fabulous stuff – great for so many skin conditions!
One more random use: Several months ago, my daughter had a very sore throat and swollen lymph nodes.
I gently massaged Violet Leaf Balm on the outside of her neck a few times a day and she said it helped immensely. This winter, I plan to make the balm and add a few vapor-rub type essential oils like Eucalyptus, Camphor, Rosemary, Lavender & Peppermint to test out on future sore throats & colds.
I hope you get a chance to make and try this great little balm! Just remember: external use only, not for use on open wounds, and not a substitute for qualified medical care! If you’re pregnant or nursing – check with a doctor before use!
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