Here are a dozen pretty and practical ways to use violet flowers and leaves.
Violets (Viola odorata, V. sororia) are not only lovely to look at, but are cooling and healing.
The leaves and flowers are edible food herbs and are traditionally used in fighting eczema, chronic diseases, and oral or breast cancer.
A few studies of interest (there are more to explore in Pubmed!):
- Viola odorata has cytotoxic effects on 4T1 cells and affects antioxidant activity and metastasis in breast cancer.
- Viola-Odorata has dose-dependent inhibitory effects on the development of dysplasia (precursor to oral cancer) in tongue.
- Efficacy of Viola odorata in Treatment of Chronic Insomnia
Here are a few helpful links on identifying and foraging for violets. Picking only when the plant is in flower will help pinpoint the correct plant. (African violet houseplants are not related or edible/medicinal and should not be used in any of these recipes.)
- Wild Violet – Edible Wild Food
- Viola (Plant) – Wikipedia
- Foraging for Wild Violets – Grow Forage Cook Ferment
While violets are generally mild and safe for most people, if you have medical concerns about using them, check with your health care provider for advice. Violets have a mild laxative effect, so consume in moderation.
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1. Violet Leaf Infused Oil
This violet leaf infused oil can be massaged directly onto dry, irritated skin or used as an ingredient in recipes for salves, lotions, creams, lip balms, soaps, and lotion bars.
Shelf life of strained infused oil is around 1 year.
If you don’t have violet leaves where you live, you can purchase dried from Mountain Rose Herbs.
To make it, fill a canning jar about half-way with dried violet leaves. Cover with about twice as much as your favorite carrier oil, or to the top of the jar. (Suggested oils include sunflower, olive, sweet almond, apricot kernel, avocado, hemp, and so forth.)
For a quick infusion: Set the uncovered jar down into a small saucepan filled with a few inches of water. Heat over a low burner for a few hours, keeping a close eye that the water doesn’t evaporate out. Remove from heat and strain. The quick infusion is the best way to infuse coconut oil.
For a slower, more traditional infusion: Cap the jar of dried violet leaves and oil and tuck away in a cabinet for around 4 to 6 weeks, shaking occasionally as you remember to. When the infusing time has passed, strain.
For an alternative option: You could also set the jar of violet leaves and oil in a sunny windowsill for several days to a week to jump start the infusion. (Don’t store for long periods in sunlight though, as it tends to fade flowers and herbs over time.)
2. Violet Leaf Balm/Salve
Violet leaf infused oil makes this balm extra soothing, moisturizing, and toning.
It’s helpful for eczema, minor scrapes, rashes, and as a general skin-smoother.
Violet leaf balm (or salve) may also be helpful for treating fibrocystic breasts.
3. Violet Leaf Lip Balm
This extra soothing lip balm is perfect for those with chapped or dry lips.
You an also use it as an every day lip balm, to keep lips soft and protected.
To make, you’ll need:
- 3 1/2 tablespoons violet leaf (or leaf and flower) infused oil
- 1/2 tablespoon castor oil
- 1 tablespoon shea or mango butter
- 1 tablespoon beeswax pastilles
- 5 to 10 drops peppermint essential oil, optional
Combine the infused oil, castor oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a heatproof container or jar. (Use a clean empty tin can for easiest cleanup.)
Place the jar or container down into a small saucepan containing a few inches of water.
Heat the pan over a medium to medium-low burner until the wax is completely melted.
Pour into tins.
This lip balm is designed to be applied with your finger. If pouring into tubes, try decreasing the amount of oil by 1/2 to 1 tablespoon for a firmer texture.
4. Violet Infused Aloe
This soothing gel can be rubbed over mild irritations such as sunburn, bug bites, rashes, dry skin, razor burn and minor scrapes.
You can also incorporate it into lotion and cream recipes.
It’s super easy to make too!
You can find the full recipe and how to make it over at Learning and Yearning.
5. Violet Jelly
For this easy to make yummy jelly recipe, you’ll need:
- 2 to 3 cups fresh violet flowers
- 2 1/2 cups boiling water
- the juice of one large fresh lemon
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 package Sure-Jell pectin.
The finished product is delicious with a taste similar to grape jelly.
6. Violet Vinegar
Violet vinegar is not only beautiful to look at, it’s really useful too!
Here are 5 ways to use it:
- Vinegar baths
- Wasp stings
- Hair rinse
- Violet vinaigrette
7. Herbal Deodorant for Women’s Health
This homemade deodorant was designed especially for women.
It contains herbs, such as violets, that are used to promote lymph flow and prevent or treat issues with inflamed or cystic breast tissue.
Instead of applying a chemical laden, potentially toxic-to-your-breasts product under your arms each day, try this healthy herbal alternative instead!
Find the full recipe and directions to make over at my article: DIY Herbal Deodorant for Women’s Health.
8. Violet Ice Cubes (or Salad Toppers)
Dress up your spring lemonades and other beverages with pretty violet flower ice cubes.
- Fill an ice tray about half way with water.
- Place a fresh violet flower or two in each section of the tray.
- Pop in the freezer and freeze until almost solid, then fill the rest of the tray with more water.
- Freeze until completely solid.
You can also sprinkle violet flowers in salads, to add a pretty colorful touch!
9. Violet Soap
This lovely soap is made with violet leaf infused olive oil and colored a pretty natural green with chlorella powder.
Violets are excellent to use in skin products such as soap, especially if you have dry, irritated, or eczema prone skin.
(For more soap inspiration, check out my Simple & Natural Soapmaking print book!)
10. Spring Tonic Honey
This spring flower infused honey is a wonderful nutritious treat for you, both inside and out!
You can use it for:
- Seasonal allergies
- Face wash
- Minor wounds and burns
- Sore throat
11. Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup
Violet leaves can be used to make a super gentle cough syrup for mild throat irritations and coughs.
Find out how to make this yummy home remedy HERE.
12. Violet Flower Bath Soak
To make this lovely naturally colored bath soak, combine 1/4 cup fresh violet flowers with 1/2 cup sea salt in a mini food processor (like THIS ONE).
Blend well and spread in a thin layer over a sheet of wax paper to air dry overnight.
The next day, crumble the clumps of dried purple salt into a jar and mix with another 2 to 3 tablespoons of extra coarse sea salt or Epsom salts.
If desired, add 4 drops of an essential oil, such as lavender or clary sage for scent. Stir well.
To use, dump the bath soak into a tub as it fills with comfortably warm water. Note that your bath water may turn a pale shade of purple, depending on how many violets you use, but it won’t stain your tub.