Written by Hayden Stebbins, FH

Genus and Species: Viola odorata, Viola spp.

Family: Violaceae

Common Names: Violet

Energetics: Cooling, moistening

Properties: Demulcent, lymphatic


Degree of Action: 1st

Tissue State: Hot, dry

Key Uses:

King considered the Violet species interchangeable and used the flowers and seeds of V. odorata as a laxative, and the root as an emetic or cathartic. The seeds were also used for “uric acid gravel.” King also reports the scent from the flower can cause faintness and giddiness, and in one case caused apoplexy. Combined with Corydalis formosa (now Dicentra formosa), it was said t be a valuable remedy for syphilis. Violet was used in “pectoral, nephritic, and cutaneous affections, especially crusta lactea.” Best used when fresh. The roots of V. tricolor are tonic from eight to ten grains, purgative 25-35 grains, and emetic from 40-60 grains. King believed there more uses for Viola spp. then at the time of his writing, and encouraged further investigation.
Scudder, 1893: A tincture of the entire plant when in flower using alcohol of 98%, from a fraction of a drop to ten drops. “It stimulates waste and secretion, relieves nervous irritability, and improves nutrition. It has been used for those purposes called alterative. It deserves study.”

Clinical Uses:
Susun Weed breast cancer

Fresh Viola x wittrockiana flowers were found to contain 514.62 mg/kg phosphorous, 3,964.86 mg/kg potassium, 486.44 mg/kg calcium, 190.05 mg/kg magnesium, 7.29 mg/kg Iron, 7.93 manganese, 1.95 mg/kg copper, 11.52 mg/kg zinc, and 0.84 mg/kg molybdenum. Flowers are a good source of
Edible Flowers – A New Promising Source of Mineral Elements in Human Nutrition

A double-blind, randomized control trial with 182 children with intermittent asthma found that, along with short-acting b-agonist, 2.5 ccs or 5 ccs of violet syrup 3 times per day for 2 to 5 and 5 years and older children, respectively, significantly decreased duration required to reduce cough 50 and 100% after 5 days when compared to a placebo syrup. Violet syrup was also found to reduce wheeze in the pulmonary examination. The cough syrup contained 12g dry viola flowers in each 100 cc of total syrup.
The Effect of Viola odorata Flower Syrup on the Cough of Children with Asthma: A Double-Blind, Randomized Controlled Trial.

50 patients aged 16-50 years old with chronic insomnia were treated with 2 drops of Viola odorata flower in sweet almond oil in each nostril every night for one month. Each drop weighed 33 mg. Insomnia severity index scores decrease significantly from 16.32 ± 3.755 at baseline to 12.58 ± 3.592 at day 15 to 6.48 ± 4.306 at the end of the study. Seven patients reported adverse events: postnasal discharge (n=3), cough (n=2), and itching/burning sensation in the throat (n=2). All these events were transient and mild. In Iranian Traditional Medicine, insomnia is seen as brain dystemperamnt caused by dryness of the brain, so it can be corrected with moistening agents, such as violet and oil. I would be interested to see if straight sweet almond oil would have the same effect and to see a side-by-side trial done with a placebo. It is also unclear if these effects would last long term.
Efficacy of Viola odorata in Treatment of Chronic Insomnia

Constituents: Cyclotides

Standard infusion: 4-8 ounces, 3 times daily
Tincture: Fresh leaf (1:2 in 95% alcohol); dried leaf (1:5, 60% alcohol); 1-5 ml (0.2-1 tsp.) 3 times daily