Hippocrates, in the ancient times, classified the violet as a “moist” plant, which is best used for treating liver disorders as well as bad tempers. In the 16th century, the English used syrups made from violets for their laxative properties. Violet remedies were also used for pleurisy, epilepsy, and jaundice. Culpepper, a 17th century herbalist states that “All the violets are cold and moist while they are fresh and green, and are used to cool any heat or distemperature of the body.” He personally recommends the use of violet concoctions to treat various skin and eye disorders, as well as congestion and constipation.
As science advanced through time it has been it has been theorized that that a lot of these known medicinal powers of violets in the history of folklore have been exaggerated and could not merit enough scientific evidence. However, further advancement in medical studies of the present period has found that the flowers, as well as the leaves and the roots of violets in fact do contain various healing compounds.
An example that was proven by research was that Viola odorata contains phenolic glycosides, flavonoids, saponins, alkaloids, mucilage, and tannins among other things. These compounds work in several ways to cure ailments.
- The flavonoids act as diuretics to help treat individuals who suffer from elevated blood pressure.
- The alkaloids have vasolidating effects, causing blood vessels to relax, allowing the blood to flow easier; thus, it helps decrease blood pressure.
- The mucilage and saponins are soothing expectorants that help relieve coughs and other bronchial ailments.
- The salicylic acid in violets acts as painkillers and as an anti-inflammatory compound similar to the active ingredient in aspirin which helps people reduce arthritis discomforts or other discomfort felt in the joints.
- James A. Duke, an herbalist and a plant expert, states that the significant amounts of rutin, a compound that strengthens capillaries, are found in violet flowers. This compound prevents “leakage” from the blood vessels resulting in less swelling in pain, which benefits people who suffer from inflammation.
- Violets contain rich anti-oxidant compounds in the form of beta carotene and ascorbic acid. A 140 ml serving of violet leaves provides as much vitamin C equivalent to 4 oranges.
Commision E, a group of experts based in Germany which judges the effectiveness and safety of herbal medications, has approved violet tea as a solution for several skin problems. Herbalists worldwide attest to the efficacy of violets as treatment for various illnesses.