The Medicinal Properties and Health Benefits of Violets.
Violets have been known throughout history as a healing herb. 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.
Violets have been known throughout history as a healing herb. 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 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 vasodilating 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, a 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 also attest to the efficacy of violets as a treatment for various illnesses.
VIOLET ESSENTIAL OIL AND VIOLET LEAF ABSOLUTE
There are actually some 300 species of violet belonging to the Violaceae family, they are native to France, Italy, China and Greece but are now cultivated all over the planet. The majority of violets harvested are used in the perfume industry with some being used in food flavoring and confectionary.
WHAT IS VIOLET ESSENTIAL OIL?
It is only a small percentage of the plant (Viola odorata) that ends up being used in aromatherapy and finds its way into essential oil bottles. The essential oil is extracted from either the flower and/or the leaf by means of solvent extraction. Typically, it is the intense green violet leaf which is most commonly available in aromatherapy with violet flower essential oil being extremely hard to come by.
The yield is incredibly low with some 1000 kilograms of violet leaves yielding only a kilogram of concrete residue. The pure extract is also called violet leaf absolute. The violet leaf absolute is an expensive oil—typically sold in smaller sizes as well lower purity (ie 10%) products in order to make it affordable.
According to the Encyclopedia of Essential Oils by Julia Lawless, violet essential oil contains a number of therapeutic properties which are responsible for its medicinal benefits. These properties include mild analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, diuretic, expectorant, laxative and stimulant actions with a broad-ranging therapeutic potential.
1. SKIN CARE
Violet essential oil is gentle acting on the skin and is well-known for its ability to help with a number of skin conditions. The leaf, as well as its flowers, has been used traditionally to treat a host of skin issues, so before spending even more money on those commercial skin care products, give this natural treatment a try.
Violet essential oil is especially effective on dry skin and can help soothe and heal inflammation as well as thread veins. It can also be used as a natural treatment to deal with common skin conditions like acne and eczema. Violet essential oil is considered to be safe for topical use so long as you take the precaution of diluting it first.
Violet essential oil can be used with great effect on the body to deal with conditions caused by inflammation. Violet essential oil has anti-inflammatory compounds and many sufferers of rheumatism and arthritis have found it to be an effective remedy when massaged into their painful muscles and joints.
Violet essential oil can also help stimulate circulation of blood to the muscles. If you are going to massage your body with violet essential oil it is important to remember that it must be diluted first with a suitable carrier oil. When it comes to essential oils, a little goes a very long way so be sure that you follow the recommended instructions for dilution.
Sweet almond, jojoba and coconut oil make excellent carrier oils for a luxurious and fragrant massage. If you prefer, you can simply add a few drops of violet essential oil to your bathtub and soak up the goodness.
3. HEADACHES AND STRESS
Violet essential oil has comforting and calming properties and can be used to help ease a number of conditions. It is said to be able to ease headaches and migraines as well as dizziness, anxiety and nervous exhaustion.
Like so many essential oils, violet oil could be a real natural alternative to pharmaceutical medications that seem to be overprescribed. Unlike most pharmaceuticals, violet essential oil is not addictive and is unlikely to create any adverse side effects.
4. COLDS AND SINUS PROBLEMS
Violet essential oil can be very effective in getting rid of some of the more troublesome symptoms of the common cold like respiratory congestion blocked sinuses and sore throats.Because of its expectorant properties, violet oil can be diffused near your bed at night and the vapors inhaled to help clear your lungs of phlegm and any other congestion.
You could also inhale the vapors by adding a few drops to a sink filled with hot water-simply cover your head and neck with a towel and breathe in the vapors. This has the added bonus of clearing out the pores of your skin.
When I moved to a large city in South East Asia for the first time, I suffered badly from insomnia so I know how debilitating a condition it can be. Without sufficient sleep, your body and mind are nowhere near capable of functioning effectively and work becomes far more stressful than normal.
Mood swings are a common result and getting a good night’s sleep becomes all consuming. I tried a number of medications back in those days and none of them proved especially effective so it is good to know that nature might have provided the answer in this and a number of other essential oils.
Try diffusing violet essential oil near your bed at night; there is no guarantee that it will be effective but many people have reported success and unlike pharmaceutical drugs, there is no absolute harm in trying.
Violet Oil is often used in perfumes. Typically, the oil from the flower is more sought after than from the leaf. The fragrance of the Violet leaf oil is earthy with a green note. Violet flower oil has a sweeter, floral scent. Almost all Violet essential oils and enfleurages are made from the leaf. The Flower is typically used more in the perfume industry.
Since the leaf is more available it’s actually good to mix the leaf oil with a true floral scent such as Jasmine or Rose Absolute.
HOW TO USE IT
Like any other essential oil, this wonderful oil can be used in a variety of ways depending on your therapeutic needs.
- It can be inhaled to help with sleep issues, anxiety and to relieve congestion. The easiest way to do this is to add a few drops to a handkerchief or tissue paper and inhale the aroma directly.
- Alternatively, if you have a diffuser machine it can be diffused to help with respiratory issues or for insomnia diffuse it next to your bed at night. If you do not have a diffuser machine, you can replicate a similar effect by putting a few drops into a pan of boiling water and inhaling the steam.
- Create a steam bath for inhalation by filling your sink with hot water then adding a few drops of violet essential oil. Cover your head, neck and shoulders with a towel and inhale the vapors deeply for a few minutes to relieve congestion.
- You can absorb all the goodness of violet essential oil by adding a few drops to your bathtub. This is a great way to get rid of any aches and pains but make sure that you finish running the water before adding the oil or you will lose many of the nutrients through evaporation.
- For your skin, make sure that you dilute the oil in water before applying it to your face or areas affected by acne with a cotton ball.
- You can make a luxurious massage oil with violet essential oil but as with most essential oils, it needs to be diluted first with a suitable carrier oil like coconut, sunflower or sweet almond. While there are no guarantees, massaging this oil into your body should help relieve any muscular aches and pains.
Violet essential oil is considered to be a mild-acting oil that is non-toxic and non-sensitizing but as with other essential oils, it is always wise to follow a few precautionary guidelines.
- As with other essential oils, violet essential oil should not be taken internally.
- Before applying this oil topically, be sure to dilute it and even after dilution make sure that you test it on a small area of skin to ensure that you are not allergic.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers are never recommended to use essential oils without seeking medical advice first.