Viola odorata

My first recollection of violets goes back to when I was a small boy. I remember seeing many flowerpots sitting on many of the window sills in our home in Salt Lake City. Among the flowers in the kitchen window, there were a couple of flowerpots of violets. They had beautiful, delicate, purple flowers and very green leaves. I remember that every once in a while, my mother would pinch off a big violet leaf and put it in her mouth and eat it. At times she would eat wood sorrel leaves also, only she called them shamrock. When I asked why she ate these leaves, she replied that they were good for you. Then she picked one and offered it to me and I ate it. At that age, I didn't like it. However, when I got older and studied herbs, I understood some things about violets that my mother had talked about. Now I have great respect for violets.

My mother was born and raised in Europe, so she had a deep appreciation for herbs and their functions. She knew the worth of a fresh leaf or two, or a cup of herb tea. She also had great faith in herbs. Maybe that's why herbs worked so well for her. If we take the time and study about herbs and develop some faith in God's plants, then they should work well for us too.

Violets are small perennial plants that like shade and lie close to the ground. They have purple flowers with bright, heart shaped leaves. Their roots are runners that propagate other plants.

Violets have been around for a longtime. In ancient Greece, violets were the symbol of Athens. The legendary god Zeus changed his lover into a heifer so she could browse in a pasture of violets. The Romans scattered violet leaves and flowers around their banquet halls, and drank viola wine and adorned themselves with wreathes and head garlands made from fresh violet flowers to prevent headaches or dizziness from too much wine.

Napoleon gave Josephine violets. They became a symbol of their love. Violets finally became the emblem of his political party. Josephine covered his grave with violets. The ancient herbalist Herodotus said violets were good for the spleen, for gout, for hysterical or nervous problems. During the Renaissance, the delicate scent of violets was so intriguing that people made a conserve or jelly out of the flowers. This work so well that enterprising apothecaries or druggists made cough drops out of the conserve or jelly. Kids would love to take cough drops. Even today, you can buy little tins of violet drops that are made in Europe. Violets, above all, are noted for their beautiful, yet elusive, scent. Francis Beacon said, “That which above all others yields the sweetest smell in the air is the violet.” The scent is best described as “fleeting.” Some say the scent promotes sleep. It has been used as cough medicine, for cough drops, and as a gargle for sore throats. The flower contains vitamins A and C. The plant contains as aspirin-like substance that is antiseptic.

Violets have been used to relieve sinus and lung congestion, colds, tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, whooping cough and all diseases of the respiratory system, also pleurisy and jaundice. When we first studied violets, we learned that they had been used to cure cancer. I have read many testimonials where they were used with success. We must realize that this depends on the condition of the body – whether the person is toxic and run-down or is healthy and cleansed.
Recent tests on mice have shown that a violet extract damaged cancer tumors. The whole violet plant is somewhat laxative. Why not grow some violets? Prevention is the best cure.

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