Spring has sprung here in North Florida and the violets abound. What an absolutely beautiful flower with its delicate petals and its dreamy aroma. The scent of the violet for me conjures up memories of my childhood and a perfume my mom had for years which she had brought with her from England when she moved to the United States.
Sometimes known as, “The Flower of Love” violet is the epitome of beauty and grace with a hint of modesty as her flowers bow slightly to the ground. Her heart shape leaves surround her like an alliance of mutual admirers professing their love.
I was fortunate to find an abundance of violets this year which enabled me to gather some to use in various preparations. As I was gathering the flowers and leaves on my knees I felt a sense of calm. Perhaps it was the subtle aroma which permeated the air around me which put me at ease or just the sheer joy of being surrounded by such beauty.
While out harvesting with me my son slipped and fell down a ravine scraping his arm. I showed him the leaves of the violet and told him he could use it on his arm to help ease the sting. I then proceeded to chew one of the leaves to place as a poultice on his arm. My son’s reply to that was, “…no way mom, I’ll chew it up myself”. I guess “mom” spit is not as appealing once you’ve reached the age of nine. If you chew the leaves of a violet you will truly understand the meaning of mucilaginous (slimy and gooey).
When used externally a mucilaginous herb is called an emollient and helps to soothe inflamed and irritated tissue. When taken internally a mucilaginous herb is called a demulcent. Either internally or externally that gooey substance will soothe irritation, help to reduce inflammation and help to stimulate the innate immune response.
If you think about conditions that are hot, inflamed, irritated and dry you can apply this action just by knowing about the benefits of mucilaginous plants. Some examples of plants with this mucilaginous quality include Plantain, Mallow’s, some Elm species, Cinnamon (to some extent), Violets, Mullein and Comfrey.
So the next time you come across Violet nibble a little bit off of one of the leaves, experience the mucilage and consider all the wonderful healing possibilities available through the use of this wonderfully enchanting plant.
1 part Violet flowers
1 part of Raw Honey
Gradually warm the honey over a double boiler. Pour the warmed honey over the flowers until it covers the tops by at least 1/2 inch. Push the flowers down into the jar assuring that all the air bubbles are out and flowers are completely covered. Leave the honey to infuse for at least a week or more. You can either strain out the flowers or leave them in and enjoy nibbling on them.
Disclaimer: Never eat any plant that you have not positively identified to be safe for consumption!!