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Violets – Weeds or Wellness?

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Viola sororia

I had a self-employment side gig one time helping a friend with some gardening.  Simple stuff – put some new plants in and pull some weeds out.  One thing that frustrated her were the number of “weeds” that seemed to be competing with her for property ownership.  Tiny purple flowers on shepherd’s hook-like stems scattered themselves throughout her garden beds and crept their way into her lawn.  They were Violets, and to my friend, they were the enemy and need to be yanked out & disposed of.

Looking back, oh holy chicken, what did I do?  My now Herbalist-Self feels exasperated thinking that I ripped them all out…by their roots.  The word “Murder” comes to mind.  OMG, I hope their tiny spirits can forgive me.  But we don’t know what we don’t know, until we know otherwise.  When we know better, we can do better!  I’ve now studied Violets and learned a lot about these sweet wildflower friends and the medicinal charm they have to share.  Curious to learn more?  Great — let’s grow, together! <wink>  

The Viola Family

We all have a family name, right? Well, so do plants & herbs!  The family name for violets is Violaceaea.  Within the Voilaceaea, you will find many genus called Viola. There are hundreds of species of Viola such as Viola adunca, Viola odorata, Viola arvenses & many more, but my study has been on Viola sororia, which is known as the Common Violet.  To make reading easier today, I’ll keep it simple and refer to Violet here today.  Violet has hundreds of “cousins” as they self-seed & cross pollination occurs easily.  If you’ve ever thought that Violets & Pansies look similar, that’s because, yes, they are distant relatives! 

Confederate violets
White with purple stripes are "Confederate violet".

Fun & Medicinal Facts About Violet

I’ve already mentioned that most of our current culture believe Violets to be weeds.  When the winds take the seeds in your direction, they can, for sure, get in the way of us having that popular, but not necessarily earth-friendly “perfect green lawn”.  Anything that disrupts the grassy, green perfection is deemed a weed.  But Violets are far from weeds! 

In Herbalism, there is a common belief that plants find us based on what we need, sometimes whether we know we need it or not.  What? “How does that make sense”, you ask?  Well, all things are made of energy and energy attracts energy. There is as symbiosis between humans and plants in which can be observed in some of the characteristics of both species, and well, without getting too “WooWoo”, what we need has a way of finding us. 

But…let’s keep things simple and easily relatable with some bite-sized chunks of “easily digestible” herbal goodness, shall we?!  

When considering using plants and herbs medicinally, we first want to understand what they are good for, how they can make us feel, and how & when they can be used (or when they should be avoided).  We typically start by looking at what are called Actions & Energetics.   

An herbal action is a word used to describe what medicinal property an herb can have in relation to your body.  Sometimes, an herb can have more than one action.  An herb can be Anti-inflammatory and Anti-microbial, for example. Our Violet friends have more than one action. 

The energetics of an herb are, in short, how the herbs taste, feel, or act within the body.  Some examples are cooling, moistening, drying, warming.  Beautiful Violets are cooling & moistening.

It may take you a little bit of time, research, education, or self-studying to learn more, but let’s take a peek into Actions & Energetics of Viola below, followed by some uses.

Violets can be found growing just about anywhere.

Actions & Energetics of Violet


  • Alterative (“Blood cleansers”)
  • Lymphagogue (Helps detoxify the body)
  • Diuretic (Promotes urination)
  • Anti-Inflammatory
  • Demulcent (Mucilaginous when cooked)
  • Emetic (Roots only – Causes vomiting – do not ingest)

ENERGETICS: Cooling, Moistening

5 Methods for Using Viola for Your Wellness

You can probably assess by now that our dainty little friends are stronger than the look and are definitely more than just weeds, would you agree?  With all of the information that I’ve shared today, you probably now just want to know, “How can I actually use Violet for my wellness?”, right? 

Well, let me start by saying that I am not a medical professional, so I cannot treat, cure, or diagnose you.  Please consult your primary care doctor before using any plants or herbs.  I share information that I have researched on my own, for my own personal use.  Do your own research before ingesting any plant or herb to ensure your personal safety.

With that, here are 5 simple ways that you can get more beautiful & beneficial Voilet into your life: 

  • Dry Violet petals, stems & leaves to drink as an Herbal Tea.
  • Infuse Violet flowers into local honey and ingest.
  • Add a few fresh Violets to salads as a garnish.
  • Freeze Violets in ice cubes to enjoy with a refresher on a warm day (remember Viola energetics are cooling)
  • Infuse dried Violet flowers, stems & leaves in olive oil to use in creating a healthy breast salve. 

Harvesting Rules of Thumb

If you’re going to be harvesting & using Violets, it’s VERY important to be responsible in doing so for the longevity of the plants & the land.  There are some general Herbalism rules of thumb that I always use when harvesting/wildcrafting, and I hope that you will, too.

  • Never take all of the herb/plant. Take ⅓ and leave ⅔ for wildlife and other Herbalists. 
  • Ensure the land is clean and that no pesticides have been used in at least 15 years.
  • If there’s not enough to use to make medicine, don’t harvest. 
  • Always ask the plant permission to harvest, listen, and respect the answer (You have to use your intuition here. Don’t harvest if you sense ‘No’’)
Violet from PWS Lenox Retreat
A beautiful violet enjoying a sunny day!

Note:  Always be 100% sure that what you’re harvesting is safe.  Violet, as well as many plants/herbs, have toxic look alikes.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed learning about Viola sororia today!  Let me know in the comments below if there is anything in particular that intrigued or interested you – I’d love to know.  

If you’d like to learn more about Violet for your wellness, Herbalism, or be in the know about my upcoming workshops, make sure you’re on our Project We Society email list.  Reach out and say ‘Hi!’… Let’s connect! 

Leanne Shafner Herbalist
Leanne Shafner Founder, CEO, Coach and Herbalist

About the Author

Leanne Shafner is our Project We Society Founder & CEO.  She is also a heart-centered Holistic Health & Personal Development Coach and trained Herbalist. Her interests include inspiring women to thrive through self-care, natural/holistic living, essential oils/aromatherapy, herbal medicine, and learning new skills that result in personal growth.  Through dedicating time to put in the work to find, know & love herself, she has overcome challenges & adversity in her life and learned the continual work that it takes to be at her best.  Connect with Leanne at

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