Sweet violet (Viola odorata) is a sweet scented and charming stoloniferous perennial plant of the family violaceae. It is ever green with brightly purple colored and scented flowers. Sweet violet is native to the European and Asian regions, but have been introduced to North America. It can add beauty to your garden, as an ornamental plant. But beyond that, sweet violet possess several nutritional and health benefits.
Also referred to as English violet, common violet, florist’s violet, or garden violet. It has been used in trado-folk medicines across Europe and Asia an anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antibacterial, and hepatoprotective activities. A wonderful herbal/ flowering plant, isn’t it?
What are the health benefits of sweet violet?
Sweet violet possess several health benefits which may be attributed to the numerous bioactive compounds, as well as mineral compounds with strong biological activities. In this article, you would be taken through the numerous health benefits of sweet violet.
Sweet violet is beneficial for treating depression
When you are depressed, your mood would drastically change and you would lose interest in physical activities that you previously love engaging in. Depression can be persistent, and when untreated may lead to bipolar disorder. Depression can lead to suicidal case. Luckily, sweet violet posses strong antidepressant compounds that suppress depression. There are sweet violet syrups that you can use for depression treatment. You can also boil and drink the sweet violet tea.
Sweet violet improves hypertensive condition
Another important health benefit of sweet violet is its vasodilatory effect on blood vessel, thereby reducing the pump pressure of your heart and veins. Sweet violet also protects the heart through its antidyslipidemic activity against serum and plasma cholesterol levels, including reduction of low density lipoprotein, and triglyceride. Good thing is that it also increases high density lipoprotein, which is essential for your heart health and for suppressing hypertension.
Sweet violet possess neuroprotective effects
Sweet violet also protects the brain from cerebral ischemia and induced neuronal cell death due to oxidative damage. Cerebral ischemia occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the brain.
The neuroprotective effects of sweet violet may also be beneficial for a person suffering ischemia stroke. The leaves of sweet violet can be combined with perilla leaves for synergistic effect.
May suppress HIV virus growth
Viola odorata possess strong antiviral bioactive compounds which suppress viral growth . These compounds include beta-sitosteroid, stigmasterol and lupeol. Another study reported Cyclotide-enriched extract of viola odorata as the antiviral compound that is responsible for HIV growth inhibition.
By attacking the viral particle, sweet violet exhibited strong activity against HIV virus. This study validates the traditional use of sweet violet to cure HIV infected individual. In the future, scientists may well develop stronger retroviral drugs from the plant, sweet violet.
As an antiviral herbal remedy, sweet violet has been used in treating measles in children and may well be used against such viral diseases as monkeypox virus infection, and hepatitis. Another herbal remedy for HIV is Coral tree stem bark.
Can protect your liver and kidney
The liver and and kidney may well be described as the kitchen and recycling power houses, respectively. The liver processes every food and drug, toxic substances, while the kidney receives blood from all parts of the body, sieves it of excess water, electrolytes, wasteful biproducts before sending the blood back to the circulation. These processes thus expose the liver and kidney to toxicity and organ failure.
When liver or kidney toxicity is not attended to, it may well lead to the person’s death. Worrisome also is that most drugs, when taken in excess or exposed to for far too long may become toxic to the kidney and liver. Luckily, herbal medicines with hepatoprotective and nephroprotective activities, mostly do not harm the vital organs. Sweet violet is luckily one of such herbs with that tremendous benefits.
Sweet violet is beneficial for treating epilepsy
In traditional medicines, sweet violet syrup has been used in treating epilepsy and convulsion in children and adults. Epilepsy is caused by the extreme discharge of electrical activity in neurons. This electrical discharges through some cascades of reaction, would result in violent, uncontrolled but repeated contraction of the muscles cells.
Although there are claims, by folk medicines, which alleges that sweet violet is effective for treating epilepsy and convulsion, their little, if any research studies supporting this. That isn’t a lost of hope, though; several studies have supported the use of a close plant specie, viola odorata for epilepsy and convulsion. This therefore may give us hope that sweet violet would be as effective also. The stem bark of coral tree also possess, in addition to its antiviral activity against HIV, antiepileptic activity by blocking GABAergic inhibitors.
Sweet violet stops whooping and mild cough
Viola odorata possesses strong antimicrobial activities against several bacterial causing diseases. On of its strong benefits is in the treatment of cough, and tuberculosis. The leaf extract actively inhibited the growth of mycobacterium. In traditional medicine, sweet violet syrup or decoction is used to treat tuberculosis. The syrup can soothe a sore, dry and irritating throat. When used as tea, syrup or infused in honey, sweet violet can bring instant relief. This cough-relieving effect of sweet violet can be compared to that of bitter kola.
Some side effects of using sweet violet
Emetic: The roots of sweet violet can make you vomit.
Nausea: Sweet violets possess high saponins content which can make you feel nauseating when eating too much.
Diarrhea: Another side effect of consuming too much sweet violet is diarrhea.
How to make a sweet violet syrup (sweet violet syrup recipe)
There are different methods for making a sweet violet syrup, however, here you’d read a peculiar and somewhat simple way to get your violet syrup ready, and in lesser time period.
- 2 cups of fresh purple violet flowers
- 2 cups of boiling water
- 1/4 cup of honey
- Lemon juice (small amount, and optional)
- Place the violet flowers in a medium-sized glass jar
- Fill the jar with the boiling water, and stir well.
- Cover the glass jar and allow to sit for 30minutes or until the color has drained from the flowers.
- Strain off the flowers and add a few drop of lemon juice to make it purple. (that’s if the tea turns blue instead of purple. It often does. More lemon can change the color to pink).
- Add honey and stir very well.
- Store in the fridge and use within few days.
(If you want the syrup to last longer, add an equal volume honey to the violet tea and use within a month. If your violet syrup develops mold, quickly discard.)
Siddiqi, H. S., Mehmood, M. H., Rehman, N. U., & Gilani, A. H. (2012). Studies on the antihypertensive and antidyslipidemic activities of Viola odorata leaves extract. Lipids in health and disease, 11, 6. https://doi.org/10.1186/1476-511X-11-6
Baradaran Rahimi, V., Askari, V. R., Hosseini, M., Yousefsani, B. S., & Sadeghnia, H. R. (2019). Anticonvulsant Activity of Viola tricolor against Seizures Induced by Pentylenetetrazol and Maximal Electroshock in Mice. Iranian journal of medical sciences, 44(3), 220–226.
Conzelmann, C., Muratspahić, E., Tomašević, N., Münch, J., & Gruber, C. W. (2022). In vitro Inhibition of HIV-1 by Cyclotide-Enriched Extracts of Viola tricolor. Frontiers in pharmacology, 13, 888961. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2022.888961