Appalachia Appalachian Food Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Using Wild Violets For Medicinal Purposes

All but 2 of the top 10 ranked posts for the Blind Pig & the Acorn are about food. And even one of the 2 (this one) could arguably be said to be about food. Rounding out the top 5 most popular posts on the Blind Pig & the Acorn is Wild Violets Are Edible & Medicinal.

Wild violets are edible and medicinal

Wild violets are not only pretty they’re edible and they’ve been used for their medicinal properties longer than the United States has been a country.

Eating wild violets

All members of the Viola family are edible-I’m sure at some point you’ve seen the fancy fragile looking candied violets on a wedding cake-but there are a variety of other ways to use violets as food. Both the leaves and blooms are edible-they can be tossed in a salad, used to make violet tea, violet syrup, violet jelly, and even violet vinegar.

The main thing to remember-if you’re going to give eating violets a try-make sure they haven’t been sprayed with any chemicals or by the family dog-and make sure what you pick is a violet.

Violet Recipes

Medicinal uses for wild violets

The Cherokee Indians used Violets for medicinal purposes. They passed their knowledge on to the first settlers of Appalachia who accepted the remedies and made them their own. The Cherokee seemed to use different violets in the same way regardless of the variety. A few examples:

  • Violet leaves were used to make a poultice to relieve headaches
  • Violets were soaked in water-the water was used to relieve dysentery, colds, coughs, and used as a spring tonic
  • Violet roots were crushed and used as a poultice to aide in skin aliments
  • Perhaps the most interesting to me-Violet roots were soaked in water-then the water was used to soak corn seeds prior to planting-this was said to repel insects from the corn. (I got this information from the American Violet Society)

Using violets for medicine

Who knew the lowly little wild violet could be so useful? Drop back by to see how to make Violet Jelly. A few of you mentioned it in your comments-so I had to give it a try. (Go here to see the Violet Jelly post)


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  • Reply
    August 10, 2014 at 7:39 am

    I knew about the flowers being edible, but not the leaves – good news! There are many varieties of wild violets in my neck of the woods. Maybe I’ll make some tea or add some leaves to a salad today.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    August 8, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    I hope Garland Davis is OK out there in Hawaii!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Interesting information,, I did’nt know this.. ..

  • Reply
    Miss N U Lotts
    August 8, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    In my experience the top ranked posts wouldn’t include popular at all. Popular won’t last more than a year or two. Even pine is better than popular. Locust is best if you can find it. What you fencing in anyway? You getting a cow? 10 posts won’t make much of a pasture.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    August 8, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    I have no doubt that violet remedies work, but I’ve never tried any of them. Perhaps the Good Lord put cures and remedies all over the Earth in the most simple forms. Most come right from the ground like we did, we just have to look for ’em…Ken

  • Reply
    Alec Smart
    August 8, 2014 at 10:35 am

    The only other members of the Viola family I know about are the violin (fiddle), cello and double bass. None of them are edible although the sounds they sometimes produce could be called medicinal. Pretty pictures though!

  • Reply
    August 8, 2014 at 9:37 am

    How do we be sure we’re picking a violet? What flowers might be confused for violets? If anyone can help with these questions, I’d appreciate it.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2014 at 9:06 am

    I made the Violet Jelly twice last year. The kids loved it! Until you posted the recipe, I didn’t know the pretty little flowers were good for anything except ‘rooster’ fighting.

  • Reply
    August 8, 2014 at 8:41 am

    This is a good refresher for something rather unique in its usefulness. Happy violet hunting that hasn’t been sprayed by anything.

  • Reply
    Melissa P (Misplaced Southerner)
    August 8, 2014 at 8:37 am

    WONDERFUL! I have a gracious plenty! They grow better than anything else in our yard. Neighbors pull them as weeds, but I can’t bring myself to do that. Those pretty purple flowers signal spring here in Michigan. Now, I can rightly say that I’m gardening FOR my violets!

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 8, 2014 at 7:31 am

    Nice information. I would try this if they grew near me. Some of our Indian lore here in FL comes from the Cherokee when they fled the area, they settled here.

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