Appalachian Food Appalachian Medicine Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Wild Violets Are Edible & Medicinal

Wild violets

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.

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 edible ways to use violets. 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

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 my information from the American Violet Society)

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.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Sonny Hall
    July 20, 2019 at 11:26 am

    Our 3 month old puppy will chew on the stems remaining after the rabbits have eaten the leaves from our wild violets. Since they are edible for humans and rabbits, what affects will our puppy have from eating them ?

    • Reply
      Jerri B.
      May 10, 2022 at 4:16 pm

      I would love to know what you found out. I know it’s been 3yrs since your comment, but hoping you found something out. We have a 2yr old pup who begs for a sip of my wild violet tea, but I don’t know if it would hurt her, so I haven’t given her any. I’ve tried to research it, but the only website I found for it, was clearly misinformed about a lot of things. Because, they were saying things that were harmful, that I not only grew up feeding our pets as a child, but have fed my pets since I’ve grown, and those certain things were actually beneficial to them. So, I didn’t really trust the site. Tia for anything you could tell me ❤

  • Reply
    EC Brummel
    May 10, 2017 at 6:26 pm

    I’ve been blending a leaf or two of the wild violet into my morning health shake each day. I wonder if that is why I haven’t had any brain fog. At any rate, its so healthy and easy (and free) to grow, so its well worth it. Thats alot of green leafy vegs.

  • Reply
    May 22, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    incredible. In this horrific economy and less than adequate medical services, this is valuable information for everyone. THANKS

  • Reply
    Lindsay N.
    May 16, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    Violets just came up today in my part of Maine! So excited to make Violet Jelly again.

  • Reply
    April 17, 2014 at 6:46 am

    Mary Anne-I would check with your local florist or google where can I buy wild violets. Have a great day : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Mary anne
    April 16, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    So where can I buy some

  • Reply
    April 5, 2014 at 11:28 am

    This morning I took my 3 yr. old great-grand-daughter “violet picking.” Huge dog-tooth violets grow in one small spot on the roadside near me.I am 80 years old and remember as a child picking them in the woods with a favorite cousin…hope Addie will have sweet memories, too.

  • Reply
    May 9, 2013 at 9:30 am

    I just made Violet Jelly last night. An old family friend made it when I was kid (many years ago). I made sure I got the recipe when I moved out on my own. I have so many violets in certain parts of the yard so I decided to try my hand at it. It’s delicious. The recipe is simple and easy to follow.

  • Reply
    October 24, 2012 at 9:37 am

    Margaret-thank you for the comment! I don’t have any additional information on the seed pods but hopefully someone else will : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Margaret Ann Samuels
    October 23, 2012 at 3:04 pm

    Most of this is not new but good collection of information. Dr. Merritt Lyndon Fernald wrote in Edible Wild Plants of Eastern North America, a wonderful book, that violet roots were considered emetic. I have been wondering about the little seed pods, that then split open and scatter the seed – any information?

  • Reply
    May 2, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Wow, what a great website. with bluegrass music to boot! Couldn’t help but add you to my favorites bar. My old mom from Bluefield, WVA would be proud. Thanks for making my day!

  • Reply
    September 23, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Violets are great against respiratory problems and skin conditions. I like to add a few leaves to my green smoothies.
    For those who are interested, I posted a recipe for a natural violet mouthwash on my Facebook group Wild Green Smoothies. Here’s the link:

  • Reply
    April 20, 2011 at 9:06 pm

    Thanks for this fabulous story and information. I hope it’s not too late in the spring to find enough of the beautiful flowers to make the jelly. Mom used lots of spring flowers, greens and wild berries in recipes as most poor people from eastern Kentucky did. I do not remember her or Granny making jelly from violets. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Melanie Graham-Pieri
    April 25, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I found this very interesting and want to transplant the violets I have all over the yard and by patio. Wondered if there was a good time to do that? I love them.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Oooh I can’t wait to see the jelly. That, I might just have to try. Love the research

  • Reply
    April 21, 2010 at 8:22 am

    We have something that looks like that growing in our yard and other grassy areas in the neighborhood this year. First time I’ve noticed them. Not totally sure it’s the same thing, though. Haven’t eaten any, just mowed them.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    I had no idea wild violets were edible! I always learn new things from your blog.
    We have a spread of wild violets all over our yard, but I’m afraid to eat them because our neighbors use so many lawn chemicals. One neighbor has Chem Lawn come and spray every month, yuck. (I pretend this doesn’t blow onto my organic garden…) I guess they value their expanse of perfect green lawn, but I think the wild violets are so beautiful!

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    April 20, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    A very interesting post Tipper … I’m going to check out the recipes and found the part on the uses the Cherokee’s found for violets quite something, especially about the violets/corn.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I was just talking about violets this morning!
    A long time ago I used violet leaves and the flowers. I soaked them in (now I am not recommending this) moonshine.(it was a gift from some friends)
    Then after several days I poured the liquid out. It was a bright green.
    I had read that made a remedy for snoring and a good lung purifier.
    My husband had an awful snoring problem. I gave him .. maybe 2 tablespoons at night and it really did work.
    We ran out of the moonshine.(it was just a pint) I never have bought any alcohol beverages so I haven’t tried it again. Maybe something like honey would work also?

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    These violets grew all over our place in MI but out here in WA I never see them.
    I miss them. Candied violets are so pretty!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Pretty and useful!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

    I love putting the violet flowers in salads — but it’s mostly for looks as they don’t have much taste as far as I can tell. May have to try the jelly. If only we had the fragrant kind of violet!

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I’m with you, who knew violets were so useful and not just to brighten up a spring day.
    But I believe that for every illness on this earth, there is a natural cure. We only need to find it.

  • Reply
    April 20, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Just stopped by to see what was happening in your neck of the woods. I found the info on violets very interesting. Thanks for sharing, love reading your blog and learning new things.

  • Reply
    My Carolina Kitchen
    April 20, 2010 at 7:31 am

    Tipper, I didn’t know this about violets. I have a few on our property. I can’t wait to see your Violet Jelly.
    An American Indian friend of ours took us on a tour through the woods when we lived in the Bahamas and found things to make tea from and wild purslane, which is blooming right now in Florida. Purslane makes a great salad.

  • Leave a Reply