Plant Wisdom: Violet

Image: Maia Toll's Herbiary

The plant which revealed itself for today's Plant Wisdom blog post is Violet (Viola odoratus), and my, what a plant! On smelling this blossom, you will understand why the botanical name is odoratus (Latin from 'smell'). With its beautiful scent and gorgeous flowers appearing in late winter and early spring, Violet has her best face forward, striding out into the world, when many other plants are just stirring from their Winter slumber.

Common Uses

With Violet's deep scent, it is often used in perfume and confectionery (for those who remember, think Parma Violets). The Greeks used Violet to purify the body in order to help alleviate gout and, in modern times, it is used to help soothe bronchitis, respiratory problems and digestive issues. Violet leaf is also used in aromatherapy to help reduce inflammation and ease headaches. It takes around 1000 kgs of violet flowers to extract around 1kg of oil so it is often sold diluted to 5% or 10% in a carrier oil.

I have always found Violet to be useful for clients from what may seem like polar opposites. Those who feel their quietness, self reliance and preference for seclusion inhibits their self expression to others or that this expression is misunderstood. And there are those who project a confident, sharing exterior to others but are struggling to embrace a respect for their own quiet time in order to understand the importance of having boundaries for what they share with others. This is closely linked with Violet's spirit medicine.

Spirit Medicine

This duality of dear Violet is often reflected in how people respond to her scent. I personally adore her fragrance but many don't enjoy it and some find her a little old fashioned. However, she is a plant that has much to teach us in current times. The divisiveness she appears to invoke reminds us for the need to embrace and respect both the public and private aspects of ourselves, and know the difference between the two. With the ever growing presence of social media platforms in our lives, Violet reminds us that it is not necessary to share every part of ourselves with the world, that we must respect our inner selves by dedicating space to honouring this. This way we can truly be authentic - truth retreats to the dark when we broadcast every thought and feeling to the world. Some things within our hearts are sacred and should remain ours, and ours alone, so that we may get to know the truth of what lies within us.


This post is intended for information purposes only and not medical advice - please visit the terms page for more details . Please seek advice from a medical professional and, if you are considering herbal medicine, please consult a professional Herbalist.

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