Originally written in 2016
Violet wasn’t shy. She practically screamed at me before I heard her.
I noticed Violet my first year living the DIY lifestyle in the Big Woods Witch Haus. Several patches of my yard were over run with violets in the early spring. They had a deep rich purple colored blooms with succulent stems and heart leaves and were the first signs that spring had sprung! They lasted forever and I loved seeing the purple patches in the new bright spring green yard. They even snuck their way into my garden where I would leave them and they would become large and luscious!
One day I decided I had to know more and find out what to do with them. It wasn’t difficult and I felt assured of my ID. Eating flowers with my kids seemed like a perfect hippie DIY anarchist homeschooling mom thing to do so we munched them while sitting in the yard and decided they tasted “purple” and “delicate”. We filled a bucket and made violet syrup. It was such magic, to see it turn from blue to violet with the addition of lemon juice!
It was fairy flower magic! It was science! It was so exciting! We drank cool refreshing violet lemonade and I made a cocktail later that night. Luckily they hung around a bit longer and our yard was so prolific, we made a second batch a week or so later.
The following year, I found myself looking forward to The Violet Arrival and made plans for all the wonderful things I could do with it. When the time came, I did everything… I dried it, I candied it, I made more syrup, I made violet white balsamic vinegar, I made made violet sugar, drank violet tea, I made violet vodka, ate them in my salad and froze flowers in ice cubes. I brought Violet with me to an Anarchist Woman’s Retreat. On our first night, we pampered our selves gathering nude under Pegasus in the hot tub sipping violet vodka cocktails made with hand squeezed dumpstered lemons mixed with mystical colored violet syrup and garnished with a violet sugared rim and candied flower. We also used the violet sugar in our morning tea.
The next year, as I awaited for Violet to visit, I noticed another flower that caught my eye the year before had started to spread. It felt very good to see it thriving there again, I was drawn to it so I looked it up. Maybe this would be another flower to explore like Violet; to munch, to prepare… How exciting!
No. This was Star of Bethlehem. It wasn’t edible, but it did have this magical and energetic medicine to it. It was for healing from grief and more specifically, from trauma. You see, The Big Woods Witch Haus was more than just a 100+ year old farmhouse. It was the place we had moved to live with nature, to heal from the unexpected death of our son. (My step son passed away unexpectedly in his sleep at 18 years old) We also found out after moving there that he had lived in the very same house, at the age of my son (his younger brother) with his mother while my partner lived in Wilmington. It was also the place where my repressed memories of sexual trauma resurfaced and where I had helped a teen friend of my daughter recover from sexual abuse. It was such perfect medicine for our home that I was moved to tears and knew that the flower was growing there for me and my family! It wasn’t a new flower for me to make syrups and cocktails with, but it did open up a new door for me. Plants really do grow where it is needed. It opened up this place in me and I knew I had to keep going. I looked into violet’s medicine, I looked at what else was around me, what else has shown up since I got there, what was always there, and most importantly, what they all had to say. I became interested in finding a class to take.
As I looked into Violet’s energies and I stumbled on to a flower essence by One Willow Apothecary and knew the connection to Chestnut School of Herbs so I ordered some, not knowing a thing about flower essences and not feeling confident enough to look in to how to do it myself. I noticed the Appalachian Apothecary class offered on the website and was very drawn to it. I mentioned it several times to my partner and they gifted me the weekends away as a surprise birthday/mother’s day gift. When I got the essence, I took it daily and meditated with it. I was very nervous about the class as I have anxiety and was going through a bad patch at the time (hence why my partner gave me the class- to get away by myself and explore a passion). In one of my plant meditations, I had this vision of being in class a laying in a field and the teacher giving us violet essence to put on our eyelids. Violet told me that I needed this class and not to be afraid; I was genuine- brave and delicate, mysterious and friendly and people in the class would recognize my light and I would see it too. Later, in my first class, Asia took us to a violet field and gave us essence to dream with! It was so similar, I couldn’t even express it out loud. Luckily, I had told my partner about my anxiety calming dream and when I told him the similarity of my experience, I was rewarded in validation of my woo woo feelings!
Violet opened the door to herbalism for me. She showed me the possibilities of herbs and woke me up to hearing them. She gave me the confidence to look and explore further.
Sweet violet, Blue violet
Feminine Water Venus
Grows in damp shady places, Early to late spring/Ostara
Use all above ground parts
Flowers: lavender to purple, sometimes yellow or white. Shy, nodding 5 petaled with white center
Leaves: large, dark, pronounced heart shape that often forms a cup
Root: Medic (induce vomiting) has a ghost flower- colorless and blooms underground
Preparation: food/eaten, standard infusion, poultice, infused oil, tincture (1:2 95%)
Cooling and Moistening
Demulcent (soothes and coats mucus membranes), Vulnerary (helps heal tissue internally and topically), Anti-Inflamitory (alieviates inflamation), Lymphagogue (supports lymphs), Alterative (blood cleanser)
Food Medicine: edible flowers and leaves, high vitamin A & C (2x the amount of orange or spinach!)
Muclinagenous leaves are good for sore throat
Blood Purifier: strengthens blood vessels, literal and figurative “boundaries”
Use topically (and internally) for bruises, spider veins, eczema, psorisis
cools hot and inflamed injuries
Great for breast health: use infused oil for mastitis or hardness in lymph nodes. Also take internally.
Moods: moderates anger, comforts and strengthens the heart, calms the nerves, soothes wrestlesness
Cancer: Europeans and Natives believed it balanced the immune sysytem
Pulmonary- cough remedy, for bronchitis, dry cough, whooping cough
Contra-indications: Be careful taking tincture in high doses, it can be draining
In folk lore, Violet is a well known faerie magic plant, known for protection and invisibility. It is said to carry it for protection or offer it to the fae folk or nature spirits. Folk lore also speaks of it for curing headaches and diziness, and heart ache and grief.
The term “shy violet” comes from the tale os Diana turning Nymph Ia into a violet to hide from Apollo’s unwanted ardor. All purple/blue flowers are associated with Diana.
Ancient Greeks believed violet helped calm tempers and helped induce sleep. They used the flowers fresh and dried in teas and baths for it’s astringent properties.
Violet’s Recipes & Concoctions
Violet Syrup Use only the flowers for this recipe. Make an infusion of a 1:2 ratio of flowers to hot boiling water. After 1 hr strain and reserve liquid which should be a blue purple color. Add 1 Tblsp of lemon juice for each cup of infusion. This should cause the infusion to turn bright purple! In a pot heat a 1:1.5 ration of infusion to sugar (this can be adjusted depending on thickness and sweetness desired). Heat until combined and thickened. Put in to clean dry jars and let cool before sealing. Will keep in the fridge for several weeks. This makes a wonderful addition to homemade lemonade. Add vodka for an adult version! Great in smoothies or add to club soda for a purple soda. You can read my original post about it from years ago HERE
Violet Tea Violet tea is very nice by it’s self or blended with other teas. It is a strong nutrative tea, high in vitamin C. Great for sore throats, and respritory and digestive systems. It is very neutral so you can add more aromatic herbs. My favorite is violet leaf and flower, raspberry leaf, red clover, and tulsi .If using dried herb, use 1oz, or a handfull of herbs for every 32 oz of boiling water. If using fresh, use aprox 4oz or 4 handfulls for 32 oz of water. Let seep in your favorite method for about 20 mins and enjoy.
Spring Tonic Violet is an Alterative herb (a blood cleanser) so it is a great plant to add to your spring tonic. To make a basic spring tonic in the folk method, fill a mason jar with chopped spring alterative herbs, such as violet flowers and leaves, chickweed, cleavers, dandelion flowers and leaves, purple dead nettle, garlic, etc. Cover the plant matter with vinegar of your liking, most commonly apple cider vinegar. Vinegar will cause the metal jar lid to rust, so use a plastic one or layer parchment paper or saran wrap between liquid and metal lid.Let sit in a cool dark place for 4-6 weeks. Take a tablespoon+ daily as a spring ritual to get the body ready for the season ahead!
Violet Salad Dressing To make a violet salad dressing, you need to infuse a vinegar with either just violets or a blend of other well paired herbs for flavors and medicine. I suggest using a high quality vinegar like a white wine or white balsamic. The following recipe is for my Ostara Vinegar. I make a salad dressing for each holiday out of seasonal herbs and goodies to celebrate the flavors, medicine and magic of each season. Fill a small jar with chopped violet flowers and leaves, chopped wood sorrel, and chopped chickweed, add a few cracked pink peppercorns. Cover with white balsamic vinegar and cover with a plastic lid. Store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain through cheesecloth and bottle. Great on salads, as flavor to soups and sauces or as a medicine by the tablespoon.