Violets are popping up all around. They peak out from the edges of woodland areas as well as meadows and lawns. With their heart shaped leaves and small deep purple flower, low growing they at times go unnoticed under foot. As a child I would gather tiny bouquets from the lawn for my mother on Mother's Day. I would tie them together with a long stem and she would find tiny vases to hold them. I was always curious about the precarious sweet scent that would delicately touch my nose and then immediately disappear, only to magically come back event stronger.
These tiny flowers get their sent from ionone. After stimulating the scent receptors in the nose ionone binds to them and temporarily closes of your ability to smell anything! Violets cannot be smelled for more than a few moments at a time. After a few breaths when your sense of smell returns your brain registers the violet scent as a a novel experience! Magical! This flirtatious quality in addition to it's other properties is why the violet is associated with love and featured in countless centuries of lore.
From an herbal perspective both the leaves and flowers have been shown to have health benefits. While there are many varieties the most popular is sweet violet (viola odorata) some known uses are:
- expectorant - cough remedy for bronchitis
- cystitis (inflammation of bladder)
- rheumatic complaints
- eczema, psoriasis & acne
- cradle cap
- restful sleep
- promote heathy lymphatic system
- high in Vitamin A and C
- both the flower and leaf a tasty addition to salads
The flower essence of Violet is used to overcome shyness and tune in to the authentic self. It can also help those who wish to tune into subtle energy of intuition, higher levels of consciousness, as well as the divine feminine.
The great message from this small but deeply resonant plant is the lesson of the Law of Impermanence, the first dharma seal teaching us that all things in the material world have a beginning, middle, and end. Allowing us the gift of focusing on the present moment least it slip away. So in your wanderings this Spring, when you see a violet feel free to pick, smell and savor the moment. Enjoy that gentle pause afforded to your nose, take a few breaths, find gratitude of your senses returning.