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Sweet, sweet violets. Viola Odorata.

Being a mobile bar business with a huge focus on seasonality, 
something about as the grass becomes green again after the frost stops biting, these purple flowers sprinkle the.... where do they grow? We're always paying attention to the signs given to us by nature. When these gorgeous purple flowers begin to pop up --- we know it's time to shed some layers, and start thinking about what edible delicacies we are going to plant - as it's the start of Spring!

The flowers pop up at the end of winter in our garden and the gardens of the village. 

We use the fresh violet flowers to garnish our drinks when in season. The fresh and dehydrated flowers in syrups are added to our syrups for aromatics, we find the combination of Illawarra Plum, Lavender and Violet goes great in sours. The dehydrated flowers get added to spring water, then added to a booze infusion of the leaves, flowers and roots for our viola odorata tincture. 

Utilising our extensive library of books on the herbal and medicinal wonders of edible plants, we’ve compiled some info below on this incredible plant (re-edit).

Happy reading! If you come across any of these plants in your travels please tag us on social media (links below). You can also sign up to our newsletter if you'd like to stay in the loop of seasonal edible goodness.

Viola Odorata Scented Violet.

Common names Wood Violet, Sweet Violet, Pansy , English Violet, Common Violet, Florist’s Violet, Garden Violet.

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Folk Names: Banafsha, Blue Violet.

Botanical Family: Violaceae.

Native Habitat: Europe & Asia, introduced to Northern America & Australasia. 

Toxicity & Allergens: Nill recorded.

Traditional Uses : The violet flower was a favorite in ancient Greece and became the symbol of Athens. The scent suggested sex, so the violet was an emblematic flower of Aphrodite and also of her son Priapus, the deity of gardens and generation [17][18][19].

The Ancient Greeks used the violet to calm tempers and induce sleep [12]. Carl Ruck, who regards Amanita Muscaria as the original ethenogen of Greek Culture(s), describes the Viola Odorata root as a placebo replacement in ritual in worshipping the god of fermentation, Dionysos.

In Culpeper's 1652 Complete Herbal, he describes the extensive uses and recipes for Violets, including adding the leaves and flowers to wine for hot swellings and inflammations of the eye, the syrup of violets for the liver, and added to lemon drinks to quench thirst and alleviate pain in the kidneys and bladder.

Violet is a good remedy for relieving congestion in the lymphatic and respiratory system [13]. In the ‘Trotula’, a series of women’s medicine books written in the 12th century in Salerno Italy, 

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violets are recommended for ‘excessive flux of the menses’ and to extinguish heat in acute diseases by anointing the oil on the area of the liver, pulse points, temples, palms of the hand and soles of the feet [14].

In British herbalism, the root is used to treat breast and stomach cancer. In Iran two drops of the essential sweet oil are applied to the nostrils for the treatment of insomnia [15].  

In Indonesia, an ‘obat penenang’ or sedative medicine is made using the violet leaves, yam, nutmeg, ginger and sweet flag. Also in Indonesia, it is mixed with mace, red ginger and lima beans to increase concentration [16]. In Morocco the root is included in the spice mix for ‘Ras El Hanout’. 

Phytochemically, different groups of compounds have been isolated from various species of this genus like 30 different cyclotides*, flavonoids**, alkaloids*** and triterpenoids^. Some of them already have been scientifically accepted as antifungal, antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant, antiasthmatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-HIV and antipyretic agents [2][3][4].

Traditionally Viola Odorata is worthwhile to cure Jaundice. Other chemical constituents that have been synthesised are glycoside^^, saponins^^^, methyl salicylate`, mucilage`` and vitamin C. Flowering tops revealed the presence of anthocyanins [1].

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In classical myth, sweet violet was associated with death, but classical physicians also knew it as an effective emetic and cough remedy [15].

Violets have become a symbol of love between women [20]. This association is said to come from Sappho’s lost love poems, in which she writes "Close by my side you put around yourself [many wreaths] of violets and roses" and also when Sappho describes her lost love as wearing "violet tiaras, braided rosebuds, dill and crocus twined around" her neck [21].

In 1926, one of the first plays to involve a lesbian relationship, La Prisonnière by Édouard Bourdet, used a bouquet of violets to signify lesbian love [22].

In Shakespeare’s ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream’, Violets are mentioned in the following verse:

"I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,

Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,

Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,

With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine".

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Powers & Magical Uses: 

Powers include protection, luck, love, lust, wishes, peace and healing [12]. When the flowers are carried they offer protection against “wykked sperytis” and bring changes in luck and fortune.

Mixed with lavender, they are a powerful love stimulant and arouse lust. If you gather the first violet in Spring your dearest wish will be granted.

Violets fashioned into a chaplet and placed on the head cure headaches and dizziness, and leaves worn in a green satchet help wounds to heal and prevent evil spirits from making the wounds worse [12].

Jeannine Rose creates a psychoactive ‘incense for seeing visions’ using female cannabis sativa flowers with sandalwood and thornapple seed which is sprinkled onto glowing charcoals [16]. 

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We would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia and recognise their continued connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We also pay our respects to our teachers, those who stepped out on their own quest for knowledge prior to us, and who have generously shared their wisdom with us. 

This article and the information contained within is intended as a guide to incite curiosity and gain a deeper undertanding of our ethos. While we believe is everyone's right to choose their own health journey, the information provided above is not intended as medical advice. Please consult a qualified helath care provider for medical treatment.

 #violaodorata #wildfood #edibleflowers #garnish #sweetviolet #pansy #violaodoratabenefits #violaodoratamedicinaluses #plantbasedcocktails #nature #knowledgeispower

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*Cyclotides, are disulfide-rich cyclic peptides produced by plants with the presumed natural function of defense agents against insect pests [5]. Cyclotides can also cross cellular membranes and are able to modulate intracellular protein-protein interactions both in vitro and in vivo [6].
** Flavonoids, a group of natural substances with variable phenolic structures, are found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers, tea and wine. ... These natural products are well known for their beneficial effects on health and efforts are being made to isolate the ingredients so called flavonoids. Flavonoids are now considered as an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications. This is attributed to their anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, anti-mutagenic and anti-carcinogenic properties coupled with their capacity to modulate key cellular enzyme function [7]. 
***Alkaloids, everyone’s favourite chemical compound group, used in plants and fungus to protect them from predators. In humans they have immense physiological effects, same pleasurable and others not so esteemed. Certain alkaloids have the ability to connect the Conscious with the Subconscious, especially during astral travelling.
^Triterpenoids, Triterpenoid saponins are a diverse group of natural products in plants and are considered defensive compounds against pathogenic microbes and herbivores. Because of their various beneficial properties for humans, saponins are used in wide-ranging applications in addition to medicinally [8]. 
^^Glycoside, any of a wide variety of naturally occurring substances in which a carbohydrate portion, consisting of one or more sugars or a uronic acid (i.e., a sugar acid), is combined with a hydroxy compound. The hydroxy compound, usually a non-sugar entity (aglycon), such as a derivative of phenol or an alcohol, may also be another carbohydrate, as in cellulose, glycogen, or starch, which consist of many glucose units. Many glycosides occur in plants, often as flower and fruit pigments; for example, anthocyanins [9]. 
^^^Saponins, a class of bioorganic compounds found in particular abundance in the plant kingdom. More specifically, they are naturally occurring glycosides described by the soap-like foaming, and consequently, they produce foams when shaken in aqueous solutions. Literature shows that saponins exhibit a biological role and medicinal properties such as hemolytic factor, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, insecticidal, anticancer, cytotoxic and molluscicidal action. In addition, saponins are reported to exhibit cholesterol-lowering action in animals and humans [10]. 
`Methyl Salicylate, Methyl salicylate is a benzoate ester that is the methyl ester of salicylic acid. It has a role as a flavouring agent, a metabolite and an insect attractant. It is a benzoate ester and a member of salicylates. It derives from a salicylic acid [11]. 
``Mucilage, Mucilaginous herbs derive their properties from the polysaccharides they contain. These polysaccharides have a ‘slippery’, mild taste and swell in water, producing a gel-like mass that can be used to soothe and protect irritated tissues in the body, such as dry irritated skin and sore or inflamed mucous membranes. All plants produce mucilage in some form to store water as hydrates and as a food reserve, for seed dispersal & germination, and as a membrane thickener and stabilizer 
1 Stuart M. The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism. Macdonald & Co. Ltd. 1989, pp 281-284.
2 Ireland DC, Colgrave ML, Craik DG: A novel suite of cyclotides from Viola odorata: Sequence variation and the implications for structure, function and stability. Biochem J. 2006: 400(1), pp 1-12. 
3 Ebrahimzadeh MA, Nabavi SF, Nabavi SM, Slami BE: Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of H. officinalis L. var. angustifolius, V. odorata, B. hyrcana and C. speciosum. Pak J Pharm Sci. 2010, pp 29-34. 
4 Gustafson KR, Mckee TC, Bokesch HR: Anti-HIV cyclotides. Curr Protein Pept Sci. 2004, pp 331-340 
5 David J. Craik,y, Academic Press, Vol 516, 2012, pp 37-62 Sonia Troeira Henriques, Joshua S. Mylne, Conan K. Wang. Chapter Three - Cyclotide Isolation and Characterization, Methods in Enzymology
6 Andrew Gould and Julio A. Camarero. Chembiochem. Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA USA, Department of Chemistry, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, USA, 2017 pp 1350–1363.
7 Panche, A., Diwan, A., & Chandra, S. (2016). Flavonoids: An overview. Journal of Nutritional Science, 5, E47. Cambridge University Press, UK, doi:10.1017/jns.2016.41  
8 Sawai, Satoru, and Kazuki Saito. “Triterpenoid biosynthesis and engineering in plants.” Frontiers in plant science vol. 2, Plant Science Center, RIKEN, Yokohama, Japan 2011, doi:10.3389/fpls.2011.00025 
9 Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Glycoside". Encyclopedia Britannica, 16 Apr. 2018, Accessed 24 August 2021. 
10 El Aziz MMA, Ashour AS, Melad ASG. A review on saponins from medicinal plants: chemistry, isolation, and determination. J Nanomed Res. 2019;8(1):282-288. DOI: 10.15406/jnmr.2019.07.00199 
11 PubChem [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; 2004. Methyl salicylate; 
12 Scott Cunningham. Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs. Woodbury, Minnesota, USA, Llewellyn Publications, 1985, pp 254-255 
13 Thomas Easley & Steven Horne. The Modern Herbal Dispensatory, A Medicine making Guide. Berkeley, California, USA, North Atlantic Books, 2016, p 318.
14 Monique Simmonds, Melanie-Jayne Howes & Jason Irving. The Gardener’s Companion to Medicinal Plants, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, London, UK, Frances Lincoln Publishing, 2016, pp 212-213 
15 Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. London, UK, Dorling Kindersley Limited, 1996, p 282
16 Christian Rätsch. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants. Verlag Aarau, Switzerland, Park Street Press, 1998,, p 760 
17 Audrey Wynne Hatfield (1973). A Herb for Every Ill. St. Martin's Press. p. 173. 
18 Margaret Roberts (2000). Edible & Medicinal Flowers. New Africa Books. p. 79 
19 Christopher Cumo (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants. ABC-CLIO. p. 1113. 
20  "Gay Symbols Through the Ages". The Alyson Almanac: A Treasury of Information for the Gay and Lesbian Community. Boston, Massachusetts: Alyson Publications. 1989. P 100 
21 Barnard, Mary (1958). Sappho: A New Translation (1st ed.). University of California Press. p. 42 
22 Cohen-Stratyner, Barbara (January 14, 2014). "Violets and Vandamm". New York Public Library.