Viola Odorata, also known as Sweet Violet, English violet, Wood Violet and Garden Violet, has a sweetly soothing, warm, powdery floral aroma, known to reduce stress and anxiety, and symbolises modesty as well as truth and loyalty. Violet is derived from the old French word “Violette” which itself was from the Latin word “Viola”, meaning violet flower. Flowers of the viola odorata are also edible, and are used to garnish desserts and salads, candied, or to flavour syrups and liqueurs. Leaves can be added to a salad, and when added to a soup they have a thickening effect. According to legend, St Valentine used ink made from the violets he grew to write his love notes. The scent of violets was particularly popular during the late Victorian period, and the oil is a “green” note in the perfumer’s palette of aromatics, an essential note in the world of perfumery. Incidentally, violets are the birth flower of February.
Violet Origin & Characteristics
There are around 500 species of violets, and all are said to have therapeutic properties, but the sweetest smelling of them all is Viola Odorata or Sweet Violet. You may be forgiven for wondering if you imagined the divine scent, when inhaled directly from the violet flower, since it disappears on a second smell. This is due to a chemical called ionine, found in the flowers, which desensitises the nose and sense of smell after just one quick sniff. The plant is a small low growing hardy perennial with heart shaped furry leaves, commonly bearing delicate blue-violet flowers with five oval petals, although the flowers can also be white, lilac or pink. It is native to Europe, North Africa and West Asia, although most of the oil production is now primarily produced in Egypt. Violet oil has been in production in Egypt since the early 20th century and the violet is planted alongside corn to afford it protection from the strong Egyptian sun. The oil is extracted from the flowers and leaves by way of the steam distillation method.
It is said that violets were originally cultivated by the Ancient Greeks in 500BC, who used it in food recipes, wine, love potions and medicine, and also made it the symbol of Athens. The violet was used by medieval herbalists for its healing properties, and by ancient Britons as a cosmetic due to its ability to help with various skin conditions. It is well known in Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, and was traditionally used, as well as in Europe, to treat whooping cough and other respiratory problems, fever, sore throat and tonsillitis. In Ancient Greece it was used as a remedy for headaches and dizziness, and from the 16th century its use as a painkiller was extensive, not surprising since it contains salicylic acid, a prime ingredient in some of the most popular over the counter painkillers.
Violet Oil & Benefits
Violet has a plethora of uses and benefits, being an emollient, analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, expectorant, decongestant, diaphoretic, antipyretic, febrifuge and insect repellent. Violet oil should not be applied directly to the skin, but should be diluted in a carrier oil, such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive oil.
Violet Oil Promotes Skin Health
Violet essential oil is very mild and gentle on the skin, and its soothing, cooling and anti-inflammatory properties are helpful in the treatment of a variety of skin conditions. As a moisturiser and emollient it can help to soothe conditions such as eczema, dermatitis, rosacea and psoriasis, dryness, itchiness or general redness and inflammation. In case of acne, its antibacterial and antimicrobial properties will ensure that any infection is removed from the skin, and it will tighten enlarged pores. Violet oil can even effectively reduce the appearance of thread veins. As this oil helps to stimulate the blood circulation, it is a useful tool in the treatment and prevention of cellulite and oedemas, and is cooling and soothing for bruises. Due to its calming and relaxing effects, violet oil is very effective against stress related skin disorders.
Violet Oil Offers Relief of Respiratory Tract
Violet oil can be very helpful to alleviate respiratory symptoms related to the common cold, flu, sinusitis, bronchitis and seasonal allergies such as asthma and hay fever, meanwhile providing pain relief. As a natural expectorant and decongestant it will loosen and help to disperse excess mucus and phlegm in the respiratory and nasal tracts, and reduce lung inflammation, thus ensuring easier breathing, and reducing symptoms such as coughing.
Violet Oil For the Feet
Violet oil’s cooling, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, moisturising and calming properties can work wonders for the feet. Tired and aching feet are instantly relieved and soothed. Dry, hard and damaged skin is moisturised, Athlete’s Foot, fungal infections of the nails, cuts and abrasions are soothed and treated.
Violet Oil Repels Mosquitoes
Violet oil has been reported to be a significant repellent against the mosquito species tested including Aedes aegypti (carries Yellow Fever), Anopheles stephensi (carries Malaria) and Culex quinquefasciatus (known as Southern House Mosquito and infamous for its nocturnal biting habit) according to a report by Amer and Mehlhorn, 2006. It was shown to provide protection of up to 8 hours.
How to Use Violet Essential Oil
Learn how to reap the benefits from this amazing oil, by either diffusing it or applying topically.
Respiratory relief: Add a few drops to your vaporiser or diffuser. Add a few drops to a warm bath and inhale the steam, and luxuriate in the bath, calming body and mind. Add a few drops to a bowl of hot water, place a towel over the top and inhale, taking care not to place your face too near to the hot steam.
To provide pain relief: Add a few drops of the oil to a hot bath, and allow the analgesic properties to soothe away aches and pains. Add a few drops to a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut, almond or olive) and massage gently into the affected area. Add a few drops to a vaporiser or diffuser to relieve headache or migraine.
Skincare: Dilute with a carrier oil (such as jojoba, coconut or almond) and apply to the affected area. You can also add a couple of drops to your regular skin care product.
For Feet: Add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage into the soles of your feet and affected areas (heels, nails, etc). Add a few drops to a bowl of warm water and soak your feet.
Violet Oil & Aromatherapy
Violet oil is extremely calming, soothing, balancing and calming. It eliminates stress, nerves and mental fatigue. It promotes inspiration and reflection. Renowned for encouraging peace and tranquillity during meditation. It is reputed to be comforting when dealing with grief or loss, encouraging acceptance of change and independence.
Violet Oil Boosts Mental Health
With its natural calming and therapeutic properties, violet oil can help to alleviate stress, fatigue, anxiety levels and exhaustion, plus headaches, migraines and stiff necks associated with tension. Promoting calmness, tranquillity and relaxation, it can boost your mental health.
Violet Oil as a Potent Aphrodisiac
Sexual dysfunction and problems in the bedroom can often be the result of stress. Emotionally uplifting and stimulating relaxation, violet oil can help to enhance your libido and overcome any difficulties caused by stress or anxiety.
Violet Oil Helps Treat Insomnia
A good night’s sleep is essential to ensure the maintenance of vital organs and the correct functioning of the bodily systems since the body uses the conserved energy to repair and recharge itself. A restful sleep allows us to be physically and mentally able to perform our daily tasks. By relieving tension and stress, and promoting calm and relaxation, the aroma of violet essential oil can radically assist in getting a peaceful night’s sleep, and is a natural remedy for insomnia or sleep disorders.
How to use: Add a few drops to your vaporiser or diffuser.