Gardening, Herbal Recipes, Herbalism, Natural Beauty

Foraging and Creating Violet Herbal Remedies

Amber Shehan May 17, 2009

One of the earliest Spring flowers to appear, violets are a balm for the winter-tired soul! They are edible, abundant, and also useful in many herbal preparations.

wild violet

Well folks, now that I’ve shaken winter off like I shake sand crabs off my toes at the beach, I’m ready to share what’s been keeping me busy all spring long!

Springtime is alternately cold and warm, and definitely wet. The past week has seen rain and snow and sunny days one after another – deep, soaking precipitation that is raising the watershed and filling the reservoirs beautifully!

Because of all this rain, verdant growth, and a need to reconnect to a warming earth after a long winter, I’ve been going nuts devouring my yard! Grazing is much more fun than mowing, ya know?

Sweet little star-sister Chickweed has been absolutely prolific along my fence row! Y’all remember Chickweed?  She has brought a fresh burst of flavor to my salads, I’ve been infusing her in vinegar, and soaking some in vodka to make a lovely light green tincture. I’ve also put chickweed into Wild Greens Pesto and freeze it in batches for use during the rest of the year.

Then there is my dear friend Violet. Talk about an amazing ally to have living with you – these lovely little weeds are full of good medicine for skin and as food, too!

I’ve been off dancing with violets!

Violet leaf for warts and acne:

Salicylic acid…you know what that stuff is, right? It is an active ingredient in your aspirin, acne creams, and wart removal systems, and violets just happen to be chock full of it (as are white willow leaves and bark).

If you are sensitive to fragrances and some of the more abrasive types of over-the-counter cleansers like I am, try out this homemade violet face wash instead. It’s simple to make!

Violet Face Wash

  • 1 handful of fresh violet leaves and flowers
  • about 1 cup of witch hazel

Gather fresh violet leaves and rinse them gently to remove any dust or dirt. Shake the water off as best you can or pat them with a towel to dry.

Bruise the violet leaves by crumbling them up a bit as you add them to the jar, or chop them into strips.

Pour the witch hazel over the leaves and stir it with a chopstick to get the air bubbles out.  Put a lid on the jar and label it with the name of the project, ingredients, and the date.

Allow the jar to sit for a week in a dark cabinet, or at least somewhere out of the sun. Strain out the leaves and add them to your compost. Pour the violet leaf-infused witch hazel into a bottle and label it. It will probably be a very pale green color.

Use this violet astringent after washing your face to help reduce blackheads. It is gentle but effective, cleansing dirt and oil from the skin without drying it. It doesn’t burn my sensitive skin like most store-bought cleansers, which leave my face red, raw, and tingling unpleasantly.

Violet leaf - learn about violets on!

Using Violets for Wart Removal

Violet can also be used to help remove warts. Make a mash of fresh violet leaves and use it as a poultice over the wart. Change it out every few hours and you should see some changes within a day or so. If you don’t have any fresh violets in season, you can use the witch hazel face wash recipe from above, or make an alcohol-based tincture.

Enroll in the Botanical Skin Care Course with the Herbal Academy

Violets are edible.

Violet brings me such joy! Seeing her leaves erupt from the ground like the earth itself sharing her heart with me is a post-February valentine. Every spring, as soon as I notice little bits of purple all over the yard, I screech with joy, pick the violet flowers, and stuff them in my mouth like a kid at a candy store! Blooming violets confirm for me that spring is truly here and set in for good…violets and thunderstorms mean that winter is packing for its well-earned vacation.

There is something that I adore about violet, a little secret she holds. You can eat every single flower that you see in your yard and you will not harm the reproductive cycle of the plant! Her dainty purple, blue, or white flowers exist JUST for beauty’s sake. Isn’t that delightful? Her seeds spread later on in the season from small green flowers that you probably won’t notice unless you look for them.

You can eat violet leaves, flowers, roots….it is all good! Rich in Vitamin A, violet leaves add a wonderful dark green flavor to a salad, use larger ones in place of grape leaves in your dolma recipe, add them to a wild pesto, or stew them up with your poke greens or bittercress. You can candy her flowers, toss them in your salad for a spot of amazing color, or just be a madwoman like me and devour them straight from the ground.

Peace be with you, and may dirt be under your fingernails soon!

Need violets in your space? Get seeds from Richters!

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Amber Shehan

Hi! I'm Amber Pixie, and this is my site. Enjoy the recipes, information, posts, and please feel free to message me if you have questions!


  1. March is Green and Misty | Pixie's Pocket on January 13, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    […] found a verdant patch of violets breaking the soil around the base of an oak.  Just a few days ago, I ate my first violet of […]

  2. Swamp Pixie is now a Mountain Mama! | Pixie's Pocket on February 19, 2014 at 10:28 am

    […] first big thing I noticed was that I couldn’t find a single violet leaf in my new yard, nor a single clump of chickweed! That set me reeling…but then again, there is […]

  3. […] I went through the yard with scissors, snipping the golden flowers from their leafy crown pedestals and managed to gather up a large handful. I also snipped a small handful of violet leaves and flowers from the quickly-strengthening patch I planted a couple of weeks ago. (here’s more about violets!) […]

  4. […]  Chickweed is a great spring green to eat, and it helps heal cysts and skin issues. Violet leaves, those pretty heart shaped green leaves, are great in a salad, and the little flowers are […]

  5. Recipe Box: Hedgerow Jelly - Pixie's Pocket on January 18, 2015 at 11:30 am

    […] Violets […]

  6. ann on March 5, 2015 at 10:14 am

    very interesting article! I never knew…they have been a favorite for years!

  7. […] Let’s Talk About Violet- Amber of Pixie’s Pocket is bursting with enthusiasm for the little purple blooms that fill her yard each spring. Visit her blog for information on using violets for warts and acne, as well as a few links to wild violet recipes- like adding them to a wild greens pesto? That sounds delightfully different! […]

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