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Sweet Violet - Guidelines for Using Sweet Violet - Uses and Benefits

Taxonomic class

Violaceae

Common Trade Names

None known.

Common Forms

Available as dried and fresh flowers and leaves.

Source

Active compounds have been derived from the roots, seeds, flowers, and leaves of Viola odorata.

Chemical Components

Chemical compounds isolated from the seeds, roots, leaves, and flowers of V. odorata include saponin, myrosin, violamin, viola-quercetin, gaultherin, an emetine-like alkaloid (viola-emetin), 2-nitropropionic acid, and odoratine (alkaloid). Methylsalicyclic acid can be found after hydrolysis of gaultherin. More than 100 volatile oils have been isolated from the leaves.

Actions

Leaf extracts of V. odorata were found to be comparable with aspirin in reducing pyrexia in animals; a significant reduction in temperature was noted.

Reported Uses

V. odorata has been claimed to have several therapeutic uses. Decoctions and syrups made from the leaves and flowers have been used as a cough remedy and sedative and applied topically as an anti-inflammatory. The dried root has been used for treating constipation and as an emetic. Extracts of the leaves and flowers are also used in manufacturing perfumes.

Dosage

No consensus exists. Various concentrations of decoctions, extracts, and powders have been used, making standardized dosage identification difficult.

Adverse Reactions

GI: cathartic effects.

Interactions

Laxatives: Additive effect. Monitor the patient.

Contraindications and Precautions

Sweet violet is contraindicated in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown.

Special Considerations

  • Inform the patient that insufficient data exist for therapeutic use of sweet violet.

  • Advise the patient to consult a health care provider before using herbal preparations because a treatment that has been clinically researched and proved effective may be available.

  • Monitor the patient taking this herb for excessive vomiting and diarrhea.

  • Instruct the patient who is pregnant or breast-feeding to avoid using sweet violet.

Points of Interest

  • Viola tricolor, also known as wild pansy, is a related species used for treating several skin conditions, including eczema.

Commentary

Few data are available concerning the pharmacologic and therapeutic effects of V. odorata. Studies in animals have shown that leaf extracts have antipyretic action comparable to aspirin. The therapeutic usefulness of V. odorata cannot be established.

   

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