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Oh Sweet Violet!

It's the sweet violets (Viola odorata) in my garden that have been calling me to write.

Their brief appearance always fills me with excitement as they have been a valuable tool over the years in my work with cancer. They are anti-neoplastic, which means they inhibit the growth of tumours, and I always add them to a blend when working with this issue.

My healing teacher, Lily Cornford, had me meditate on these flowers as this is the particular frequency of violet we use in healing. The colour is used a lot in the treatment of cancer and has a strengthening effect when applied to the heart.

Otherwise, they are a useful herb in the treatment of bronchitis and upper respiratory catarrh. Being mildly antiseptic and diuretic they can be added to yarrow in the treatment of cystitis and will also be beneficial in a blend for rheumatism and even eczema.

The flowers and leaves are gathered in March and April although I have found them to be a little late in recent years. They can be found wild in open deciduous woods and along the edges of woodlands or scrubland. I so value these little beauties that I grow them in my garden in semi-shade.

When gathering in the wild I employ the Native Americans' principles. Leave the first seven plants for the generations to come and if I find a small patch growing somewhere I make a note of where I saw it and revisit in future years to give it a chance to establish itself.

To make a tea add one teaspoon per cup of boiling water and leave to infuse for 10-15 mins. Drink 3 cups a day.

The flowers make a beautiful addition to salads or sweets and a syrup can be made, my favourite, however, is violet ice cream.

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