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A couple of weeks ago, I enjoyed foraging for tea in my own yard. Spring announces itself with a flurry of early blooming flowers and plants. I learned last fall that many of these harbingers of spring are edible, making them suitable for tea.
Since that day, I’ve enjoyed delicately flavored lilac tea and earthy redbud tea. From the backyard I gathered dead nettle and henbit. It grounds and centers me to gather wild edibles and savor them as tea.
I had one last tea to try, before this first blooming season ended. Sweet violet tea offers many health benefits and the gift of beauty as well.
This common flowering perennial, which is considered an herb, is among the earliest to appear after winter. The hardy plants favor the edge of woods and are not too shy to show up in lawns and gardens, uninvited. The herbs prefer shady areas. Look for them near house foundations, in areas of the yard and garden protected by other plants and on the north side of structures.
The flowers range in color from dark purple to lilac to pale yellow to white. The plant, which reaches a modest height of four to six inches, has dark green heart shaped leaves.
In the late Victorian era, the sweet scent of the violet proved popular in fragrances and perfumes. The French created violet syrup and the Americans used this concoction to make violet scones and violet marshmallows.
Culturally, Shakespeare mentioned this sweet flower in these now famous lines from A Midsummer Night’s Dream:
“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.”
Sweet Violet Tea Benefits
Medicinally, sweet violets have been used for centuries, valued for their healing properties. The entire plant is edible and rich in vitamins A and C and full of bioflavonoids, alkaloids and anti-inflammatories.
Anti-cancer properties that are effective against lung, skin, stomach and breast cancers.
Soothe respiratory ailments such as coughs, bronchitis, congestion, asthma and sinus infections.
Contains high amounts of rutin and salicylic acid which act similarly to aspirin. This makes the herb helpful for treating aches and pains, inflammation, flu symptoms, headaches and arthritis pain. Those same compounds help to prevent blood clots as well.
Eases nervousness, anxiety, stomachaches, indigestion, ulcers, insomnia, swollen glands, canker sores and gum disease.
Lowers blood pressure.
Added to baths, the flowers and leaves help treat psoriasis, eczema, rashes, sores and skin cancer.
Purifies the blood, strengthens the heart and detoxes and cleanses the entire body.
Sweet Violet Tea
This herb is available online or at health conscious stores as dried tea, capsules, syrup, tinctures, extracts, creams and salves. Fresh flowers and leaves are suitable additions for salads, smoothies and fruit bowls.
However, in early spring it’s fun to gather sweet violet flowers and leaves and create freshly brewed tea.
I gathered a handful of delicate flowers and several small leaves from plants clustered in shady areas of my yard. When foraging, choose a patch of violets that are in a familiar area, where no chemicals or fertilizers have been used.
To brew sweet violet tea, cover 2 to 4 teaspoons of fresh or dried flowers and leaves with 1 cup of boiling water. Cover and allow tea to steep for 15 minutes. Strain and sweeten with organic honey if desired. Or for fun, leave the flowers and leaves in the tea.
Enjoying Sweet Violet Tea
I sipped my first cup of sweet violet tea and savored the mild flavor. The brewed tea is a pretty shade of pale green, the perfect representation of spring’s arrival. My freshly prepared tea paired well with a bowl of apple slices, creating a simple afternoon tea.
I might get to enjoy a couple of cups of sweet violet tea before the flowers fade away.
It’s just the beginning of the growing season, however. Dandelions are popping up all over the yard. And while some see these cheerful plants as weeds or wishes, I see tea!
Start a tea time tradition. Pick out your favorite teacups below.
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