What is Viola Odorata?

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  • Written By: Claudette M. Pendleton
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 05 August 2018
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Viola odorata is a plant that first originated in Europe and Asia, but can now also be found in North America and Australia. It is also referred by the names Garden Violet or Sweet Violet, because the plant blooms with sweet-smelling flowers. Some other common names that the plant is known by include English Violet and Common Violet. The flowers are edible, and parts of the viola odorata plant are sometimes used as an herbal medicine to treat conditions such as a sore throat or respiratory congestion.

The sweet smell that comes from the flowers can be used to create beautiful scents and fragrances for perfumes. Although Viola odorata is a lot like other types of violet, there are several differences. In addition to the sweet smell, one of the differences includes the color of the flower which is white or dark violet. The leaves on the plant can be described as having either an oval or heart-shape appearance and the plant's shoots grow on top of the soil. In Ancient Greece, the violet was considered a symbol of love.

Viola odorata can often be seen growing in many different locations, such as in gardens and around the borders of wooded areas. These plants prefer the shade, and soil that is moist. They are generally easy to grow. The flowers usually blossom in the early spring and last for about two months.


In India, the plant is referred by several herbal names, including Banafsa, Banafsha, or Banaksa. The herbal remedy is often used to treat individuals who suffer from ailments such as tonsillitis or a sore throat. Some have used the plant extracts as an anti-inflammatory gel or cream for the purpose of reducing swelling and treating sores.

Viola odorata can also be made into an herbal tea that offers additional therapeutic uses. When a person drinks the herbal tea, he or she will often start to perspire. The tea then works as an expectorant and is very helpful to those with conditions such as bronchitis or a chest cold.

When an individual suffers from a condition such as bronchitis, there is usually a significant amount of mucus buildup. After drinking the herbal tea, however, the phlegm is loosened so that the individual can begin coughing it up.


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