Of Marche Violets - Mell Violatum (Voilet Honey), Oyl of Violets (Violet Oil), Vyolette (Violet Pottage), To Make Syrupe of Violets (Violet Syrup)

"Violets are God's apology for February..." 

-Barbara Johnson 


Family: Violaceae 
Names:  Violet, Sweete Violet, Viola nigra, Viola purpure, Virgil Vaccinium, Viola, Marche violet, Viola porporea,Viola mammola,Violetas,Violette de Mars, Blauw veiel, Mertzen violen, Violetten, Violaria, and Ma∣ter violarum.
Usage: Culinary, Medical 

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Of Marche Violets. Chap. i. (A Nievve Herball, 1554)

❀ The Kyndes.

THere be two sortes of Violets: the garden and the wilde Violet. The Garden violets are of a fayre darke or shining deepe blewe colour, and a very pleasant and amiable smell. The wilde Violets are without sa∣uour, and of a fainte blewe or pale colour.
❀ The Description.

[ 1] The sweete Garden or Marche violet, creepeth alongst ye ground like the Strawberie plante, fa∣stening it selfe and taking roote in diuers places: his leaues be rounde and blackish like to Iuye leaues, sauing they be smal∣ler, rounder, and tenderer: emongst the whiche leaues there springeth vp fayre & pleasant floures of a darke blew colour, eache floure growing alone by him selfe, vpon a little small and tender stemme. The floures are diuided into fiue small leaues, wherof the middle of the floures, with the tippes or poynted endes of the leaues are speckled or spotted with a cer∣tayne reddish yellow. After the floures there appeareth round bullets, or huskes full of seede, the whiche being ripe do o∣pen and diuide themselues into three partes, the roote is tender & of threddish strings.
Of this sorte, there is an other kinde planted in gardens, whose floures are very double, and full of leaues.

There is also a thirde kinde, bearing floures as white as snow.

And also a fourth kinde (but not very common) whose floures be of a darke Crymsen, or old reddish purple colour, in all other poyntes like to the first, as in his leaues, seede, and growing.

[ 2] The wilde is like to the garden Violet, but that his leaues are far smaller, his floures are somwhat greater, but much paler, yea sometimes almost white, and without sauour.

❧ The Place.

The sweete garden Violet, groweth vnder hedges, and about the borders of fieldes and pastures, in good ground and fertyle soyle, and it is also set and planted in gardens. The wilde kinde whiche is without smell, groweth in the borders of dry, leane, and barren fieldes.

The garden violet floureth in Marche and Aprill. The wilde also doth floure in Aprill, and afterwardes.

❀ The Names.

The sweete Violet is called in Greeke 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: in Latine Viola nigra, Viola purpurea: & of Virgil Vaccinium: in Shoppes Viola: in English Violets, the garden Violet , the sweete Violet, and the Marche violet : in Italian Viola porporea, and Viola mammola: in Spanish Violetas: in Frenche Violette de Mars, ou de quaresme: in high Douch Blauw veiel, or Mertzen violen: in base Almaigne Violetten: the Violet plante or herbe is called in Shoppes Violaria, and Ma∣ter violarum.

❀ The cause of the Greeke name.

The sweete Violet(as the Emperour Constantine wryteth) was called in Greeke Ion, after the name of that sweete guirle or pleasant damosell Io, which Iupiter, after that he had gotte her with childe, turned her into a trim Heaf∣fer or gallant Cowe, bycause that his wife Iuno (beyng bothe an angry and Ielous Goddesse) should not suspect that he loued Ion. In the honour of which his Io, as also for her more delicate and holsome feeding, the earth at the commaundement of Iupiter brought foorth Violettes, the whiche after the name of his welbeloued Io, he called in Greeke Ion: and therefore they are al∣so called in Latine, as some do wryte, Violae, quasi vitulae & Vaccinia. Nican∣der wryteth, that the name of Ion was giuen vnto Violettes, bycause of the Nymphes of Ionia, who firste of all presented Iupiter with these kindes of floures.

❀ The Nature or Temperament.

Violets are colde in the first degree, and moyst in the second.

❀ The Vertues.

[ A] The Decoction of Violets is good against hoate feuers, and the inflamma∣tion of the Liuer, and all other inwarde partes, driuing forth by siege the hoate and cholerique humors. The like propertie hath the iuyce, syrupe, or conserue of the same.

[ B] The syrupe of Violets is good against the inflammation of the lunges and breast, and against the Pleurisie, and cough, and also against feuers or Agues, but especially in yong children.

[ C] The same Syrupe cureth all inflammations and roughnesse of the throte if it be much kept or often holden in the mouth. The sugar of violets, and also the conserue, and iuyce, bringeth the same to passe.

[ D] That yellow whiche is in the middest of the floures, boyled in water, is good to be gargled in the throte agaynst the squinancie or swelling in the throte: it is also good to be dronken agaynst the falling sickenesse in yong chil∣dren.

[ E] Violets pounde and layde to the head alone, or mengled with oyle, remo∣ueth the extreame heate, swageth head-ache, prouoketh sleepe, and moysteneth the brayne: it is good therefore against the drynesse of the head, against melan∣choly, and dulnesse or heauinesse of Spirite.

[ F] Violets brused or stamped with barlie meale, are good to be layde vpon phlegmons, that is to say, hoate unpostumes or carbuncles, and they heale the inflammation and paine of the eyes, also the hoate vlcers, and the inflammation that commeth with the falling downe of the fundament.

[ G] The seede of Violettes, dronken with wine or water, is good agaynst the stingings of Scorpions.

[ H] The herbe or plante is very good against hoate feuers, and the inflamma∣tions of the liuer, and looseth the belly.

[ I] The wilde Violets are almost of the same vertue, but they be a great deale weaker, and therefore they are not vsed in Medicine.


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A compendious treatise, of Nicholas Prepositas. (1588)

92 A confection of honny and violets, called Mell violatum.

TAke of the flowers of violets one part, of good honny thrée partes, séeth them with a soft fire.

This is a singular remedie in hote agues, because it maketh the body moist and also laxatius, it aswageth dri∣nes of the stomacke and the brest.

112 Oyle of Violets.

TAke of the oyle of oliues two lib. of young violets stam∣ped, foure ℥. put them into a glasse, and set them in the sunne the space of seuen daies, afterward boyle them in a double vessell the space of thrée houres, then straine them, and reserue them: Paulus AEgineta doth call this oyle Ia∣ton, and wryteth that it is made of the purple violets, or els of the yealow violets, which many iudge to be hearts ease, be willeth also that violets shall stand ten daies in the sunne, and to be thrée times changed, and the vessell to be so stopped that no ayre may enter in, and in the meane time, you may put vnto these, of dry violets.

This asswageth all inflamations in what part so euer they be, it mollyfieth exulcer ations and stiffenes of the breast and lungs, it mitigateth hot impostumes, and the plewrisie.


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Culpeper's School Of Physick, 1659

Of Almond Butter.

ALmond Butter is made with fine Sugar and Rose-water, eaten with the flowers of Violets, it is a commendable Dish, most in season in Lent, when the Violets are fragrant; it re∣joyceth the heart, comforts the brain, and quali∣fies the heat of the liver.

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An English Herbal, 1690

Violets grow in Gardens and wild, are under Venus, but very cooling and harmless; they abate Infections. The Syrup or Decoction of Root, Leaf, and Flower purge the Blood, Reins, Bladder, Matrix; Outwardly apply'd as a Poultice, it helpeth Headach, abates Swellings and Imposthumes: Inwardly taken, they open Obstructions of the Liver, cure Jaundice, hot Agues, and make a good Gargle for Mouth and Throat.

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Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) lxxxxj - Vyolette. Nym Almaunde Mylke, an flowre of Rys, and pouder Gyngere, Galyngale, Pepir, Datis, Fygys, and Rasonys y-corven, an coloure it with Safroun, an boyle it and make it chargeaunt; an whan thou dressyste, take the flowres, an hew hem, an styre it ther-with; nyme the braunchys with the flowres, an sette a-boue and serue it Forth.

91. Violet -take almond milk, and flower of rice, and powder ginger, galingale, pepper, dates, figs and raisons cut, and color it with saffron, and boil it and make it thick. And when you dress it, take the flowers and cut them, and stir it there-with; cut the branches with the flowers and set above and serve forth. 

Harleian MS. 279 (ab 1430) - .Cxxv. Vyolette - Violet Take Flourys of Vyolet, boyle hem, presse hem, bray hem smal, temper hem vppe with Almaunde mylke, or gode Cowe Mylke, a-lye it with Amyndoun or Flowre of Rys; take Sugre y-now, an putte ther-to, or hony in defaute; coloure it with the same that the flowrys be on y-peyntid a-boue.

125. Violet - Take flowers of violets, boil them, press them, cut them small, temper them up with almond milk or good cow milk, mix it with amyndoun or rice flour; take sugar enough, and put there-to, or honey in default; color it with the same that the flowers be on painted above.



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To Make Syrupe of Violets.

Take your Violets, and pick the flowers, and weigh them, and then put them into a quart of water, and steepe them vpon hot embers, vntill such time as the flowers be turned white, and the water as blew as any violet, then take to that quart of infusion and take foure pound of clarified Suger, & boyle it till it come to a syrupe, scumming them and boyling them vpon a gentle fire, least it turne his colour, and being boyled, put the Syrupe vp and keepe it.

A Closet for Ladies and Gentlevvomen, 1608

Sources

Dodoens 1517-1585., R., 2020. A Nievve Herball, Or Historie Of Plantes Wherin Is Contayned The Vvhole Discourse And Perfect Description Of All Sortes Of Herbes And Plantes: Their Diuers [And] Sundry Kindes: Their Straunge Figures, Fashions, And Shapes: Their Names, Natures, Operations, And Vertues: And That Not Onely Of Those Whiche Are Here Growyng In This Our Countrie Of Englande, But Of All Others Also Of Forrayne Realmes, Commonly Vsed In Physicke. First Set Foorth In The Doutche Or Almaigne Tongue, By That Learned D. Rembert Dodoens, Physition To The Emperour: And Nowe First Translated Out Of French Into English, By Henry Lyte Esquyer.. [online] Available at: <http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A20579.0001.001> [Accessed 14 August 2020].


Name.umdl.umich.edu. 2020. An English Herbal, Or, A Discovery Of The Physical Vertues Of All Herbs In This Kingdom What Planet Governs Each Herb, And How To Gather Them In Their Planetary Hours : Containing Some Hundreds Of Medicines Made Of English Herbs, Whereby Any Person May Keep His Body In Health, Or Cure Himself When Sick, For A Small Charge, With Such Herbs And Roots As Naturally Grow In England : Collected For A General Good.. [online] Available at: <http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A38455.0001.001> [Accessed 14 August 2020].

Quod.lib.umich.edu. 2020. Culpeper's School Of Physick, Or, The Experimental Practice Of The Whole Art Wherein Are Contained All Inward Diseases From The Head To The Foot, With Their Proper And Effectuall Cures, Such Diet Set Down As Ought To Be Observed In Sickness Or In Health : With Other Safe Wayes For Preserving Of Life ... / By Nich. Culpeper ... ; The Narrative Of The Authors Life Is Prefixed, With His Nativity Calculated, Together With The Testimony Of His Late Wife, Mrs Alice Culpeper, And Others.. [online] Available at: <https://quod.lib.umich.edu/e/eebo2/A35394.0001.001/1:37?rgn=div1;submit=Go;subview=detail;type=simple;view=fulltext;q1=purslane> [Accessed 14 August 2020].

Name.umdl.umich.edu. 2020. Prepositas His Practise A Vvorke Very Necessary To Be Vsed For The Better Preseruation Of The Health Of Man. Wherein Are Not Onely Most Excellent And Approued Medicines, Receiptes, And Ointmentes Of Great Vertue, But Also Most Pretious Waters, Against Many Infirmities Of The Body. The Way How To Make Euery The Said Seuerall Medicines, Receiptes, And Ointmentes. With A Table For The Ready Finding Out Of Euery The Diseases, And The Remedies For The Same. Translated Out Of Latin Into English By L.M.. [online] Available at: <http://name.umdl.umich.edu/A09920.0001.001> [Accessed 14 August 2020].

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