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Wild pansy

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Wild pansy

Viola tricolor – Wild pansy, heartsease
Violaceae – Violet family
The raw material is the wild pansy herb – Violae tricoloris herba, harvested at the start of blooming and dried in natural conditions (shaded and ventilated) or in a drying room in max. 40° C. The herb is harvested from May (in some regions end of April) to September, with young blooming, lively green shoots collected and lower, yellowed stem parts discarded. The plant is valued in folk medicine and homeopathy.

Wild pansy – appearance and origin:

A herbaceous, annual or biennial plant, found in temperate and subtropical zones of Europe and Asia, from the Mediterranean and India to America; in Poland common in all terrains. The stem is up to 30 cm, rising or prostrate, often branched and with numerous flowers. The leaves have petioles, the lower are heart-shaped/ovate, the upper are lanceolate. The bracts are large, pinnate or almost palmate. The flowers grow individually in the angles, the pedicels are up to 9 cm, ambisexual, polypetalous, dorsiventral, the upper corolla petals are violet, the side and lower ones are yellow. It blooms from April to October.

Wild pansy – effects and use:

Wild pansy contains flavonoids (up to 0.5% rutoside, quercetin, luteolin and scoparin), anthocyanins (violanin, delphinidin 3-glucoside), phenolic acids, carotenoids (violaxanthin), triterpenic saponins (saponaretin, saponarin), traces of oil with violutoside (methyl salicylate glycoside), mucus and tannins.

Thanks to its rutin content which plays a role in cleaning out the blood and in metabolism, wild pansy has a diuretic effect (along with urine harmful substances are expelled) and therefore it is used in treating frequent and painful urination. The rutin facilitates vitamin C absorption, prolongs its activity in the tissue, reduces the permeability of capillary walls, in turn counteracting blood vessel fragility. In some circumstances, flavonoid compounds reduce the cholesterol level in blood plasma and throught that delay the development of atherosclerosis in blood vessels.

The herb also acts as a diaphoretic, facilitates the removal of metabolic waste and has a minor expectorant effect. It has mucolytic properties. Herb decoctions and infusions are used internally mainly for skin conditions (acne, eczema) and upper respiratory diseases.

Externally, decoctions can be used for throat gargling, poultices and baths for various rashes, but can cause allergies for people with sensitive skin. The herb is more effective when combined with roots, as they contain more saponins.

In his herbarium from 1597, John Gerard cited the following medical opinions relating to the herb: wild pansy is effective for treating convulsions in infants, excellent for lung infections, good for treating scabs, itching, ulcers. Wild pansy tea was used to lower fevers. The herb also helped as a laxative, expectorant and sedative. It was used to rid the body of any toxic substances.