Cultivating Medicinal Herbs

Cultivating Medicinal Herbs

"I enjoy violet leaves and flowers in salads, pesto, and sandwiches and wraps. Violet leaves can be sautéed or steamed. I also like to stir them into soups as a nutrient-dense thickener. You can dry the leaves and add them to other spring edibles, such as chickweed (Stellaria media), dandelion
(Taraxacum officinale), and nettles (Urtica dioica), to prepare a high-mineral herbal vinegar. The flowers make a lovely garnish—try sprinkling them on salads or adorning cakes and pancakes. Violet flowers are also beautiful when candied or frozen into ice cubes. The roots of most violet species can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea and should not be eaten.

Violet leaves contain a good bit of mucilage, or soluble fiber, and thus are helpful for lowering cholesterol levels (similar to oatmeal). Soluble fiber is also helpful in restoring healthy populations of intestinal flora, because beneficial bacteria feed off of this type of fiber. The leaves are high in Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and rutin, which is a glycoside of the flavonoid quercetin. Rutin has been shown in animal and in vitro studies to be antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, venotonic (increases tone in veins), and blood thinning. Many foods that are high in rutin, such as buckwheat (Fagopyrum
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