Botanical Name: Linn.
Synonym: Beib., Leighton
Sindhi Name: Gul Banafsha
Local Name: Gul-e-Banafsha
English Name: Sweet violet, Wild violet
Part Used: Whole plant and Flowers
Viola odorata Linn. is a small, glabrate, pubescent and perennial herb with short tufted root-stock. Root is as thick as a crows quill and crooked with a number of radicals having a spongy bark. Leaves are radical, ovate, 1.2-2.5 cm in diameter and toothed. Flowers are violet colored and aromatic. They become brown or brownish yellow, when grow old. Flowering occurs during summer and rainy seasons and fruiting in autumn.1
Viola odorata Linn. is found to be distributed in Kashmir Himalayas at an altitude of 1524-1828 m.1 It is widely found in Europe, north and west Asia and British Isles, north Africa.2, 3, 4
Ethanomedicinal Uses in Skin Diseases:
Viola odorata L. abundant constituents are volatile oil, salicylic acid, methyl ester, saponins, violani, swertia japonin, vitexin, rutin and alkaloids. Chief chemical constituents of the flowers are the odorous principle and its blue colouring matter. A glucoside, viola-quercitin, is also a constituent found throughout the plant and especially in the rhizome. Salicylic acid has also been obtained from the plant. Scientist Boullay discovered violine in the root, leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant.
Medicinal Uses and Pharmacology/ Scientific studies:
Viola odorata Linn. in ayurveda is described as purgative and this is useful in piles, fever, head ache and in skin diseases. 1 It is also useful in the treatment of eye diseases and for the relief from ear ache.2 It has expectorant and anti-inflammatory properties. 3 Root is laxative and relieves inflammation.4 It treats dermatosis and eczema. 5 A decoction made from root (dry herb) is used as a laxative. 7 Syrop Violae of the British Pharmacopoeia prescribed that it may be given as a laxative to infants in doses of 1/2 to 1 teaspoonful, or more, with an equal volume of oil of almonds11.
Viola odorata Linn. is antibacterial, antimycotic and fungicide.5 It proves to be effective in hypertension and dyslipidemia. 6 Methanolic and chloroform extracts of Viola odorata L. possess antioxidant, antipyretic and antibacterial activities. 8, 9 Viola odorata L. is also considered as antitumor agent10.
1- Dhiman, A. K. (2006), Ayurvedic Drug Plants, p. 67, Daya Publishers, Delhi-110 035, India.
2- Joshi, S. G. (2000), Medicinal Plants, p. 401, Mohan Primlani Oxford & IBH Publishers Co. Pvt. Ltd.66 Janpath, New Delhi 110001, India.
3- Khare, C. P. (2012), Indian Medicinal Plants, p. 706, Springer Puiblishers, New Delhi-110058, India.
4- – Shri P. V. N Rao., (1992, Selected Medicinal Plants of India, p. 343, Tata press Ltd. Bombay-400 025, India.
5- Duke, J. A. (2002), Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, II,p. 715-716, CRC Publishers, New York, Washington, DC, U. S. A.
6- Siddiqi, H. S; Mehmood, H.; Rehman N.U.; Gilani Anwar , H. Source: Lipids in health and disease, Volume: 11, p. 6, (in vitro); Journal; Article; (journal article); (research support, non-u.s.gov'T), 2012, E-ISSN: 1476-511X, Journal Code: 101147696, England: United Kingdom.
9- Khattak, S. G., Gilani, S. N., Ikram, M. (1985) Antipyretic studies on some indigenous Pakistani medicinal plants. J. Ethnopharmacol. 14(1): 45-51.
10- Lindholm, P., Goransson, U., Johansson, S., Claeson, P., Gulibo, J., Larsson, R., Bohlin, L., Backlund, A. (2002) Cyclotides: a novel type of cytotoxic agents. Mol Cancer Ther. 1(6): 365-9.