The violet tree is one of the most popular of all traditional medicines in Africa and can be used to help support many different health concerns. Amongst the numerous potential uses, it is particularly popular for coughs, chest complaints, joint pain... *
The violet tree is one of the most popular of all traditional medicines in Africa and can be used to help support many different health concerns. Amongst the numerous potential uses, it is particularly popular for coughs, chest complaints, joint pain, toothache, headache, constipation and as contraceptive. It is applied externally for the potential to help support symptoms of wounds, sores and rheumatic pain. The bark can be been used as an ingredient of arrow poison and as ordeal poison.
*Note: Violet (Viola odorata) is the source of TerraVita® teas and supplements. It should not be confused with the poisonous violet tree (Securidaca longependunculata) for which a brief monograph is presented below for related interest only.
Violet Tree Securidaca longepedunculata Fres. (often given as "S. longipedunculata" in the literature).
Other Names: Securidaca (French); Securidaca (German); securidaca (Italian).
Description: The violet tree is up to 6 mm height and has a characteristic pale grey, smooth bark. The oblong leaves are crowded towards the stem tips, where clusters of attractive pink to purple flowers are borne in early summer. The fruit is a round nut with a single large, curved wing. The plant has a very distinctive appearance and is not likely to be confused with any others.
Origin: Tropical Africa. The tree is not cultivated.
Parts Used: Mainly the roots, sometimes also the stem bark or leaves.
Therapeutic Category: Traditional panacea and general tonic, antitussive.
Preparation and Dosage: The safe dosage has not been recorded. Decoctions are taken for chest complaints, while the roots are chewed to help support toothache. A hot water poultice of the roots is said to give symptomatic support of joint pain, while powdered root or wood scrapings are rubbed into scarifications on the forehead to help support headaches.
Active Ingredients: The volatile oil of the roots contains large amounts of methyl salicylate. Various triterpene saponins, with presenegenin as aglycone, the toxic indole alkaloid securinine and some other alkaloids (including ergot alkaloids) have been reported.
Health Effects: The presence of salicylates may partly explain the wide diversity of uses. Methyl salicylate is known as a counter-irritant that penetrates the skin and underlying tissue to act as a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It is also known to be useful in oral hygiene. Saponins have secretolytic properties and thus would explain the antitussive effects of the product. The toxicity is ascribed mainly to securinine.
Warning: The plant is known to be very poisonous and is not suitable for self-medication.
Status: Traditional health.
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Hot tea brewing method: Bring freshly drawn cold water to a rolling boil. Place 1 tea bag for each cup into the teapot. Pour the boiling water into the pot, cover and let steep for 2-4 minutes. Pour into your cup; add milk and sugar to taste.
Iced tea brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 5 tea bags into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea itself. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into the serving pitcher straining the tea bags. Add ice and top-up with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Products are intended to support general well being and are not intended to treat, diagnose, mitigate, prevent, or cure any condition or disease. If conditions persist, please seek advice from your medical doctor. Information provided at ZooScape.com relies partly on Traditional Uses. The essence of the current American rule on Traditional Uses is, as stated by FTC, "Claims based on historical or traditional use should be substantiated by confirming scientific evidence, or should be presented in such a way that consumers understand that the sole basis for the claim is a history of use of the product for a particular purpose."