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Our garden pansy is one of the most popular plants for beds and patios, and we get it in various colors in autumn and spring. The Wild Pansy (Viola tricolor) is less well known as an archetype today, but not uncommon in nature and just as easy to plant. It is well suited as a home remedy and is particularly effective against skin inflammation.
Profile of the Wild Pansy
- Scientific name: Viola tricolor
- family: Violet Family (Violaceae)
- Common names: Pansies, Fronsamkraut, Freiamkraut, Ackerveilchen, Jelängerjelieber, useless worry, seven-color flower, stepchildren, day and night flower, velvet flower, Kathrinchen, Madonna shoe, beautiful face, girl eyes, love face, Christ eye
- Parts of plants used: The herb collected and dried during the flowering period, as well as the fresh, upper irid parts of flowering plants
- Occurrence: Widespread in Europe, except for the far north and the far south, in open areas, meadows, fallow land, roadsides, bedrock, dunes
- application areas:
- to cough
- whooping cough
- Skin inflammation
- Arteriosclerosis (arteriosclerosis)
- Heart disease
Wild pansy is a year or two year plant and one of the wild archetypes of the much better known garden pansy. It grows 10 to 40 centimeters tall and is a semi-rosette plant with ascending stems that often branch out. The lower part of the stem lies on the ground, then rises and grows upright. The lower leaves have a heart-like shape, the secondary leaves, however, finger-shaped lobes.
Viola - violets and pansies
Violets or violas to which Viola tricolor are a separate genus within the family of the violet family. So pansies are not just the species Viola tricolorbut a whole group of species. A relative is, for example, the violet (Viola cornuta).
There are around 500 species, the majority of which grow in North America, the Andes and Japan. The best known is our garden pansy, one of the most common indoor flowers. This large-flowered ornamental plant (Latin: Viola wittrockiana) is probably from a cross of Viola tricolor, Viola altaica (Altai pansy) and Viola lutea subsp. sudetica (Sudeten pansy) emerged.
Viola tricolor contains 0.41 percent flavonoids, including quercetin and luteol glycosides, carotenoids with violaxanthin, anthocyanins with the pigment violanin, phenol carboxylic acids such as coffee and cumaric acid, protocatechic acid and gentisic acid, hemolytically active peptides, tannins and a significant proportion of mucilages - 9.5 percent .
The following carotenoids were identified in fresh pansies: violaxanthin, antheraxanthin, lutein, zeaxanthin, alpha-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene-5,6-epoxide, beta-carotene and 9Z-beta-carotene.
Wild pansy - effects
The wild pansy drives the urine, has a draining effect, the many mucilaginous substances release the viscous secretion in cough diseases such as bronchitis. The tannins stimulate digestion and metabolism and help against gastrointestinal complaints such as intestinal colic and constipation. Field violet drives sweat and potentially numbs pain. The effect of the leaves and flowers against skin problems such as acne, eczema, boils and cradle cap has been scientifically confirmed.
Mucilage and salicylic acid derivatives
So far, however, there is no binding proof of effectiveness for general medical use as a medicinal plant. However, there is valid evidence that ingredients such as salicylic acid derivatives and mucilages act against pain and inflammation, reduce the urge to cough and promote expectoration.
Outside of a living organism (in vitro) it was also shown that pansies suppress the immune system. The plant is believed to have a potential against diseases caused by a hyperactive immune system. The stress hormone cortisol activates the immune system. If the level of this hormone is low, the body produces more interleukin-2. This leads to T cells becoming particularly active and now attacking the body's own cells.
Since the effect of pansies on the immune system has so far only been demonstrated in vitro and it is unknown how this effect comes about, there is a long way to go before this effect can possibly be used in medicines.
Wild pansy for inflamed skin
The Wild Pansy is one of the few plants that help against superficial inflamed skin on the head, face and other parts of the body. With this so-called seborrheic dermatitis (also called "seborrheic eczema"), dandruff forms and there is an itching sensation.
Here, Wildes Pansy has properties similar to those of cortisone, both internally and externally. Healing accelerates and the symptoms subside. Traditionally, pansies have been used especially for cradle cap, which mainly affects infants in the first year. This is shown by encrusted scales with a yellow color on the scalp. In contrast, cortisone is used conventionally. The anti-inflammatory agents in the wild pansy contain the infection and the mucilages reduce the itching.
Commission E of the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) considers pansies suitable for "mild seborrheic skin diseases and cradle cap in children" for medical applications.
Applications against skin diseases
For skin diseases, make a solution from six grams of the herbaceous part of the plant to 100 milliliters of water. You can put the herb in a hot partial bath in which the affected person places the diseased parts of the body, or you can wash the inflamed skin with the extract, wrap envelopes around it or put on wet towels.
The effects on the skin are not only used in natural medicine, but also in natural cosmetics. To do this, fill a small cup to three quarters with dried or fresh flowers and pour boiling milk over the herb. They stir the mixture, let it cool, then apply it to the skin of the face and hands. Wild pansy has a softening effect.
Folk medicine and naturopathy
In European medicine, the wild pansy was an all-round medicine. Above all, envelopes with a brew of the plant served as a home remedy for all types of skin diseases, particularly those that form dandruff - against acne, itching, cradle cap, eczema, pus, gout, blemished skin or herpes in the mouth.
Michael Puff explained the applications of the pansy in the 15th century in his "booklet of the burned-out waters". According to him, the plant should work against "bad heat" (sweating, fever?), As well as against "swelling" (swelling, ulcers) and "steaming" in the chest.
Wild pansy - tea and extract
In addition, pansies in the form of an extract or tea served as a medicine for ailments that we now refer to as rheumatic complaints or arteriosclerosis, i.e. joint diseases, against cystitis, bedwetting or bladder stones.
The herb has been used against chronic fatigue, sleep problems, febrile seizures and nervous conditions. In folk medicine, effects fall under “blood purification”, which can generally be translated as stimulating the metabolism.
Wild pansies have been used against skin diseases since the Middle Ages. Various healing textbooks from the 16th century to the present day have a common thread against skin diseases such as dry eczema, acne, skin irritation and rashes, against kidney diseases and complaints of the urinary tract.
The wild pansy is generally very well tolerated, serious side effects are not known.
Where does the name "pansy" come from?
In the folk tale, pansies are derived from the fact that the two sepals, which have the lowest petal, are interpreted as stepmothers, while the colorful petals on the left and right of it are supposed to be the daughters, but the upper petals are said to be the daughters, which are only on one sepals sit.
It sounds constructed around many corners, and so it is: people only invented this symbolism when the pansy had long been named. Stief, on the other hand, meant something like a remnant at the origin and probably refers to the small size of the flower.
Not only the garden pansy, but also its wild original form can be planted in the garden without any problems. The flowers resist frost, take on partial shade as well as full sun. They grow on the bed like in a flower pot, on the terrace as on the balcony. They are undemanding and require little maintenance.
You can buy wild pansies as young plants in natural nurseries and plant them in spring. Make sure that a rich root system has developed and the plants are strong. In summer, wait until the flowers die, because the seeds form from the flower capsules. You can store them in an envelope in a dark place or sow them right away and wait until the plantlets form. The young plants can then be planted in tubs.
Wild pansy in the garden
So you can take a herbal remedy for inflammatory skin diseases at home with little effort, regardless of whether you have an allotment garden, a balcony or even just a back yard. The wild violet grows on almost all soils, on sand as well as on moor or clay soil. He likes best a nutrient-rich sandy soil with a lot of moisture.
Wetness is about the healthy middle - it should not be too dry, but it should also not cause waterlogging, because then the roots will rot. As a fertilizer, you can mix horn shavings or mature garden compost into the soil when planting. After that, no additional fertilizer is needed. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the requirements of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Groß, Elvira: Plant names and their meaning, DuMont, 2001
- Wichtl, Max: Tea Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals: A Manual for Practice on a Scientific Basis, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft, 2002
- Hansel, Rudolf; Keller, Constantine; Rimpler, Horst; Schneider, Georg (ed.): Hagers Handbook of Pharmaceutical Practice: Drugs P-Z volume 2, Springer, 2012
- European Medicines Agency (EMA): Assessment report on Viola tricolor L. and / or subspecies Viola arvensis Murray (Gaud) and Viola vulgaris Koch (Oborny), herba cum flore (access: 2.3.2020), EMA
- Toiu, A .; Muntean, E .; Oniga, I. et al .: Pharmacognostic research on Viola tricolor L. (Violaceae), in: Revista medico-chirurgicala a Societatii de Medici si Naturalisti din Iasi, 113 (1): 264-7, January-March 2009, PubMed