The fragrance temporarily makes you lose your sense of smell, leading Shakespeare to muse, “The perfume, suppliance of a minute. No more.” Medieval patients drank violet water; they were rubbed with violet oil, then wrapped in linen. Romans splashed violet vinegar on headaches. In the 19th century, French perfumer Charles Piesse said violets were so popular the demand was more than he could supply. Some oil is produced in France and Italy, but most comes from Egypt.

Family: Violaceae

Extraction: Absolute, concrete from leaves, rarely flowers. The leaf odor is green, leafy and peppery.

Emotional Attribute: The fragrance helps one realize potential and dissipate confusion, nervous exhaustion and insomnia. It was once said to comfort and strengthen the heart.

Associated Oil:

Orris (Iris germanica var. florentina) –Orris essential oil often replaced violet as a less expensive scent, but at the current $25,000 a pound, it is no longer a cheap alternative. Before distilling, the peeled roots must be aged two years to develop their scent. The main growers are Tuscany and Morocco.

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Written by Kathi Keville

Explore Wellness in 2021