Botanical: Viola tricolor
Family: Violaceae (violet)
Other common names: Pansy, Field Pansy, Garden Violet, Wild Pansy, Johnny-Jump-Up,
Johnny Jumper, Jupiter, Stepmother, Ladies' Delight, Herbe de Pensée Sauvage
Heartsease may be a colorful addition to our salad bowls and ancient love potions, but more importantly, Heartsease is a soothing expectorant that has been used to treat lung problems (bronchitis, dry cough and asthma), as well as a topical treatment for skin diseases and internal therapy for numerous skin problems (diaper rash, cradle cap and weeping eczema).
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Heartsease is a pretty flower that is native to Europe and is widely cultivated as a garden ornamental, but it also grows wild in fields, meadows and along forest edges in the temperate regions of North America, Asia and Europe. Heartsease (or Pansy, as it is sometimes called) is occasionally referred to as a cultivated weed with hollow stems, bearing lanceolate leaves and solitary flowers of yellow, blue-violet; or it may be dual-colored with white. The plant thrives in well-drained, moisture-retentive soil in sun or partial shade and flowers from May to September, growing to a height of about fifteen inches. One of Heartsease's common names, Pansy, is thought to be derived from the French word, penser, which means "to think," and the flower's three colors (purple, yellow and white) stand for "memories, loving thoughts and souvenirs," all of which ease the hearts of separated lovers, recalling the flower's name, Heartsease. It is a member of the violet family, and its use in herbal medicine may be traced to ancient times. Homer told us that Athenians used Heartsease to moderate anger, while the Roman, Pliny, recommended it to prevent headaches and dizziness, and it was also used in love potions. In Gerard's "Herball" of 1597, he recommended Heartsease for infantile convulsions and for chest and lung inflammations, as well as for scabs, itching and ulcers - uses that are continued in herbal medicine to this very day. It is interesting to note that the Chinese used Heartsease in herbal medicines throughout history in all the same ways as they were employed in the West. In the seventeenth century, North American tribes treated boils and swellings with Heartsease, and by the late 1800s, it was being employed as a remedy for a variety of skin diseases, such as scabies. Heartsease was once included in the United States Pharmacopœia and has continued as an important factor in herbal medicine in modern times. Some of the constituents in Heartsease include mucilage, resin, alkaloids, flavonoids, volatile oil, violine, a bitter principle, salicylic acid and saponins.
Heartsease has been used for centuries as an effective expectorant that has been helpful in easing chest problems, such as bronchitis, asthma, lung inflammation, whooping cough and dry coughs. It is said to help loosen and expel phlegm. The mucilage in Heartsease acts as a demulcent that soothes mucous membranes and eases painful coughs, and the salicylic acid content acts as a pain reliever to ease the pain of lung inflammation.
It is believed that the blood cleansing properties of this modest little plant are hardly excelled by any other and are said to be especially useful for scrofula and skin eruptions in children. When taken internally, Heartsease is said to rid the body of toxic products that cause skin problems, including acne.
As a diuretic, Heartsease promotes the flow of urine and expels toxins and waste through the increased urine; and as a diaphoretic, it helps to promote sweating, which not only cools the body and reduces fever, but it will also further rid the body of toxins through the skin.
Heartsease is said to strengthen the blood vessels and stabilize capillary membrane fragility and act as a gentle circulatory stimulant. These qualities are said to help combat arteriosclerosis by improving blood flow and also help in cases of varicose ulcers.
As a mild sedative and calmative, Heartsease has been used to soothe nervous complaints, including hysteria, and it is also considered an anodyne or substance that relieves pain or promotes general comfort.
Heartsease is considered an old and reliable treatment for skin diseases of all kinds. Used topically in lotions and poultices, it is said to treat wounds, scabies, boils, itching, rashes, impetigo, acne, swellings and weeping eczema. Recent research has supported some of the historical uses of Heartsease for skin conditions, particularly with respect to the skin complaints of infants. Taken internally, a handful of fresh Heartsease that had been boiled in milk was said to be very effective in treating Crusta lactea, or "cradle cap" (or scald head, as it is sometimes called), which is seborrhea of the scalp that is common in nursing infants. It may also be similarly applied topically in a poultice for the same condition. Heartsease is also said to help ease diaper rash.
Heartsease Herbal Supplement should not be used in excessive amounts (many times the recommended dosage) nor for prolonged periods of time, as large doses may cause skin irritations, nausea and vomiting (as the root and seeds can have emetic and purgative properties). Heartsease should not be used in conjunction with prescription diuretics nor medications for asthma.