Medicinal Plants- The Wild Pansy
The wild pansy, also popularly known as the "heartsease" or "Johnny-Jump-Up," has actually been christened by possibly two hundred different names. Native to Europe, Asia, North Africa, and North America, the wild pansy grows freely in a variety of places and conditions. Whether growing wild in fields and meadows or making a random appearance on fallow land, the wild pansy is a favorite and is often cultivated in some of the world's most beautiful gardens.
A member of the violet family, wild pansies shoot up to a height between eight and twelve inches. Their colorful blooms are not only multisided but symmetrical as well. Well loved for its extensive flowering period (April through September), the wild pansy offers gardeners bright colors (purple, blue, yellow or white) and the appealing ability to creep throughout the flower bed filling in areas to their fullest. Slightly invasive, the true gardener will watch just how far they creep, as they often need to be pulled back before taking over.
Although this plant is beloved for its beauty (check out Shakespeare's Hamlet or A Midsummer Night's Dream ), and its use in creating dyes; the wild pansy has been touted "medicinal" since the Middle Ages when it was heavily associated with folk medicine. The wild pansy has long been used in herbalism, and it is valued as a purifying herb. Long considered a remedy for various skin ailments, wild pansy has been used for a number of ailments ranging from diaper rash to coughs and colds.
When used medicinally, only the aerial parts of the pansy are used (petals). Gathered during the flowering season, petals are dried for future use. The petals of the wild pansy are rich in methyl-salicylate, which is used in topical pain ointments; saponins, which are beneficial in reducing blood cholesterol, stimulating the immune system, and reducing the risk of some cancers; alkaloids, mucilage, tannins, and flavonoids. Other important properties found in the plant are its natural components of vitamins C and E, in addition to calcium and magnesium.
Wild pansy rinses are easy to make and store. Simply steep two teaspoons of dried wild pansy in a half cup of boiling water for ten minutes and strain. Compresses of the solution may be used several times a day and promote healing in both bruises and skin ailments such as psoriasis or acne. This solution is also a gentle remedy for the cradle cap and eczema that are often a part of infancy.
Teas and syrups are also easily administered and simply prepared. Tea requires two teaspoons of dried wild pansy per two cups of boiling water, ten minutes of steeping, and straining before consumption. Preparing syrup adds just a few more steps and uses one and a half tablespoons of tea, mixed with two-thirds cup of water, and one and a half tablespoons of syrup. This infusion may be taken up to three times daily; the recommended dose is one tablespoon. Wild pansy prepared as directed, and consumed as both a syrup or tea is a reliable treatment for colds, fever, and congestion in the lungs. It is said to be particularly helpful in loosening dry, tight coughs because of its properties as an expectorant.
Due to its high concentration of rutin, wild pansy infusions may be beneficial for other ailments as well. Rutin enables the body to effectively absorb vitamin C, something the body cannot do on its own. Rutin, a flavonoid, boosts vitamin C's efficacy, helps to strengthen capillary walls, reduces cholesterol, and improves circulation. Recent studies indicate that flavonoids work as antioxidants and may very well have a large part in protecting the body.
The wild pansy also has anti-inflammatory properties and may be useful in the treatment of rheumatism and gout. It also claims diuretic properties that help eliminate fluid retention when taken internally. Thus, wild pansy teas and infusions are commonly taken as a remedy for rheumatism and cystitis.
As with all homeopathic medicines and supplements, a doctor should be consulted before use.
© 2014 Awdur
The Complete Guide to Natural Healing . Orangeville, ON: International Masters