Viola odorata is commonly known as wood violet, sweet violet. The sweet scent of this flower has proved popular, particularly in the Belle Epoque or Golden Age and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes with big known names.
The French are also known for their violet syrup, most commonly made from an extract of violets. In the United States, this French violet syrup is used to make violet scones and marshmallows. The scent of violet flowers is distinctive with only a few other flowers having a remotely similar odor. The flowers are widely cultivated Soth of France near Grasse (Tourrettes-sur-Loup) for their fragrance, with both the flowers and leaves being separately collected and extracted for fragrance, and flowers also collected for use in confectionery galenical syrup and in the production of medicine. The leaves are edible and commonly used in salads. Real violet flower extract is available for culinary uses, especially in European countries, but it is expensive.
In herbal medicine, Violet odorata has been used for a variety of respiratory ailments, insomnia, and skin disorders. The violet flower was a favorite in ancient Greece and became the symbol of Athens. Scent suggested sex, so the violet was an emblematic flower of Aphrodite and also of her son Priapus, the deity of gardens and generation.
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