The house that I currently live in (I rent) was selected in large part because of the vast patches of violets growing on the mowed areas of the property. So when I moved in last year I was completely aware of the common blue violet (Viola sororia) I had surrounding me. It wasn't until this spring that I realized that I also have some pretty significant areas of sweet violet (V. odorata) growing in abandoned garden areas around my home. For me, this was a very exciting realization. I immediately tinctured some flowers.
The first surprise was the tincture's pale yellow-green color. I know that the color of violet preparations is based on their pH, and I also know that 151 proof everclear has a very high pH, which should favor a greenish color, but it was still a surprise. After a few weeks of maceration I had completely colorless flowers, and a delicately fragrant pale green yellow tincture that I wasn't entirely sure what to do with. So, of course, I started tasting it.
The most notable effect, of even the tiniest dose, of this tincture is the huge grin that appears on my face after taking it. This is followed by a happy sigh and a varying amount of time spent feeling very content and relaxed. Not the kind of content and relaxed that makes you sit and stare at the wall for three hours thinking there is nothing in the world that could possibly be more important than staring at the wall, but the kind that makes you consider the things you need to get done, select the thing that feels most appropriate at the time, and get some work done on it. No pressure.
I have also found that it helps me drift to sleep when my mind is racing, calms overwhelming negative emotions (especially anger), and helps me to function better in overstimulating environments. It also seems to have a gently regulating effect on the digestive system which makes it very helpful for people that get constipation due to stress. Violet also has a lot of traditional uses, such as in cancer treatment (though I believe that is more done with the leaf), and other lymphatic actions that I have not experimented with at all.
I was very excited about this tincture and I have given it to several people to taste. I have seen the same grin and eye sparkle on every person's face except for one, she said that all she could taste was the alcohol and that it was too strong. I think, however, that she was actually tasting the tingle imparted by the violet. I found that the very fresh tincture was actually harsher than the everclear itself. The harshness of the tincture has diminished somewhat now but it is still there and the feeling is hard to describe. I suppose it would be referred to as diffusive, but it is not quite like the other diffusive herbs I know, and it is very fleeting.
As I said this is only the first year I have made this tincture so I have only had about 4 months to play with it, but for some reason I felt like this was a tincture that I immediately knew what to do with. At least for me. It has very subtle flavors and properties, I don't think the tincture I have made will remain useful much longer - which kind of makes me feel like I am loosing a friend! Hopefully next year I will be able to figure out some method of tincturing that will allow it to last longer because I think that it would make a very useful winter companion for me. Maybe someone has some suggestions?
Oh yes, and please eat the leaf too. They're just so yummy, though for eating I prefer the common blue violet.