Viola and Acne

Viola, or wild pansy (Viola tricolor), has traditionally been used as a topical home remedy for skin conditions like eczema and acne.1-2 Also known as Heartsease, viola is an annual or non-hardy perennial herb native to Europe and Asia.2-3 In Ayurvedic terms viola is a blood-cleanser herb.1

The dried aerial parts of the viola are used in natural medicine preparations. They contain a number of beneficial polyphenols, including salicylic acid—a known antimicrobial used in many homeopathic and commercial acne treatment products.1,4 Lab experiments have confirmed that viola extract exerts antimicrobial activity against gram positive and negative bacteria.4


There are no known adverse side effects are drug interactions with viola extracts. However, since there is insufficient safety information available pregnant or nursing women should avoid using viola.2,4

How to Use

Steep 1.5 grams of dried herb to ? cup of boiling-hot water for 5-10 minutes and strain to make an herbal tea (up to 3 servings a day).2

Topically, prepare a decoction by soaking four grams of dried herb in boiling-hot water for 10 minutes. Use the liquid to make compresses to apply several times a day.3-4

  1. Wynn, Susan G. and Fougère, Barbara. Veterinary herbal medicine. s.l.: Elsevier Health Sciences, 2007. ISBN 0323029981, 9780323029988.
  2. Therapeutic Research Faculty. Wild Pansy Full Monograph. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. [Online] 2011. [Cited: Januarfy 23, 2011.]'S+EASE)&searchid=24783292.
  3. Wyk, Ben-Erik Van and Wink, Michael. Medicinal plants of the world: an illustrated scientific guide to important medicinal plants and their uses. s.l.: Timber Press, 2004. ISBN 0881926027, 9780881926026.
  4. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. ESCOP Monographs: the Scientific Foundation for Herbal Medicinal Products. Second; Supplement. s.l.: Thieme, 2009. ISBN 1901964086, 9781901964080.
Above-ground parts—leaves, stems, flowers.
Propionibacterium acnes (P. acnes) is a gram positive skin bacteria linked to acne formation.
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