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Chinese Violet

Also known as 'Gangetic Primrose', Philippine violet, coromandel or creeping foxglove

Health Benefits of Chinese Violet & Cautions


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Facts about Chinese violet

Chinese violet Quick Facts

Name: Chinese violet

Scientific Name: Telosma cordata

Origin: The plant is a native to India, Burma, Indochina and South China.

Colors: Green

Shapes: Round with pointy ends

Telosma cordata is a flowering plant species inherent to India, Burma, Indochina and South China. It is cultivated elsewhere and occurs wild as an introduced species. Commonly it is also known as Chinese violet, Pakalana vine, cowslip creeper, Tonkin jasmine and Tonkinese creeper. The plant contains clusters of golden yellow which blooms during summer months along the vining stems. Individual blooms are found over a period of weeks which emits a rich and heavy fragrance during day and night.


The plant is a small and perennial climber that grows to 10 meters long with yellowish green, much-branched stem which is pubescent when young that becomes pale grey and glabrescent. Leaves are found on 1.5 to 5 cm long petioles. Leaf lamina is ovate measuring 6 to 11 cm long having base deeply cordate with narrow sinus. Flowers are 15 to 30 flowered and fragrant especially at night. Bract is linear and caducous. Sepals are puberulent on the outside and oblong-lanceolate. It has greenish to yellow to pale yellow corolla. Tube measures 6 to 10 × 4 to 6 mm, with ciliate, oblong-linear lobes. Follicles are lanceolate, glabrous, measuring 6 to 12 × 2 to 3.5 cm and are obtusely 4-angled. Seeds are broadly ovate, flat, 1 × 1 cm and margin membranous bearing 3 to 4 cm long silky coma. It is reproduced by seedling or cutting.


Leaves are heart-shaped which grows in pairs. Each leaf measures 4-7.5 cm wide and 6–11 cm long with underside smooth. The thickness of leaf is very small and veins could be seen clearly. The stem measures about 1.2 to 2 cm long.


Spearmint tea may also help improve your memory. One study showed that older people with memory issues who were given daily spearmint extract supplements saw a 15 % improvement in their memory


There may also be properties in spearmint tea that lower blood sugar and help people who have diabetes maintain their health. While no extensive study has been done on humans to investigate these benefits, studies on rats with diabetes have shown lower blood sugar levels when given spearmint.


Traditional uses

Medicinally oil and flowers are used for treating conjunctivitis.

It is used as an antidote to poison and also reduces fatigue.

It provides relief from backbone aches and also lowers hematuria.


Avoid by allergic people

Consult the health practitioner before treating health conditions.

How to Eat

Unopened flowers and young leaves are consumed as vegetables in China, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos and Kampuchea.

It is cooked in soups or is stir fried with eggs and meat.

In Java, tuberous roots are consumed as sweetmeat.

The oil are used for cooking purposes.

Flower buds are used stir-fried or boiled in broth in Vietnamese cuisine, Southern Chinese cuisine and Northern Thai cuisine.

Extracts of Asystasia gangetica have shown analgesic and anti-asthmatic properties in pharmacological tests.

Watch a video with more information on ‘Chinese Violet’, also known as ‘Gangetic Primrose’, Philippine violet and coromandel, creeping foxglove

Chinese Violet - Recipes

Nutritional info:

3.9% protein, 0.76% fat, 8.93% carbohydrate, 3%, 260 Calories per 100g, Protein: 24g; Fat: 5g; Carbohydrate: 45g; Fibre: 15g; Ash: 28g, Minerals — Calcium: 2300mg; Phosphorus: 500mg; Iron: 25mg; Vitamins — A: 31583mg; Thiamine (B1): 0.67mg; Riboflavin (B2): 1.58mg; Niacin: 2.5mg; B6: 0mg; C: 0mg;

Chinese Violet Cooking Video


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Brazilian Spinach Recipes
This recipe can be substituted with other types of spinach such as amaranth (bayam) and Brazilian Apinach (leaves).


200g Chinese Violet (leaves only)

2 tbsp miso, or to taste

2 tbsp roasted sesame seeds, ground

1/2 tsp sesame oil

Maple syrup, to taste

Chinese Violet (leaves and flower


Step 1
Rinse Chinese Violet and blanch until leaves are soft. Remove the leaves from hot water and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Step 2
Mix miso, ground sesame seeds, sesame oil and maple syrup with some water to form a paste.

Step 3
Mix paste thoroughly into the blanched Chinese Violet.

Step 4
Serve immediately or let rest in the fridge until ready to serve.

Chinese Violet Chips


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Chinese violet Asystasia gangetica

One of the most common wild food plants available throughout the Hawaiian Islands is Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica), a common herb growing mostly in lower elevation windward locations, but who can also be found in shady areas on leeward sides. Depending on how much water the plant gets, the greens are an easily found wild food that are mild in flavor.

I recently had a new wild food intern arrive at my place and asked her to harvest this plant, as it was smothering my ‘olena starts. This woman (Marla) is rad, an adventurous eater and chef who had whipped up a chimichurri made from the raw greens when I returned – brilliant – except that the greens need to be cooked! She said she had done an internet search and that the greens were ok to eat raw…after some mystery I realized that an internet search of “chinese violet edible” brings you to another plant who is also known by the name Chinese violet (Viola yezoensis). eeeeek, yet another case of common names versus scientific names and the MASSIVE IMPORTANCE of learning those scientific names.

Marla tried again and came up with these delicious, cooked, chips in the recipe below. A learning opportunity for everyone. I’ve been eating Chinese violets (Asystasia gangetica) for the last 7 years, and I’ve never found any information on the flowers’ edibility. The flowers are gorgeous added to dye bundles though, and create a greenish/blue color depending on what kind of natural dyebath you’ve brewed up! There isn’t a lot of research on this plant, mostly we have ethnobotanical information on how people around Africa and Asia eat it, but this paper gives you a glimpse into how science is confirming some of its traditional medicinal uses as an anti-asthmatic and more are emerging.

Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica) has a stemmy appearance, and although it typically grows near to the ground it can climb on top of, or with, other plants that reach some height. Photo by Sunny SavageAll of these Chinese violet (Asystasia gangetica) leaves are perfect for eating.

Chinese Violet Leaf Chips


1 Cup Chinese Violet Leaves (rinse and pat dry)

2 Tablespoons High Heat Cooking Oil (Olive Oil works for this short cooking time)

1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Black Pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone liner sheet.

Add leaves and oil to a large bowl and toss with hands until leaves are evenly coated.

Add salt and pepper to bowl and toss with hands until leaves are evenly coated.

Place leaves in a single layer on prepared baking sheet. Do not overlap.

Bake for 5 minutes.

Best when eaten immediately after baking, but can be stored by putting into an airtight container.


Chinese violet leaves prior to baking in the oven. These have a small amount of nutritional yeast added to them. You could try adding spices or ground nuts as well.