The pansy is a delightful, colorful spring annual that brings a splash of vivid color to your garden. It’s also edible, on a limited basis. It has pain relieving properties, it is diuretic, it makes a mild laxative and has soothing, demulcent properties for the skin. It is also an expectorant to help clear chest congestion. The most common way to use it is to brew a tea of the leaves and flowers, taking no more than a cup daily, a mouthful at a time. This same tea can be applied to skin eruption and sores in both children and adults. The leaves and flowers can be dried for later use. This is a cool weather annual and usually won’t survive a really hot summer. However, you can frequently get plants in the fall and they will usually winter over, even in cooler climates. The pansy–or viola as it also is called–is related to the violet, a hardy perennial.