According to Roman mythology, the wild pansy (viola tricolour) turned into the Love-in-idleness as Cupid shot one of his arrows at the imperial votaress, but missed and instead struck it. As Cupid is the god of desire, affection and erotic love, the flower’s juice received the trait, to act as a love potion. Its name relates to the use of the flower, as it is often used for idleness or vileness acts.
As some of its names imply, heartsease being one, has a long history of use in herbalism. It has been recommended, among other uses, for epilepsy, asthma, skin diseases, and eczema. V. tricolor has a history in folk medicine of helping respiratory problems such as bronchitis, asthma, and cold symptoms.
It has expectorant properties, and so has been used in the treatment of chest complaints such as bronchitis and whooping cough. It is also a diuretic, leading to its use in treating rheumatism and cystitis.
The flowers have also been used to make yellow, green and blue-green dyes, and the leaves can be used to indicate acidity.[