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erbal Medicine Materia Medica

Blue Flag

© David L. Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH

Iris versicolor


Names :

Habitat : Eastern and Central North America, growing in marshy places, producing distinctive blue flowers in spring. Commonly grown in Britain as an ornamental.

Collection : The rhizome os best collected in the autumn.

Part Used : Rhizome

Constituents :

  • Volatile oil, containing furfural
  • Iridin (or irisin), a glycoside
  • Acids such as salicylic and isophthalic
  • Miscellaneous; a monocyclic C3l triterpenoid, gum, resin, sterols, etc.
Actions : Cholagogue, hepatic, alterative, laxative, diuretic, anti-inflammatory.

Indications : This useful remedy has a wide application in the treatment of skin diseases, apparently aiding the skin by working through the liver, the main detoxifying organ of the body. It may be used in skin eruptions such as eczema and psoriasis, it is valuable as part of a wider treatment. It may be used with value where there is constipation associated with liver problems or biliousness.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "positive alterative for chronic, torpid conditions: influences glandular system, lymphatics, liver and gall ducts, and intestinal glands. Specific for hepatic congestion due to venous or lymphatic stasis." They give the following specific indications :chronic hepatitis and rheumatic conditions, toxicsciatica(?). Scrophulous skin conditions, herpes, eczema, psoriasis. Enlarged thyroid gland. Uterine fibroids.

Ellingwood considered it specific for "clay-colored stools, scantyurine and the skin inactive and jaundiced. In small doses it is indicated for irritable conditions of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract." In addition he recommends it for the following pathologies : Chronic hepatic and intestinal disorders, chronic jaundice, bilious remittent feversand chronic ague. Conditions of the stomach that induce sick headaches.Syphilis. Psoriasis, eczema, tinea.Goitre.

Kings Dispensatory says: "The specific indications for Iris may be stated as fullness of thyroid gland; enlarged spleen; chronichepatic complaints with sharp, cutting pain, aggravated by motion; nausea and vomiting of sour liquids, or regurgitation of food, especially after eating rich pastry or fats; watery, burning bowel discharges; enlargedIymphatics, soft and yielding; rough greasy conditions of the skin; disorders of sebaceous follicles; abnormal dermal pigmentation; menstrual wrongs, with thyroid fullness; unilateral fullness; unilateral facial neuralgia; muscular atrophy and other wastings of the tissues."

Combinations : Blue Flag combines well with Echinacea or Burdock and Yellow Dock.

Preparations & Dosage : Decoction: put l teaspoonful of the dried herb into a cup of water and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take 1 ml of the tincture three times a day.

About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary......more
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