BLUE FLAG- IRIS
BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION AND IMPRESSIONS: Iris is a native plant which has become so cultivated and hybridized that most people would not think that it would be a wild crafted herb. It has a very pretty flower although it really doesn’t bloom for so long and doesn’t really show its true beauty until one gives it close examination. The unique combination of the blue and yellow with purple and white all combine to give it a very esoteric appearance. It is said that man has painted the city and God has painted the country. Iris is a very good example of the artistry of God. The vision of the flower itself has healing properties. The translation of the word Iris is from a Greek word meaning “the rainbow deified”.
Iris grows in wet marshy situations and blooms in May or June. The flowers, from 2 to 6 in number, are large and showy, of a purplish, or violet-blue color, variegated with white and greenish-yellow, interspersed with purple veins. The plant grows from 1 to 3 feet high, having a stout, sometimes branching stem, angled on one side. The leaves are sword=shaped, from 6 to 8 inches long, and 3/4 inches wide. The root which resembles that of Acorus Calamus, is the part officially used.
The fresh root taken without drying or tincturing is toxic because it contains a type of acrid crystal that causes a swelling of the throat and death can ensue. Also all preparations of Iris should be used within the normal dosage range without speculation because Iris causes secretion of the glandular system and in particular the Liver. This should be done without exhausting the system.
The main use of Iris is this ability to cause glandular secretion, particularly bile from the liver. It is a very efficient liver cleanser. Iris is Specific in soft glandular enlargement. It is well combined with agents such as Poke root for glandular enlargements. Poke is indicated in hard lymphatic enlargements and Iris in soft although they are both useful in all glandular enlargements. Goiter or enlargement of the thyroid gland is benefited by both of these herbs.
Iris is also noted for its curative and cleansing effect in a large variety of skin disorders. It is particularly noted in the condition of comedones commonly referred to as blackheads. Psoriasis, eczema, acne, and boils are all indications for Iris. Again it is combined with other alterative herbs such as Poke, Yellow dock, etc.
Probably the most pronounced effect of Iris is in liver disorders and indigestive states. Of course these two are commonly connected because digestion is dependent upon bile flow and this is one of the main actions of iris on the liver. This action is referred to as a cholagogue and Iris would be a good example of a cholagogue. It have combined it with Fringe tree (Chionanthus) and Podophyllum in liver disorders with excellent results in hepatitis, cirrhosis and other chronic liver disorders. Chronic liver disorders causing pain and nausea are noted indications for Iris according to Kings dispensatory. In our experience chronic states are sometimes ameliorated and in the more advanced stages the pain is greatly relieved and the patient is much more able to live a normal live.
One main indication for Iris is when someone overeats and indigestion ensues. It is very efficient in this regard. For many dyspeptic states I combine Iris with Wild Cherry (Prunus Serotina) and Tag Alder (Alnus Serrulata). The wild cherry causes the flow of gastric juices and the Tag Alder causes elimination of waste and assimilation of nutrition. Altogether this formula is very useful for many conditions such as acid reflux and any type of indigestion.
According to Kings there is a great deal of benefit to be derived from Iris in the disorders of women especially in conditions where there is glandular enlargement such as in Ovaritis. It is particularly indicated for young girls when in puberty undergo a kind of nervous disorder where dizziness may occur. Conditions of where there is abnormal discharges are also benefited. Iris is much indicated when there is discoloration of the skins in these conditions. Also mental depression in relation to the reproductive function is impressed by Iris. Especially when the body is exhausted from excessive emissions. Willow blossoms would be a good combination here with Iris.
The dosage of the tincture of Iris can go up to 60 drops in severe cases where the system has to be cleansed drastically although this can be too much for sensitive persons and better that the 1 to 30 drops doses be used unless one is able to carefully monitor and if nausea does occur then the dosage should be diminished and ginger or cayenne administered to help alleviate. In my practice I have much used Iris in combination with other herbs and seldom alone. The usual dosage of 30 drops of the combination has proved effective.