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Herbs & Plants

Iris Versicolor

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Botanical Name: Iris Versicolor
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Species: I. versicolor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Synonyms: Blue Flag. Poison Flag. Flag Lily. Liver Lily. Snake Lily. Dragon Flower. Dagger Flower. Water Flag.
Other Names: Harlequin Blueflag, Larger Blue Flag, Northern Blue Flag, and Poison Flag

Habitat: Iris Versicolor is native to North America where it is common in sedge meadows, marshes, and along streambanks and shores. The specific epithet versicolor means “variously coloured”
Description:
Iris versicolor is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant, growing 10–80 centimetres high. This iris tends to form large clumps from thick, creeping rhizomes. The unwinged, erect stems generally have basal leaves that are more than 1 cm wide. Leaves are folded on the midribs so that they form an overlapping flat fan. The well developed blue flower has 6 petals and sepals spread out nearly flat and have two forms. The longer sepals are hairless and have a greenish-yellow blotch at their base. The inferior ovary is bluntly angled. Flowers are usually light to deep blue (purple and violet are not uncommon) and bloom during May to July. Fruit is a 3-celled, bluntly angled capsule. The large seeds can be observed floating in fall.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

Iris Versicolor Rhizome has annual joints, 2 or more inches long, about 3/4 inch in diameter, cylindrical in the lower half, becoming compressed towards the crown, where the cup-shaped stem-scar is seen, when dry, and numerous rings, formed of leaf scars are apparent above and scars of rootlets below. It is dark brown externally and longitudinally wrinkled. The fracture is short, purplish, the vascular bundles scattered through the central column. The rootlets are long, slender and simple. The rhizome has a very slight but peculiar odour, and a pungent, acrid and nauseous taste.

Part Used in medicine: The Root.

Constituents : The rhizome contains starch, gum, tannin, volatile oil, 25 per cent of acrid, resinous matter, isophthalic acid, traces of salicylic acid and possibly an alkaloid, though a number of substances contained are still unidentified. It owes its medicinal virtues to an oleoresin.

Distilled with water, the fresh rhizome yields an opalescent distillate, from which is separated a white, camphoraceous substance with a faint odour. The oil possesses the taste and smell, but only partly the medicinal activity of the drug.

Medicanal Uses:
The root is an official drug of the United States Pharmacopoeia and is the source of the Iridin or Irisin of commerce, a powdered extractive, bitter, nauseous and acrid, with diuretic and aperient properties.

Iridin acts powerfully on the liver, but, from its milder action on the bowels, is preferable to podophyllin.

The fresh Iris is quite acrid and if employed internally produces nausea, vomiting, purging and colicky pains. The dried root is less acrid and is employed as an emetic, diuretic and cathartic. The oleoresin in the root is purgative to the liver, and useful in bilious sickness in small doses.

It is chiefly used for its alterative properties, being a useful purgative in disorders of the liver and duodenum, and is an ingredient of many compounds for purifying the blood. It acts as a stimulant to the liver and intestinal glands and is used in constipation and biliousness, and is believed by some to be a hepatic stimulant second only to podophyllin, but if given in full doses it may occasion considerable nausea and severe prostration.

Its chief use is for syphilis and some forms of low-grade scrofula and skin affection. It is also valuable in dropsy.

It is said to have been used by the southern North American Indians as a cathartic and emetic.

The flowers afford a fine blue infusion, which serves as a test for acids and alkalies.

Click & see Homeopathic Uses of Iris Versicolor..……..(1) ….....(2)

Other Uses:
Litmus; Repellent; Weaving.

A fine blue infusion is obtained from the flowers and this can be used as a litmus substitute to test for acids and alkalis. The leaves have been used to weave baskets and mats. Some native North American Indian tribes used the root as a protection against rattlesnakes. It was believed that, so long as the root was handled occasionally to ensure the scent permeated the person and their clothes, rattlesnakes would not bite them. Some tribes even used to chew the root and then hold rattlesnakes with their teeth and were not bitten so long as the scent persisted

 

Known Hazards: The species has been implicated in several poisoning cases of humans and animals who consumed the rhizomes, which have been found to contain a glycoside, iridin. The sap can cause dermatitis in susceptible individuals.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_versicolor
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/iriver11.html

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Irises

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Botanical Name :Iris
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales

Common Name :Flags or junos

Habitat: The plant is a native of Southern Europe, very frequent in Italy, apart from its cultivation there, and is also cultivated in Morocco. In England, this German Flag or Flag Iris is by far the commonest of the family in gardens and justly deserves its popularity, for it will grow and flower well in the most unpromising situations and will bear with apparent equanimity hardships that few other plants would endure without loss of vitality. It is not moisture-loving – ordinary border soil, well cultivated, suits it well and the heavy clay soils are more or less inimical to its growth. If the best results are to be obtained, deep and rich beds should be prepared for these Irises, for they will well repay liberal treatment by the production of larger and more numerous flowers. Although they may be moved at any time of the year, April is the best month. They will not flower the same year, but they will during the summer, if attended to, become sufficiently strong to bloom freely the succeeding year. Winter is the worst time to move them, as in heavy soil, the plants often remain dormant without forming a single root-fibre until the spring. But they are easily increased in spring by dividing the root-stocks and replanting and watering into rich soil.

The German Iris, or Flag Iris of the nurseryman as it now exists, is a compound of many species and more varieties, as hybridization has been extensively carried on for many years.

Description:
Iris is a genus of 260–300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. They are perennial plants, growing from creeping rhizomes (rhizomatous irises) or, in drier climates, from bulbs (bulbous irises). They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves. CLICK & SEE

Flower:-
The inflorescences are fan-shaped and contain one or more symmetrical six-lobed flowers. These grow on a pedicel or lack a footstalk. The three sepals, which are spreading or droop downwards, are referred to as “falls”. They expand from their narrow base, which in some of the rhizomatous irises has a “beard” (a tuft of short upright extensions growing in its midline), into a broader expanded portion (“limb”), often adorned with veining, lines or dots. The three, sometimes reduced, petals stand upright, partly behind the sepal bases. They are called “standards”. Some smaller iris species have all six lobes pointing straight outwards, but generally limb and standards differ markedly in appearance. They are united at their base into a floral tube that lies above the ovary (known as an epigynous or inferior ovary). The styles divide towards the apex into petaloid branches; this is significant in pollination.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

The iris flower is of interest as an example of the relation between flowering plants and pollinating insects. The shape of the flower and the position of the pollen-receiving and stigmatic surfaces on the outer petals form a landing-stage for a flying insect, which in probing for nectar, will first come into contact with the perianth, then with the stigmatic stamens in one whorled surface which is borne on an ovary formed of three carpels. The shelf-like transverse projection on the inner whorled underside of the stamens is beneath the overarching style arm below the stigma, so that the insect comes in contact with its pollen-covered surface only after passing the stigma; in backing out of the flower it will come in contact only with the non-receptive lower face of the stigma. Thus, an insect bearing pollen from one flower will, in entering a second, deposit the pollen on the stigma; in backing out of a flower, the pollen which it bears will not be rubbed off on the stigma of the same flower.

The iris fruit is a capsule which opens up in three parts to reveal the numerous seeds within. In some species, these bear an aril.

Medicinal and  other uses:

Constituents:The chief constituent of Orris root is the oil of Orris 0.1 to 0.2 per cent), a yellowish-white to yellow mass, containing about 85 per cent of odourless myristic acid, which appears to be liberated from a fat present in the rhizome during the process of steam distillation. Oil of Orris is known commercially as Orris Butter.

Other constituents are fat, resin, a large quantity of starch, mucilage, bitter extractive and a glucoside named Iridin, which is not to be confused with the powdered extracti Iridin or Irisin, prepared from the rhizome of the American plant I. versicolor, by precipitating a tincture of the drug with water and mixing the precipitate with an equal weight of powdered liquorice root, or other absorbent powder.

The odorous constituent of oil of Orris is a liquid ketone named Irone, to which the violet-like odour is due (though it is not absolutely identical with oil of Violets obtained from the natural flower), and it is the presence of this principle in the rhizome that has long led to the employment of powdered Orris root in the preparation of Violet powders, which owe very little of their scent to the real Violet perfume. It was first isolated by the eminent chemist Tiemann and formed the basis of his researches on artificial Violet perfume, and in 1893 he succeeded in preparing an allied body, which was termed Ionone and which had an odour even more like that of Violets than had Irone, and is now largely manufactured for the perfumery trade in making toilet waters and handkerchief extracts. The discovery of Ionone, which costs about one-eighth of the natural oil of Violets, has popularized Violet perfume to an enormous extent: most of the cheaper Violet perfumes on the market contain no trace of true Violet, but are made entirely with the artificial Ionone.

Otto of Orris is a golden-yellow oily liquid, which contains the odorous principles of the concrete oil of the rhizome without the solid, fatty inodorous constituents.

The important industry of Orris root still requires the light of scientific research to be thrown upon the life history of the plant to determine the conditions under which the largest percentage of the volatile oil can be developed.

Orris Root is rarely employed in medicine at the present time.

The fresh root possesses diuretic, emetic and cathartic properties. If given in large doses, it will occasion nausea, vomiting, purging and colic.

The drug was formerly employed in the treatment of bronchitis and chronic diarrhoea, and was considered a useful remedy in dropsy. The internal dose is stated to be from 5 to 15 grains.

The starch of the rhizome was formerly reckoned medicinal.

The dried powder is said to act as a good snuff, useful to excite sneezing to relieve cases of congested headache.

Pieces of the dried root are occasionally chewed for the purpose of overcoming a disagreeable breath.

The principal use of the dried root is, however, in perfumery, in sachet powders and to flavour dentifrices, toothpowders and cachous.

Oil of Orris, obtained by distilling powdered Orris root with steam, has an intense and extremely delicate odour of the fresh Violet and commands a high price. It is used commercially in the preparation of the finest scents and is also blended with artificial Violet perfumes, the odour of which it renders more subtle. Orris has the power of strengthening the odour of other fragrant bodies and is used as a fixative in perfumery.

Powdered Orris root is sometimes put into rinsing water in laundries and imparts a refreshing and fragrant scent to the linen.

Orris root, mixed with Anise, was used in England as a perfume for linen as early as 1480, under which date it is mentioned in the Wardrobe accounts of Edward IV.

One of the most interesting of the MS. still-room books of the later seventeenth century is Mary Doggett: Her Book of Receipts, 1682. In it we find ‘A perfume for a sweet bagg,’ as follows:
‘Take half a pound of Cypress Roots, a pound of Orris, 3 quarter of a pound of Calamus, 3 Orange stick with Cloves, 2 ounces of Benjamin, 3 quarters of a pound of Rhodium, a pound of Coriander seed, and an ounce of Storax and 4 pecks of Damask Rose leaves, a peck of dryed sweet Marjerum, a pretty stick of Juniper shaved very thin, some lemon pele dryed and a stick of Brasill; let all these be powdered very grosely for ye first year and immediately put into your baggs; the next year pound and work it and it will be very good again.’

Dr. Rhind (History of the Vegetable Kingdom, 1868) states that Orris gives the peculiar flavour to artificial brandies made in this country, and the root is much used in Russia to flavour a drink made of honey and ginger which is sold in the streets.

The larger and finer roots are often turned into pretty forms to be used for ornamental purposes, rosary beads, etc., and long pieces of Verona Orris are often shaped for infants’ use when teething. The less handsome rhizomes, as well as the chips, are distilled.

Lyte says ‘the Iris is knowen of the clothworkers and drapers, for with these rootes they use to trimme their clothes to make them sweete and pleasant.’ This was probably the ‘swete clothe’ so celebrated in the reign of Elizabeth.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/irises08.html#hab
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_(plant)

Categories
Herbs & Plants

Blue Flag

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Botanical Name:Iris versicolor
Family: Iridaceae
Subfamily: Iridoideae
Tribe: Irideae
Genus: Iris
Species: I. versicolor
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Asparagales
Common Names:Orris Root, Blue Lily, Iris, Florentine Orris, White Flag Root, Flag Lily, Liver Lily, Poison Flag, Poison Lily, Snake Lily, Water Flag, Wild Iris, Yellow Flag, Yellow Iris, Dragon Flower, Myrtle Flower, Fliggers, Flaggon, Sheggs, Segg, Daggers, Jacob’s Sword, Gladyne, Fleur-de-lis
Parts Used: Rhizome & Root
Habitat:Native to North America, blue flag also grows throughout the British Isles. It prefers damp and marshy areas in the wild, but it is often cultivated as a garden plant.

Description:
A perennial herb, it grows to about three feet with erect stems, sword-shaped leaves, and two to three resplendent blue to violet, iris-like flowers per stem. The flower petals are long with a pleasant aroma. The fruit is a large capsule with a number of sections in which the brown seeds are lined up like a roll of coins. The rhizome is thick and short and unearthed in autumn.

click & see the pictures

Stems grow in clusters from the base, usually single or double-branched, and can be from less than a foot tall to over 3 feet. Leaves are sword-like or blade-like. Flowers are on an elongated stem that usually rises above the leaves. Six-petaled iris-like flowers (actually 3 petals and 3 sepals) can be bluish-purple to violet in blue flag to white, yellow, or copper-colored in other iris species. Flowers are fragrant. Irises have shallow roots and can spread from the roots.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species.

History:-
Blue flag was a popular medicinal plant with Native Americans, who used it as an emetic, cathartic, and diuretic, to treat wounds and sores, and for colds, earaches, and cholera. The plant was considered helpful in treating liver problems and used for this purpose by the Hudson Bay Cree and the Delaware.

The plant was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1895.

In the Anglo-American Physiomedicalist tradition, it was used as a glandular and liver remedy.

In times past, the chemicals found in the root were inhaled in liquid form to clear the brain of “phlegmatic humours”.

Constituents: Blue flag contains triterpenoids, salicylic and isophthalic acids, a very small amount of volatile oil, starch, resin, an oleo-resin, and tannins.

Medicinal Uses:It is  bile stimulant, diuretic, detoxifies, mild laxative,mild expectorant, relieves nausea and vomiting.
The alkaloids in the rhizome can stimulate heart activity and seem to have a purifying action in the blood, but the rhizome should not be used by the inexperienced.

Blue flag has also been known as the liver lily, because its dried and powdered rhizomes were traditionally believed to be an excellent remedy for impurities of the blood and diseases of the liver. Its many other uses in folk medicine included the treatment of skin diseases, rheumatism, and even syphilis. No one, however, prized blue flag more than American Indians, some of whom regarded it as a virtual panacea. One of their uses for it, not adopted by the white man, was as a poultice for treating sores and bruises. Certain tribes are said to have planted blue flag near their villages to ensure a convenient supply.

Blue flag is currently used mainly to detoxify the body. Blue flag increases urination and bile production, and has a mild laxative effect. This combination of cleansing action makes it a useful herb for chronic skin diseases such as acne and eczema, especially where gallbladder problems or constipation contribute to the condition. Blue flag is also given for biliousness and indigestion. In small doses, blue flag relieves nausea and vomiting. However, in large doses blue flag will itself cause vomiting. The traditional use of blue flag for gland problems persists. Blue flag is also believed by some to aid weight loss.

Doses:Decoction: put 1/2 – 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb into a cup of water and bring to the boil. Let it simmer for 10 – 15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: take 2 – 4ml of the tincture three times a day.

Other medical uses:
Homeopathy.

Traditional Uses:
The herb is used mainly for disorders of the respiratory system, but homeopathic uses include the thyroid gland and for digestion and headaches.
It increases urination and bile production, as well as being a mild laxative. This combination makes a good cleansing agent, in combination with other herbs, for such chronic skin diseases as acne or eczema, especially where gallbladder problems or constipation contribute to the condition.

In small doses, it relieves nausea and vomiting but in large doses, blue flag will cause vomiting.

It is believed by some to aid in weight loss.

Topically, an infusion of blue flag leaves can be used to treat skin sores and burns.

Cautions:The rhizomes of blue flag can be dangerously toxic, as is indicated by one of its other names, poison flag.
*Excessive doses can cause vomiting.
*Do not take during pregnancy.
*It may cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
http://www.innvista.com/health/herbs/blueflag.htm
http://aquaplant.tamu.edu/database/emergent_plants/blue_flag.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_blue_flag.htm#blue_flag_parts

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iris_versicolor

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