Medicinal Herbs Online
HomeHerbsDis-EasesResourcesBookstoreLinksSearchBlog

Herbal Glossary | Medicinal Glossary | Herbal Preparations | Ayervedic Formulas | Chinese Formulas
Folk Remedies | Native American Formulas | Herbal Remedies | Nutritional Guidelines

Orris Root


    Scientific Names

    Orris Root
    • Iris X Germanica var. Florentina
    • Iridaceae
    • Iris family

    Common Name

    ivyFlorentine iris
    Back to Top


    Parts Usually Used

    Rootstock
    Back to Top


    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Orris root is the rootstock of the Florentine iris. It has the typical erect, basal, sword-like leaves. The flowers are white with blue veins, violet scented, the outer divisions fringed with yellow. Flowering time is from March through July.

    Plant likes full sun in deep, rich, well-drained soil. Harvest rhizomes in late autumn.

    Orris is obtained from 3 varieties of garden Iris known botanically as Iris Germanica, Iris pallida, and Iris Florentina.
    Back to Top


    Where Found

    Grows in the Mediterranean countries.
    Back to Top


    Medicinal Properties

    Diuretic, stomachic.
    Back to Top


    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Orris root is native to Asia Minor, the Balkans, and Italy.

    The dried rhizomes have been used by herbalists for many centuries. Fresh, the rhizomes have little odor, but dried, they have a sweet scent of violets. The characteristic violet odor is gradually developed during the drying process and does not attain its maximum fragrance for at least 2 years. Used years ago to keep linen, blankets, wardrobes, chests, etc., fresh and smelling sweet. Orris has been used as the main ingredient in almost all the old-fashioned face powders, foot powders, sachet powder, dental creams, violet scented soaps and cosmetics, and pot-pourri.

    Whole roots of Orris, resembling the human form, are used in voodoo performances and the powdered root is an ingredient in “love potions.”
    Back to Top


    Uses

    Orris root is used in treatment of dropsy and other water retention problems. It is also used sometimes for bronchitis, coughs, and sore throat; for colic; and for congestion in the liver. Relieves shortness of breath, resists poisoning, starts menses as a uterine stimulant, and reduces bruises if used externally.
    Back to Top


    How Sold

    Commercial production of orris root is centered in Florence, Italy.
    Back to Top


    Warning

    Do not use during pregnancy, it is a uterine stimulant.
    Back to Top

    Bibliography

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It! Culpeper's Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! Webster's New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature's Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Back to Top

Gaiam Yoga Club

Copyright © 1996-2014 Lynn DeVries, all rights reserved.