Orris

What other names is Orris known by?

Blue Flag, Daggers, Flag, Flaggon, Flag Lily, Fliggers, Florentine Iris, Gladyne, Iris, Iris d'Allemagne, Iris de Florence, Iris florentina, Iris germanica, Iris des Jardins, Iris junonia, Iris pallida, Jacob's Sword, Lirio Azul, Liver Lily, Myrtle Flower, Poison Flag, Rhizoma iridis, Segg, Sheggs, Snake Lily, Water Flag, White Dragon Flower, Wild Iris, Yellow Flag, Yellow Iris.

What is Orris?

Orris is a plant. The root is used to make medicine. Orris root is generally used in combination with other herbs and can be found in homeopathic dilutions and tea preparations.

Orris root is used for "blood-purifying," "gland-stimulating," increasing kidney activity, stimulating appetite and digestion, and increasing bile flow. It is also used for headache, toothache, muscle and joint pain, migraine, constipation, bloating, diabetes, and skin diseases.

Some people use orris root to treat bronchitis, colds, cancer, back pain caused by the sciatic nerve (sciatica), and swelling (inflammation) of the spleen. It is also used to cause vomiting, empty the bowels, and promote calmness.

Orris root is sometimes applied directly to the affected area for bad breath, nasal polyps, teething, tumors, scars, muscle and joint pain, burns, and cuts.

Historically, orris root was highly prized in the perfume industry. The root develops a pleasant violet-like scent when it dries. This scent continues to improve in storage, reaching its peak in about three years. Orris root was widely used in face powders and other cosmetics until people noticed it was causing allergic reactions. Orris root powder is still used extensively in potpourris, sachets, and pomanders. It even prolongs the scent of the other oils.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of orris for these uses.

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How does Orris work?

Orris contains many chemicals, including some that may loosen lung congestion and make it easier to cough up.

Are there safety concerns?

Orris seems to be safe for most people when taken by mouth. There are no known side effects if the root is carefully peeled and dried. However, the fresh plant juice or root can cause severe irritation of the mouth, stomach pain, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea.

There isn't enough information to know if orris might be safe when applied directly to the skin. However, the fresh plant juice or root can cause severe skin irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of orris during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Dosing considerations for Orris.

The appropriate dose of orris depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for orris. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

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Last Editorial Review: 3/29/2011