Blue Flag Root is from Iris versicolor which is a perennial herb with large blue flowers with yellow and white markings at the base of the sepals. It grows in wetlands in eastern and central North America and is cultivated in many other parts of the world. Its stout stem grows from a thick, cylindrical creeping rootstock (rhizome) and bears two ranks of sword-shaped long, narrow leaves. Each stem has two or three large blue or purplish flowers featuring three petal-like, spreading or recurved sepals below and three petals, smaller than the sepals, above.
Medicinal Uses of Blue Flag Root:-
It is a Laxative, cholagogue, alterative, diuretic, dermatological agent, anti-inflammatory, circulatory and lymphatic stimulant; emetic (antemetic in small doses), and cathartic.
Iris is widely used in the treatment of skin problems, especially where these are associated with bowel and liver disturbances and / or congestive circulation. For more chronic skin problems such as eczema and psoriasis, it is valuable as part of a wider treatment.
It is of benefit where there is constipation associated with liver problems or biliousness. It helps to relieves flatulence, heartburn, belching and nausea and may be used for headaches associated with digestive problems. It acts on the liver and gallbladder to increase the flow of bile.
Externally, the bruised fresh leaves may be used for burns and sores.
The fresh root can cause nausea and vomiting; small doses of the dried root are advised. It may also cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals. Some herbalist prefer tincture rather than an infusion claiming that the active constituents are not easily water soluble.
History of Blue Flag Root:-
Blue Flag Root was a common Native American remedy, and was once included in the United States Pharmacopoeia. It was used in the treatment of dropsy. In one recent study, Blue Flag was shown to reduce food intake in rats and it was claimed that this demonstrates anti-obesic properties.