A decorative perennial plant up to 1.5 metres high, with sword-shaped leaves, a creeping fleshy rootstock and delicate, highly scented, pale blue flowers
1. The oil solidifies at room temperature to a cream-coloured mass with a woody, violet like scent and a soft, floral-fruity undertone.
2. The absolute is a water-white or pale yellow oily liquid with a delicate, sweet, floral-woody odour. 3. The resin is a brown or dark orange viscous mass with a deep, woody-sweet, tobacco-like scent - very tenacious.
4. Orris blends well with cedarwood, sandal-wood, vetiver, cypress, mimosa, labdanum, bergamot, clary sage, rose, violet and other florals
Dried Root- antidiarrhoeal, demulcent, expectorant. Fresh Root - diuretic, cathartic, emetic
In ancient Greece and Rome orris root was used extensively in perfumery, and its medicinal qualities were held in high esteem by Dioscorides. The juice of the root was used for cosmetic purposes, and the root bruised in wine was employed for dropsy, bronchitis, coughs, hoarseness, chronic diarrhoea and congested headaches. In Russia the root was used to make a tonic drink with honey and ginger.
Iris is little used medicinally these days, but it still appears in the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia as being formerly used in upper respiratory catarrh, coughs, and for diarrhoea in infants
The fresh root causes nausea and vomiting in large doses. The oil and absolute are much adulterated or synthetic - 'true' orris absolute is three times the price of jasmine