Orris Root


Orris Root (Iris pallida)


Orris Root absolute essential oil is extracted from the Iris pallida plant, also known as Iris Germanic, Iris Florentine and Iris pallid, Iris, and Flag Iris - a decorative perennial plant up to 1.5 meter high, with sword-shaped leaves a creeping fleshy rootstock and delicate, highly scented flowers, and grown principally in Mediterranean, India, North Africa and different parts of southern Europe. Orris root is important in western herbal medicine, pharmaceutics, cosmetics, and used mainly as a fixative and base note in perfumery and potpourri, as well as an ingredient in many brands of gin (perhaps most famously in Bombay Sapphire gin). Orris root must generally be hung and aged for 5 years before it can be used for perfumery.

The extraction process to obtain Orris Root oil is very slow and time taking. A tone or roots of Orris can produce just two kg of oil making it a highly expensive product, yet having a beautiful flowery violet-like fragrance. Orris Root oil tends to separate making it a bit hard to work with. It blends best with fixed oils and works excellently in solid perfumes.

Orris root has been used commercially in tooth powders, toothpastes and snuff because of its pleasant smell and the ability to fight bad breath.

Orris Root is considered to have a positive effect on the moisture content and elasticity of the skin. Mildly refreshing and astringent, it regulates moisture exchange in the skin which helps the skin to rid itself of toxins.

It is believed that Orris root can be used to find and hold love. The whole Orris root is carried around, and the powder is added to sachets, sprinkled on sheets, clothing and the body, and around the house.

The Orris roots are also used in tinctures and flavoring the syrups. In ancient Greece and Rome Orris root extensively in perfumery and its medicinal qualities were held in high esteem by Discords. The juice of root was used for cosmetic purposes and the root bruised in wine as employed for dropsy, bronchitis, coughs, hoarseness, chronic diarrhea and congested headaches. In Russia the root was used to make a tonic drink with honey and ginger.

Root powder is used in perfumary, potpourris and sachets, and for scenting and flavoring. Its scent is similar to violet. It is included in a variety of cosmetic formulas. The volatile otto of orris is a favorite scent fixative. The fresh root juice has been used to remove skin discolorations and freckles. The root yields a black dye. The flower yields a blue dye. The seeds are used as beads.

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 diarrhea in infants.

Disclaimer: The information presented herein  is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

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