The health benefits of this herb were quite renowned in eons past. The anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties of the orris root were the main reasons for its role in the annals of ancient Western medicine. However, the orris root is currently more used in the areas of perfumery and culinary arts than in the fields of healing and medicine.
The orris root comes from the rhizome of the Florentine iris, a plant grown primarily for its decorative blooms. The iris plant is an attractive perennial plant that is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and also grows in northern India, North Africa and southern Europe. It possesses bluish-green leaves that are narrow, flat and sword-like. The flower stems of the plant may reach up to 3 feet in height. They bear white flowers.
The orris root was used extensively in perfumes in ancient Greece and Rome while its medicinal and healing properties have been noted by such notable figures as Theophrastus, Dioscorides and Pliny. During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the orris root was extensively used in cuisines of the Mediterranean and European regions but its main use was still that of a fragrance ingredient. The powder of the orris root possesses a violet-like aroma. It has a floral flavor and has a bitter taste.
The active constituencies of the orris root are starch, myristic acid, iridin, and several anti-inflammatory flavonoids and isoflavone glycosides.
The following are the health benefits attributed to orris tea:
- Said to be effective in the treatment of the common cold.
- May also have strong expectorant properties that help in treating coughs.
- May be helpful in treating sore throat.
- Has been traditionally used to treat congestive heart failure.
- May help in detoxifying and cleansing the system.