Iris. Iris versicolor.

Botanical name: 

Synonym—Blue Flag.

Acrid resinous matter, tannin, gum, starch.
Oleoresina Iridis, Oleoresin of Iris. Dose, one to five grains.
Extractum Iridis Fluidum, Fluid Extract of Iris. Dose, five to sixty minims.
Specific Medicine Iris. Dose, one-fourth to five minims.

Physiological ActionIris Versicolor has a bitter, nauseous, and rather acrid taste, and in full doses is apt to cause emesis. Recent experiments have demonstrated that preparations of the fresh root or the oleo-resin possess active, purgative and diuretic qualities, and under its influence there are increased secretion and elimination of bile, its cholagogue powers having been abundantly demonstrated. It also directly stimulates the entire glandular system-the lymphatics and the skin.

It promotes waste, and elimination of effete material from the blood.

Specific Symptomatology—This agent will prove serviceable when the stools are clay-colored, the urine scanty and the skin inactive and jaundiced. In small doses it is indicated in irritable conditions of the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, with altered secretion. This condition is characterized by a neuralgic pain over one eye, or involving one side of the face, usually the right side; nausea or vomiting of an acid liquid, with burning and distress in the esophagus or stomach; gastralgia and gastrodynia, with vomiting or regurgitation of food, especially after the eating of fats or rich pastry; diarrhea, with a burning sensation after the passage; cholera morbus, with violent pain around the umbilicus, or in the lower part of the abdomen, and watery diarrhea with great depression.

Therapy—The oleo-resin has been very successfully employed in hepatic jaundice, arising intestinal disorders, and the consequent dropsy. Chronic jaundice, arising from duodenal catarrh and obstruction of the biliary ducts, should be treated with Iris. It is said that malarial jaundice (so-called) may be cured by this drug alone, and that it exerts a favorable influence in bilious remittent fevers and chronic ague. This agent is directly indicated in that condition of the stomach which induces sick headache. It not only ameliorates the attack, but assists in the removal of the cause and in breaking up the tendency to recurrence of the condition.

This agent is employed in the treatment of syphilitic and strumous affections. In the treatment of syphilis this agent is a very useful remedy in those cases in which the glandular organs are inactive. Here the effects of Iris are strikingly conspicuous from the first. It will be found an excellent auxiliary also to the influence of other well known alteratives. It has also been largely employed in the successful treatment of many affections of the skin. Kinnett recommends it strongly in psoriasis.

In the treatment of certain cases of eczema of a persistent chronic character, as well as of other pustular and open ulcerating or oozing skin diseases, this agent, in from five to ten drop doses every two or three hours, will be found most useful. It may be diluted and applied externally also. Prurigo, crustalactea, and tinea yield readily to its influence at times.

It is a favorite remedy in the treatment of enlargement of the thyroid and other glandular affections. In recent cases of goiter, iris is used to good advantage. With many, if used in the form of a recent preparation, it is believed to be specific.

Dr. H. P. Whitford gave iris and hyoscyamus with a very small dose of podophyllin for headaches in the back part of the head.

Dr. Laws reports the use of iris in a bad case of eczema where the attacks lasted six months, each worse than the previous one. The disease would begin at the ankle, finally cover the entire body. The itching was intolerable. He used the remedy both internally and externally with excellent results. Dr. Kinnett confirms these statements.

Both have great confidence in it in the treatment of goiter, and in the treatment of syphilis where they do not expect to have to use the iodides with it. They push it to a mild cathartic effect so that it will keep the bowels free.

The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 1919, was written by Finley Ellingwood, M.D.
It was scanned by Michael Moore for the Southwest School of Botanical Medicine.