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Blue Flag Root

Veterinarian Reviewed on June 15, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Blue Flag Root


Blue Flag (Iris versicolor) is also called Harlequin Blueflag, Dragon Lily, Poison Flag, Northern Blue Flag and also Larger Blue Flag. It is an herb that can grow up to 80 cm in height and blooms during the months of May to July every year. The leaves of the Blue Flag are folded and the flowers may be colored from blue to deep blue. It is native to North America and is also cultivated in many places around the world.

The Blue Flag is the flower of the province of Quebec in Canada. The Blue Flag root is just one of the many parts of the Blue Flag herb that is used in medicinal purposes. It contains iridin, a glycoside that is beneficial in the treatment of liver problems and also to expel intestinal parasites.

History and Origin

The Blue Flag’s name is derived from the beautiful and colorful blue petals that the flower has. Although it may also be seen in other prominent colors, the bluish variety seems to be the most admired making it the provincial flower of Quebec. It has been noted in the U.S. Pharmacopoeia regarding the many medicinal purposes that this herb has.

Ancient Uses

The Blue Flag root, along with the other parts of the Blue Flag herb, was used during the ancient times as a poultice effective for the treatment of cuts, wounds and burns. The Native American tribes were the first to use the Blue Flag root in herbal preparations. The Blue Flag root was either used fresh or dried and applied directly onto the part affected.

Modern Uses

During modern times, the Blue Flag root is used to treat diseases of the liver due to its rich source of iridin. It not only treats illnesses of the liver but also improves liver action and the secretions of bile. Blue Flag root taken as tea can be an effective laxative, diuretic and as an emetic.

The Blue Flag root is also effective as a topical medicine; it can reduce inflammation of the skin and may decrease the symptoms of skin infections. It is also great in treating burns, bruises and wounds.

Research in the effectiveness of Blue Flag root has also led to the conclusion that it is effective in the treatment of chronic rheumatism and also in reducing the size of non malignant tumors. It is also a blood cleanser and can benefit the lymphatic system as well.

Side Effects

Blue Flag root supplements and preparations are not intended for use by pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. It is also not recommended for use with very young children. Fresh Blue Flag root can cause nausea, vomiting and severe cases of diarrhea, so trust a reputable herbal medicine dealer when taking Blue Flag root supplements.
Your doctor or herbalist can advise the ideal dosage that you should take, and can also advice you of any adverse effects of Blue Flag root with any of the current medications that you may be taking. Always follow the correct dosage and package instructions to get all the benefits of Blue Flag root extracts and dietary supplements.

Read also: Schisandra Berry

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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