Iris. Iris rhizomes

Iris. Iris rhizomes

Iris. Iris rhizomes

Specification & Spread

Iris rhizomes (violet root) — rhizomata iridis
German iris — iris germanica l.
Florentine iris — i. Florentina l.
Pale iris — i. Pallida lam.
Iris family — iridaceae

All three species are perennial herbaceous plants with a large, obliquely growing, low-branched rhizome, on the underside with numerous roots. At the top of the rhizome, 4-6 leaves are formed.
The leaves are up to 1 m tall, grey-green, dull, xiphoid, with parallel venation.
The stem has several large beautiful flowers.
The perianth is simple, corolla; the three outer leaves are folded downwards, the three inner ones are directed upwards.
Three stamens, located above the folded leaves. The ovary is lower, three-cephalic.
The fruit is a capsule.
In German iris flowers are dark purple, in Florentine iris – white, in pale iris – light purple, fragrant. Its rhizomes are similar to each other.

Spreading and habitat. All three types of irises naturally grow in the Mediterranean. For medicinal purposes and for the perfume industry are cultivated in Russia, Italy, France and several other countries.


The chemical composition of iris
The rhizomes contain: 0.1-0.2% of essential oil.
The oil at room temperature is dense; 80–90% of odorless myristic acid and 10–29% of odour carriers can be distinguished from it, among which the ketone iron is the main one.
In addition to iron, aroma gives traces of benzaldehyde, linalool, geraniol, etc. to the essential oil.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting and drying. The harvesting of rhizomes produced on plantations in the second and third year of cultivation in the autumn. The leaves are cut together with the growth part of the rhizome (it serves as planting material) and the roots. The rhizomes cut in this way are washed with running water, then it is dried in the sun.

The violet root is a dense, heavy white rhizomes, flattened above, with constrictions, often having one or two branches. From the bottom side there are numerous round dark scars from the cut off roots. On the upper convex side, roller-like thickenings and transverse rows of small dark points, which are traces of leaf veins, are visible. Freshly dug rhizomes have a grassy smell, and only with slow air drying a pleasant violet smell appears, which explains the name of the raw material.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Expectorant.

Application of iris

Iris rhizomes are part of the British herbal pharmacopoeia and the pharmacopoeia of several European countries.

In India, it is used as

  • astringent
  • laxative and
  • diuretic;

in European countries – as

  • sudorific
  • expectorant and
  • laxative.

Previously it was the part of the pectoral species. The violet root is widely used in perfumery, used to flavor tooth powders, in the confectionery industry.

Individual intolerance. With caution during pregnancy and lactation.