Blue flag has also been known as the liver lily, because its dried and powdered rhizomes were traditionally believed to be an excellent supportive for impurities of the blood and liver issues. Its many other uses in trad...
Blue flag has also been known as the liver lily, because its dried and powdered rhizomes were traditionally believed to be an excellent supportive for impurities of the blood and liver issues. Its many other uses in traditional health included supporting skin problems and joint pain. No one, however, prized blue flag more than Indians, some of whom regarded it as a virtual panacea. One of their uses for it, not adopted by the white man, was as a poultice for helping support sores and bruises. Certain tribes are said to have planted blue flag near their villages to ensure a convement supply.
The rhizomes of blue flag can be dangerously toxic, as is indicated by one of its other names, poison flag.
The rhizomes are poisonous and should not be taken internally. Blue flag when not in bloom can be mistaken for sweet flag.
A potent diuretic, cathartic, and emetic, blue flag was used to help support a wide range of disorders, including health issues of the blood and liver, skin problems, and joint pain.
General Herb Information
Named in honor of the Greek goddess of the rainbow, the many-hued irises are among the most colorful of flowers and have long been a mainstay in perennial gardens. Blue flag is one of many wild irises native to eastern North America. It was so named by early settlers because of its close resemblance to a common European species, the yellow flag, which was the model for the fleur-de-lis, the emblem of French royalty.
Habitat: Marshes, wet meadows, and banks of lakes and streams.
Range: Labrador to Manitoba, south to Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and Minnesota.
Identification: A perennial herb growing 2-3 feet high, with flattened stems; narrow, sword-shaped leaves; and thick, fleshy rhizomes. The flowers (May-July) are violet-blue, with yellow, green, or white markings on the three outer "petals" (actually showy sepals).
Uses: Nowadays the plant is popular with gardeners as a flower for brightening wet sites.
Dosage: Of the powdered root, 1 gram; of the liquid extract, 10-20 drops.
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