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Blue flag, a member of the iris family, is found throughout North America. It was widely used by Native Americans for digestive problems. In the nineteenth century, physicians of the Eclectic school of medicine also used blue flag for digestive problems, as well as to treat thyroid enlargement, enhance immunity, stimulate the liver, and “detoxify” the body. 1 A topical preparation of the herb was used for impetigo (a skin infection caused by Streptococcusbacteria). The rhizome (underground stem) is the part used medicinally.
Blue flag has undergone no meaningful scientific study. In view of the lack of documented benefits, the absence of toxicity studies, the toxicity of related species, and the known side effects, we recommend against the use of this herb.
A typical dosage is 1–2 grams three times daily.
- Felter, HW. Iris. The Eclectic Materia Medica , Pharmacology and Therapeutics. Available at: http://www.ibiblio.org/herbmed/eclectic/felter/iris.html. Accessed June 12, 2005.