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Blue Flag

Uses

Common names:
Fleur-de-Lis
Botanical names:
Iris versicolor

Parts Used & Where Grown

The rhizome, or underground stem, of the blue flag (indicating its showy blue flowers) is used medicinally. Blue flag and closely related species (particularly Iris missouriensis, western blue flag) grow across North America.

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Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Impetigo (Blue Flag Topical)
Refer to label instructions
Some herbalists recommend topical application of fresh, sliced rhizomes (the underground stem of the blue flag) to the sores of impetigo, the common bacterial skin infection.
Topical application of fresh, sliced rhizomes to the sores of impetigo (a common bacterial skin infection in children) has been recommended by herbalists.3

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Based on Native American traditions, Eclectic physicians (19th century doctors who relied on herbs) and herbalists used blue flag for a number of conditions. Of note was its use as a nonspecific immune enhancer, as a laxative, and to detoxify the intestinal tract.1 Topical application of fresh, sliced rhizomes to the sores of impetigo (a common bacterial skin infection in children) has been recommended by herbalists.2 Traditional herbalists have used blue flag to treat poor digestion characterized by fat malabsorption.

How It Works

Common names:
Fleur-de-Lis
Botanical names:
Iris versicolor

How It Works

The resinous fraction of blue flag contains numerous phenolic glycosides. Traditional herbal texts suggest these constituents stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, leading to production of bile, saliva, and sweat.4 However, modern clinical trials have not confirmed these effects for blue flag.

How to Use It

Herbalists sometimes recommend up to 10 drops of tincture of the dried rhizome be taken three times per day.5 The tea form is unlikely to be effective, since the active compounds in blue flag are not water soluble.

Interactions

Common names:
Fleur-de-Lis
Botanical names:
Iris versicolor

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Common names:
Fleur-de-Lis
Botanical names:
Iris versicolor

Side Effects

Blue flag can cause nausea, vomiting, and loose stools if too much is taken.6 People should not exceed the recommended amounts. Fresh rhizome should only be applied topically and never taken internally, since it can irritate the mouth7 and is much more likely to cause nausea and diarrhea. Blue flag should only be taken on the advice of a physician or herbalist trained in its use. Blue flag is unsafe for use during pregnancy or breast-feeding. People should not give blue flag to children.

References

1. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 11th ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 312–3.

2. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Sante Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979, 39–40.

3. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Sante Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979, 39–40.

4. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Sante Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979, 39–40.

5. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 11th ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 312–3.

6. Ellingwood F. American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy, 11th ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1919, 1998, 312–3.

7. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A (eds). American Herbal Product Association’s Herbal Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, 64.

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