The Herbs, Roots, and Bark Library

Herbs beginning with the letter I

a wild Iris a close up of the flower

Iris (Iridaceae Species, also called Flag Lily, Poison Flag, Water Flag, Fleur-de-Lis, Flower-de-Luce, Liver lily, and Blue Flag) was named in honor of the Greek goddess of the rainbow. One the duties of the Goddess Iris was that of leading the souls of dead women to the Elysian Fields. In token of that faith the Greeks planted purple Iris on the graves of women. Iris was the messenger of the gods and the personification of the Rainbow. Also known as Fleur-de-lis, the Iris was the symbol on the banner of France for hundreds of years. (Revolutionaries in 1789 set out to totally obliterate it because it symbolized the hated monarchy) In Germany orris root (which is made from Iris) was suspended in beer barrels to keep the beer from going stale, and in France it was hung in wine casks to enrich the bouquet of the wine. In England orris root was used to give the peculiar flavor to artificial brandies made there. In Russia, orris root flavored a soft drink that was made with honey and ginger. Members of this moderately large plant family number 800 species in 60 genera, and come in many colors.

Magickal Uses:

Iris is an herb of protection and a funeral herb. The diety Iris guides souls between the worlds, conducting them to the Otherworld. As such, this herb may be used in rituals of death and dying to bring peace to the beloved. Associated with the rainbow, it represents a belief in a happy reincarnation. The Iris' strong association with goddesses has led to the custom of planting beds of this flower upon graves of women or as memorials in their honor. Symbolizing faith, wisdom, and valor, herbal preparations of the Iris can be used to consecrate a ritual wand. The root may be sliced and dried, with pieces added to amulets. The promise of the Iris lends itself to rituals designed for baby blessings.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Because there are so many members of the Iridaceae family, I will only address Iris Versicolor in this section. (Versicolor is also called Blue Flag) First let me preface all this by saying: The rhizome is potentially toxic, and should only be used in prescribed dosages under the care of a knowledgeable health care practitioner. The fresh leaves are used externally for burns and sores, but the main medicinal part of the plant is the rootstock (rhizome). The rhizome contains starch, gum, tannin, volatile oil, 25% acrid, isophtalic acid, and traces of salicylic acid. It has diuretic and aperient properties, and it is thought it might be hepatic stimulant. The Native Americans used the root for dropsy, as a cathartic, and an emetic. It is also used for chronic hepatic and intestinal disorders, chronic jaundice, bilious remittent fevers, and conditions of the stomach that induce sick headaches. Iris is used for the treatment of skin diseases, apparently aiding the skin by working through the liver. **WC** The plant juice can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals.

Irish Moss-
Irish Moss-Pic Coming....

Irish Moss (Chondrus Crispus, also called Carragheen Moss and Carraigín) is a seaweed found on rocks, in pools, and in lower intertidal and shallow subtidal waters. The colloquial English name "Carrageen" was introduced in Ireland about 1840 and is likely to have been taken from Carrigeen Head in County Donegal; however, "Carragheen" or "Carrigeen" is an exceedingly common placename in Ireland. The Irish word "Carraigín" is the dimunitive of rock.

Magickal Uses:

Irish Moss is an excellent luck herb, and its good for protection and money drawing. It can be added to sachets, charms or Mojo bags to bring finance and fortune. Add Irish Moss to your luck oil to increase its strength. Many carry this herb for protection when taking trips. Irish Moss is an excellent gamblers herb.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Irish Moss contains Vitamins A, D, E, F, K, Iodine, Calcium, and Sodium. Its known to contain 15 of 18 elements composing the human body. It is used in digestive conditions where a demulcent is called for, such as gastritis and ulceration of the stomach and duodenum. The soothing activity is also seen in inflammations of the urinary system. It has been used as a demulcent, emollient, and a nutritive. Recent research on Irish Moss has shown an anti-viral property against the influenza B and the mumps viruses. Irish Moss is a source of carrageenan (primarily a thickening agent), and used to make soups, jellies, and other foods. In Ireland its used as a remedy for respiratory disorders.

Ivy makes a beautiful landscape plant Ivy in Bloom
Ivy (Hedera Helix) is a prominent plant in legend and lore. It is associated with the god Bacchus (and hence with many tavern signs *grin*). Ivy was highly respected by the Ancient Greeks who wove it into crowns worn to celebrate victory. Its tenacity and ability to survive most climates possibly led to its reputation as an herb symbolic of fidelity and valor.

Magickal Uses:

Ivy is an herb of love, immortality, and consecration. It's invocatory can be Atys, Bacchus, Cybele, Dionysus, or Osiris. Ivy may be woven into wreaths and included in floral arrangements when one is decorating for the union of a couple. Ivy is associated with the suit of Pentacles, as well as this ritual tool. Wreaths of Ivy may be worn for Beltane Eve. Ivy's association with many of the sabbats is worthy of attention. Not only is Ivy used at Yule and Beltane, Farrar refers to Doreen Valiente's description of using Ivy at Candlemas.

Medicinal and Other Uses:

Ivy is used by some practitioners to treat cancer, rheumatism, ammenorrhea, swelling, tumors, lymphatic tumors, chronic catarrh, and candida infections. **WC** Caution: Ivy is considered to have toxic properties.

The Js Are Next...

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A Compendium of Herbal Magick by Paul Beyerl

A Modern Herbal by Maud Grieve (Vol 1 & 2)

Magickal Herbalism by Scott Cunningham

Edible Wild Plants by Thomas S. Elias & Peter A. Dykeman

Indian Herbalogy by Alma R. Hutchens

Sacred Plant Medicine by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Coyote Medicine by Lewis Mehl-Madrona, M.D.

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants by "Wildman" Steve Brill

The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman

The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody

Cunningham's Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

Magic and Medicine of Plants by Inge N. Dobelis

Information given on this site is not intended to be taken as a replacement for medical advice. Any person with a condition requiring medical attention should consult a medical doctor. This information is given as reference only.