spice shop 07

Iris Root

Iris pallida

iris root - cut

Aromatic Note: Middle / Heart note


The use of this dried root was recorded in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.

The genus is vast and consists of some 300 species of perennials. Most species are now cultivated for their medicinal and perfumery properties.

In Greek mythology, Iris, the goddess of the rainbow and messenger of the gods, escorts the dying along the road into “The Land of Everlasting Peace.” The Greeks used the fragrance of Iris to make the journey into the next world easier.


Family: Iridaceae

Synonyms: Orris root, Dalmatian Iris

Origin: Eastern Mediterranean

Parts Used: dried rhizomes (roots)

Aroma Description: warm, sweet, floral, violet-like aroma with fruity and woody undertones

Cosmetic Uses: treasured fixative in perfumery, widely used in potpourris, etc.

Culinary Uses: added to dental preparations, breath fresheners, and dusting powders. Oil is used to flavor gin, soft drinks and chewing gum. The rhizomes are sometimes included in the N. African spice mixture, ras el hanout.

Warning: All parts of the species are harmful if eaten. Is also a skin irritant and allergen.

Medicinal Attributes: diuretic and expectorant properties. Used to treat coughs mucus and diarrhea, also for wounds

Essential Oil: Yes, a valued fixative in perfumery and potpourris. A Concrete is made by steam distillation, known as Orris Butter or Orris Concrete. An Orris Absolute is made by washing the Concrete in ethyl ether. A resinoid is also made using solvent or alcohol extraction. Very expensive, pure natural oils are rare and often replaced with synthetic oils.

Mixes Well With: borneol camphor, cassia, catnip, cedar, cinnamon, guggul, labdanum, lavender, myrrh, opoponax, palo santo wood, patchouli, rose, saffron, sandalwood, star anise, turmeric, vetiver, orange peel, etc.

Medical Disclaimer: Information on this web site is for entertainment purposes only. This information is NOT intended as medical advice, or for use as diagnosis or treatment of a health problem, or as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical professional.


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