Orris is a plant. The root is used to make medicine. Orris root is generally used in combination with other herbs and can be found in homeopathic dilutions and tea preparations.
Orris root is used for “blood-purifying,” “gland-stimulating,” increasing kidney activity, stimulating appetite and digestion, and increasing bile flow. It is also used for headache, toothache, muscle and joint pain, migraine, constipation, bloating, diabetes, and skin diseases.
Some people use orris root to treat bronchitis, colds, cancer, back pain caused by the sciatic nerve (sciatica), and swelling (inflammation) of the spleen. It is also used to cause vomiting, empty the bowels, and promote calmness.
Orris root is sometimes applied directly to the affected area for bad breath, nasal polyps, teething, tumors, scars, muscle and joint pain, burns, and cuts.
Historically, orris root was highly prized in the perfume industry. The root develops a pleasant violet-like scent when it dries. This scent continues to improve in storage, reaching its peak in about three years. Orris root was widely used in face powders and other cosmetics until people noticed it was causing allergic reactions. Orris root powder is still used extensively in potpourris, sachets, and pomanders. It even prolongs the scent of the other oils.