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OT: Chalgrove Lake

To: Bill Shear <bills@tiger.hsc.edu>

If I were a beaver I would not eat I. pseudacorus either because:

The Yellow Flag rhizome was formerly much employed as a medicine, acting
as a very powerful cathartic, but from its extremely acrid nature is now
seldom used. An infusion of it has been found to be effective in
checking diarrhoea, and it is reputed of value in dysmenorrhoea and

It was formerly held in the highest esteem, the juice of the root being
considered a cure for obstinate coughs, 'evil spleens,' convulsions,
dropsies and serpents' bites, and as Gerard also says, 'doth mightilie
and vehementlie draw forth choler.' Gerard
recommended it as a cosmetic, saying: 'The root, boiled soft, with a few
drops of rosewater upon it, laid plaisterwise upon the face of man or
woman, doth in two daies at the most take away the blacknesse and
blewnesse of any stroke or bruise,'though he adds as a warning that if
the skin 'be very tender and delicate, it shall be needful that ye lay a
piece of silke, sindall or a piece of fine lawne betweene the plaister
and the skinne for otherwise in such tender bodies it often causeth heat
and inflammation.' 

He recommends: 'an oil made of the roots and flowers of the Iris, made
in the same way as oil of roses and lilies. It is used to rub in the
sinews and joints to strengthen them, and is good for cramp.' 

The acrid juice snuffed up the nostrils excites violent sneezing, and on
the authority of Dr. Thornton, 'in this way it has cured complaints of
the head of long standing in a marvellous way.' The root powdered was
also used as snuff. 

The old authorities praised it as a cure for toothache, a slice of the
rhizome rubbed against the aching tooth or held in the mouth between the
teeth, being supposed to cause the pain to disappear at once. 

The root was also an ingredient in an antidote to poison. Withering
(Arrangement of Plants) mentions it as having cured swine bitten by a
mad dog. 

Culpepper (1652) says that the distilled water of the whole herb is a
sovereign remedy for weak eyes, either applied on a wet bandage, or
dropped into the eye, and that an ointment made of the flowers is very
good for ulcers or swellings. 

[Excerpt from http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/i/iripse09.html]

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