Iris versicolor. Blue flag. N.O. Iridaceae. Tincture of the fresh root collected in early spring or autumn. Trituration of the resinoid Iridin.
IRIDIN is the same as extractum iridis and is the powdered resin obtained by extraction of the root of iris versicolor. It is a dark brown, bitter, nauseous powder, and is an indirect cholagogue. “As it rarely gripes it may be given when it is required to use a cholagogue purgative daily for some time.” (Hale-White.)
Iris acts powerfully on the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane, irritating without inflaming it, and excites the secretion of the salivary, pancreatic and intestinal glands.
Of the green root caused, on account of its acridity, great irritation of the mucous membranes with which it came in contact. The mouth and tongue felt as if they had been scalded, profuse salivation was set up and lachrymation was caused by sympathetic, reflex irritation. The mouth and stomach felt on fire, swallowing was difficult and seemed to be obstructed by spasm of the oesophagus and the patient could hardly breathe on account of the acridity. Great burning distress was immediately felt in the epigastrium, which made the prover (Dr. Burt) very restless so that he could not keep still a moment and was very much frightened, feeling that he could not live. Drinking cold water had no alleviating effect on the burning in the mouth, throat and stomach. Saliva flowed profusely all day. Frequent eructations of tasteless gas occurred and vomiting of sour fluid that excoriated the throat. Rumbling and colicky pain were present in the abdomen, principally in the umbilical region, and very urgent, copious discharges from the bowels took place, which could not be retained for a moment without much pain. The anus felt sore, as if sharp points were sticking into it. The stools were frequently repeated and were accompanied with great rumbling in the bowels and some tenesmus in the rectum, which later became severe straining with passage of water and mucus or blood and mucus. Prolapse of the mucous membrane of the rectum and much smarting occurred. The prover became exhausted and could hardly walk, the eyes were sunken, the voice hoarse and the teeth felt sore and too long. The urine, which at first was copious and clear, became scanty, of blood-red colour and disagreeable odour and caused burning in its passage. A dull, heavy, frontal headache and occasionally shooting pains through the temples completed the picture.
Provings of the tincture and the oleo-resin produced the same symptoms,except that the local symptoms in the mouth and the burning in the stomach and intestines were less intense.
Digestive Tract.-The lips were dry and cracked, the taste was flat, with a sensation as if the mouth and tongue had a greasy coating, In one prover the rugae of the palate felt raw and as if a loose skin were hanging from the palate. There was dull, aching pain in the back upper and lower molars, which felt sore and elongated, also heartburn and empty eructations of an enormous amount of air, which came up with great force, and a feeling like sea-sickness with faintness. The stools were soft, papescent, greenish-black, and there was burning pain in the anus. Constipation occurred in some provers.
Head.-Hammering pain was left in the right parietal region, which was at first aggravated by motion, but became less with continued motion till it abated, to return again when at rest.
Back and Limbs.-Rheumatic pains of severe, tearing character occurred in various parts, all worse on movement, the chief seats being the right shoulder and arm, the hips and the knees. One prover (Dr. Conrad Wesselhoeft) had a persistent pain along the course of the left sciatic nerve which caused lameness so that he could not walk without limping, it shot from behind the left trochanter down the posterior part of the thigh into the foot on every motion,particularly when walking. Violent exertion, such as running or jumping, did not increase the pain, and it went away at night. The same prover had violent tearing in the loins on rising, which made it impossible for him to straighten the body for some moments, and he also had neuralgic twinges in the hip- joint, as if it were wrenched, which pain was followed by a burning ache.
Respiration.-Other symptoms occurring in provers were rattling of mucus in the chest that could not be raised, tickling under the upper sternum and a dry cough which was distressing, because nothing could be expectorated although mucus rattled lower down. Soreness of the larynx and chest accompanied the cough. Cramping pains were felt on the left side under the ribs.
Circulation.-The pulse was frequent and feeble and the mind depressed and ill-humoured.
Skin.-Small vesicles appeared on the right wrist, pimples like mosquito bites on the lower extremities and other parts and pustular eruptions on the scalp, cheeks and around the nose and mouth.
Fever, &c.-Heat was followed by chill, with cold hands and feet, and sweat occurred over the whole body, especially in the groins.
Sleep.-All provers were chilly and sleepy, but sleep was disturbed by the most frightful dreams, of hanging, corpses, snakes, and by amorous dreams with emissions.
Digestion.-As would be inferred from the above symptoms experienced by the provers, iris has found its principal application in the treatment of acute attacks of vomiting and diarrhoea, and in headaches associated with these conditions. Thus it is very useful in gastric and bilious derangements, especially when they are accompanied by nausea and dull, frontal headache, for hepatic disorders with vomiting of bile, soreness over the liver, yellow eyes and skin and headache. Cases of cholera nostras are much benefited by it, the indication being the profuse watery stools, and cholera infantum may require it. In high dilutions it has proved an excellent remedy for constipation, even of the most obstinate kind.
Nausea arising from “biliousness” or pregnancy, and sick headache invariably brought on by eating anything sweet are conditions suitable for the administration of iris.
Head.-Besides the dull, frontal headache associated with gastric and hepatic derangements, iris is a valuable remedy for neuralgic headaches and migraine, especially for hemicrania on the right side when it begins with a blurring of vision. The paroxysms are attended with watery vomiting, and the pain is suited in the right side of the forehead and involves the supra- orbital, infra-orbital and dental nerves. The brain feels stupid and the pain in stunning. Soreness if left where the neuralgia has been. Copious discharge of watery urine is a concomitant of the headache and there may be stools with burning at the anus. Sometimes the headache is preceded by a period of overwhelming sleepiness. The cure of a case of diabetes is recorded in which there was the association of right supra-orbital pain, dull mental faculties and pain in the region of the pancreas.
Sciatica.-Dr. Wesselhoeft’s experience of pain about the hips and in the left sciatic nerve has been utilized in the cure of some cases of left-sided sciatica, the modality and the fact that it is not increased pari passu with violence in movement must be present to indicate the remedy.
Skin.-Cases of herpes zoster, eczema capitis, impetigo and psoriasis, if the general symptoms are present, are curable with iris.
The complaints for which iris is suitable often have a certain amount of periodicity, such as recurring every spring and autumn, or the diarrhoea and colic may recur at 2 or 3 a.m. Symptoms are apt to commence suddenly.
(1) Vomiting and diarrhoea, with much burning along the whole alimentary tract.
(2) Profuse secretions from salivary, pancreatic and intestinal glands.
(3) Sick-headaches, commencing with a blur before the eyes.
(4) Right-sided neuralgic headaches, commencing with blurred vision and accompanied by copious watery urine.
(5) Constipation (high dilutions).
From rest (headache), motion (abdominal, joints and sciatic pain), warm room (toothache), cold air (headache and nausea), rising (loins), sweet things.
From bending forwards (colic), moderate motion (headache), open air (headache).