Orris root powder is used as a fixative for drying flowers and scented leaves after they’re picked.
It comes from a plant in the iris family and contains a substance called myrstic acid, which I assume fixes aromas. It is known commonly as blue flag and can take up to 5 years to dry, depending on the use.
It has been used as a herbal remedy, but now it is more commonly known to be used in our new trend of Gin Making. It seems that many customers are coming up looking for Juniper Berries, aniseed, star anise, elderflower, dried roses…all to flavour their latest batch of homemade gin.
Let’s face it, good gin is expensive to buy, so I’ve been told.
How does it work? In practice, you gather your flowers just before they flower – after a period of sun when their aromas and sweet nectaries are at their peak. You then dry the flowers and any aromatic leaves on a mesh or screen made from fine, thin material.
When dry, add the requisite amount of orris root powder in a large bowl or large bag, and shake well.
This improves the lastability of something natural and beautiful that you can have around the house.
If flavours do start to fade, you can put your potpourri blend in a large, seal-able box or bag, and place cotton buds infused with your favourite aromatherapy oils which will slowly infuse leaves and flowers with that scent.
This is a great page from Dabney Herbs over there in the States.
If you do make your own perfumes, why not try growing your own Iris ‘Florentina’. After getting a decent crop and drying it for 5 years, time in which the heady, woody and lily scents intensify, you’ll be able to blend perfumes that will probably the best in the world!