The medicinal part is the rhizome after the removal of all other material.
Flower and Fruit
Green flowers, like small dice, form a tightly packed, slim, conical spadix. The plant doesn't bear fruit and propagates from the rhizome.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
The plant grows from 60 to 100 cm tall. The stem is triangular and sprouts from a horizontal, round rootstock, which has the thickness of a thumb. The upper shoot forms a grooved flower sheath. The leaves are oblong, sword-shaped, and arranged in two rows. The leaves have no stems.
The rhizome has an intensely aromatic fragrance and a tangy, pungent and bitter taste. The leaves often undulate on the margins.
Today Calamus is found all over the world. It probably originated in India and North America.
Calamus rootstock is the dried, coarsely ground and mostly peeled, rootstock of Acorus calamus. Calamus oil is extracted from the same plant.
Sweet Flag, Sweet Sedge, Grass Myrtle, Myrtle Flag, Sweet Grass, Sweet Myrtle, Sweet Rush, Sweet Root, Sweet Cane, Gladdon, Myrtle Sedge, Cinnamon Sedge
Actions & Pharmacology
Volatile oil: chief constituents are heavily dependent upon the chemical strain (di-, tri-, tetraploid); beta-asarone (cis-isoasarone), alpha- and gamma-asarone, beta- gurjuns, acorone (bitter), ZZ-Deca-4,7-dienal (odor-determining)
In vitro, the essential oil (main constituent—cis-isoaron) blocks the aggregation of human blood platelets, influences glucose transport, and has a vermicidal and insecticidal effect. In animal experiments it had a spasmolytic effect, a possible CNS effect (sedative, anti-aggressive, reduction of spontaneous activity), and caused a reduction in the ulcer index. Its use as a stomachic seems plausible because of the amaroid content and the spasmolytic effect of the essential oil. Externally, it has a hyperemic effect.
Indications & Usage
The drug is used in the form of teas, for dyspeptic disorders, gastritis and ulcers. It is used externally for rheumatism, gum disease and tonsillitis.
Calamus is used for dyspeptic complaints, worms, pain syndrome and toothache.
Acorus calamus stimulates peptic juices for disorders of the gastrointestinal tract. It is used externally for fungal infections.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages. Long-term use of this drug should be avoided. Malignant tumors appeared in rats that received Indian Calmus oils over an extended period (tetraploid strain, over 80% β-asarone in volatile oil).
Mode of Administration
Calamus preparations are for internal and external use. Preparations are used as a bitter, stomachic, carminative, digestant, sedative, rubefacient, balneotherapeutic, and corrigent. Calamus is available in tea mixtures, as an oil or extract and as a bath oil.
Steep with hot water to make a tea. For use in a bath, add 250 to 500 g of the drug to the bath water.
Store for a maximum of 18 months. If in powder form, however, do not keep for more than 24 hours.