Calamus, Acorus Calamus (Ayurvedic Medicinal Plant)


Latin name:  Acorus calamus

English name: Calamus, Sweet-flag, Sweet Root, and Bach

Sanskrit name: Bhadra, Gulami

Indian name: Bach, Gorabach

Medicinal parts used: Dried Rhizome

Calamus is a tall plant found in streams, marshes, and on the edges of ponds in North America, Europe, and Asia. Its fragrant, swordlike leaves have been a folk medicine staple for many years. Often used by natives in low doses as a stimulant or tonic because of its energizing properties. The main active ingredient in calamus is a substance called cone, chemically related to mescaline and amphetamines but with significant differences. The drug provides users with an “up” feeling, but, unlike the tense up of amphetamines, the calamus trip produces a feeling of relaxation.

Therapeutic use:

  • In Ayurvedic, it is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders.
  • The root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, and febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge.
  • It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc.
  • In small doses it reduces stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions and it is, therefore, recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa.
  • Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia.
  • An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion whilst chewing the root alleviates toothache.
  • It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc.


Caution is advised on the use of this root, especially in the form of the distilled essential oil, since large doses can cause mild hallucinations.


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