Also known as:
Acorus calamus, Sweet Flag, Cinnamon Sedge, Sweet Myrtle, Acorus, and Sweet Rush.
The sharp-edged calamus is a perennial semi-aquatic plant that grows in marshes and on muddy banks of streams. Although experts usually say the plant may have been used in herbal medicine as long as 4,000 years ago, the first mention of the plant as a medicine is in the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica, a Chinese medical text dating even earlier, to about 2837 BCE. The traditional use of calamus was to "open the orifices" to allow the inner spirit to reach out to the world. Chinese physicians of antiquity reported that calamus "vaporized phlegm," but the word they used refers to not just physical phlegm but also the "residues" of difficult emotions. Calamus was also employed to treat winter-time joint pain, wounds, and sores. In the United States and Canada, calamus was used to make calamine lotion, used to relieve skin inflammation of all origins. It was considered a sacred incense by both the Sumerians and the Egyptians. Calamus was planted by Native Americans along migratory paths so that it could be harvested at later times. It was normally used as an antiseptic for toothaches and headaches. It was also used as an attractant for muskrats, who voraciously ate the root, even collecting it for future consumption in their nests. Native Americans planted it on the edge of villages so they could trap the muskrats when they came for the root.
Bitters, asarone, calamene and related chemicals, eugenol and related chemicals.
The rhizome, dried and chopped or ground.
Traditionally used as a tea. The varieties of calamus available in the United States and Canada are best used as bath additives, gargles, lotions, or washes, unless they are used in combination with other herbs in Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine. In Chinese medicine, calamus is used with platycodon to treat laryngitis, turmeric to treat deafness, magnolia to treat any kind of chest congestion, and mixed with lychii fruit and chrysanthemum flowers to make a tea to be soled for use as an eyewash. Seldom found as a capsule or extract.
Walt Whitman wrote 39 poems for Calamus in his famous work Leaves of Grass. Ayurvedic medicine uses it as a rejuvenator of the brain and nervous system, as well as a remedy for digestive disorders. Varieties of calamus traded in the United States (and all the varieties of calamus permitted for import by Health Canada) are most effective when used externally. In the United States and Canada, calamus has been used to make calamine lotion and to relieve skin inflammations of all types. As a bath additive, calamus helps with circulation and joint pain, and as a gargle calamus relieves sore throat. As a lotion, calamus relieves skin inflammation of all origins.
For external use only. Its internal use as a medicinal herbal product should only be administered by someone with experience in using this botanical. Although global cultures have for a great many centuries associated consumption of calamus with long life and good health, the FDA strictly prohibits the use of Calamus in food products.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.