Calamus plants are tall and perennial plants that grow in wet lands. Their leaves have strong scents and are used to make perfumes. Their roots, which are used to make medicines, may also serve as substitutes for spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg.
Calamus roots, like their leaves, also have strong smells, in addition to having a bitter and pungent taste. The active ingredients found in the roots may have high toxicity, so it is necessary to boil calamus roots first if they are to be eaten.
Alternative Names for Calamus Root
- Sweet Flag
- Flag Root
- Myrtle Root
- Myrtle Grass
- Myrtle Flag
- Bitter Pepper Root
- Pine Root
- Sweet Cane
- Sweet Root
- Rat Root
- Sweet Sedge
- Sweet Cinnamon
- Sweet Rush
Health Benefits of Calamus Root
- Calamus roots are used for treating gastrointestinal and digestion problems such as ulcers, intestinal gas, inflammation in the stomach, anorexia, and upset stomach.
- The herbs may act as a sedative or calming medicine that is used in treating stroke and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Chewing calamus root may also heal a sore throat associated with colds and influenza.
- Calamus may act as a stimulant which promotes a sense of well-being and all-natural mood stabilizer.
- Calamus is used in treating skin diseases as well.
- These herbs can also be eaten and are even sometimes used as spices.
- They also relieve dyspepsia and heartburn.
- Calamus root helps ease toothaches and curb one’s nicotine craving. Chewing it can help smokers get rid of the smell and taste of tobacco in their mouth.
- Lastly, it is found that some chemical contents of calamus can ease muscle tension and contraction.
Detailed Benefits of Calamus Root
Calamus roots are considered as ‘wonder drugs’. Their oil contents are sedative and hypotensive. They can also be used as tranquilizers.
The primary benefits of this herbal remedy are: natural mood stabilizer, acting as laxative and diuretic; and fighting the side effects of hallucinogenic drugs such as dizziness and disorientation.
However, the traditional use of calamus is for treating problems with the lungs and the digestive system. In addition, this herbal remedy may also clear congestions and eliminate phlegm. It is also used in treating insomnia, tinnitus, bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, and even amnesia.
You may consume dried calamus roots in different ways. You may grind the roots and add them to smoking blends. Inhale the aroma of these roots to ease your headache.
Calamus roots will also calm your senses, fight off stress, and ease irritation. Furthermore, you have to try calamus root if you want to increase your alertness and focus.
Benefits of Acorus calamus extracts and aromatherapy oils
Also called calamus or sweet flag, Acorus calamus is a tall perennial wetland monocot that belongs to the Acoraceae family.
It is an herb and seasoning used traditionally in Chinese medicine and Ayurveda for its cognitive enhancing qualities.
Calamus is cultivated in damp and marshy places. The large plant has sword-like leaves and a yellow-green color.
Other names for calamus include vacha (Sanskrit), bach (Hindi), sweet flag (English), buch (Unani), vasamber (Tamil), agar turki (Persian), shobu (Japanese), shui chang (Chinese), and kalmus (German), among other names.
The Tartars brought calamus to Europe during the thirteenth century. It is also an herb mentioned in the Bible book of Exodus as Sweet Calamus.
‘Acorus’ was taken from the Greek term ‘acoron,’ which Dioscorides used. In turn, ‘acoron’ was taken from ‘coreon,’ which means ‘pupil’ as the plant was used in traditional medicine to treat eye inflammation.
The Hebrews utilized the oil – together with cinnamon, myrrh, and olive oils – in a sacred anointing at the Tabernacle. They also used calamus leaves in all houses of worship.
Calamus root may have originated in India and has found its way across Europe, especially in southern Russia and southern Siberia. In other Asian territories, it is found in northern Asia Minor, Japan, China, Sri Lanka, and Burma.
It also grows in the northern U.S.A., southern Canada, and Australia. Occasionally, calamus is used as a pond plant in horticulture.
However, care must be taken when using Acorus calamus as it has been determined in studies that supplementation may lead to intestinal tumors and organ damage, since calamus has ẞ-asarone – a carcinogen.
The part used for traditional medicinal purposes is the spicy and aromatic rhizome. Moreover, the dried and powdered rhizome – in very moderate doses – has been utilized as a nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger substitute.
Additional Benefits of Calamus Oil
The oil derived from calamus roots is beneficial to one’s health. Calamus essential oil is also valued in aromatherapy. It alleviates problems like loss of concentration and memory difficulties.
It also stimulates the mind and body. If used correctly, calamus is non-toxic. It should be utilized under the supervision of a medical professional.
Some of calamus’ benefits include:
- It benefits the mind
- It helps relieve fever
- It helps relieve arthritis pain
- It promotes relaxation
- It can help in neuralgia
General Mental Health Used in aromatherapy, calamus oil provides benefits to the mind.
- It helps in memory retention
- It improves alertness, concentration, and mental focus. Calamus can be used when one needs to be focused and stay sharp.
- It alleviates tension, stress, and anxiety
- It allows blood flow to the brain, effectively eliminating dizziness. The user can experience steadiness and better balance.
- Calamus’ aroma lifts the spirits. It can promote positive feelings and stabilize one’s mood.
Fever Calamus can help relieve mild fever. Used in aromatherapy, the oil is diffused in the air of a room. Calamus alleviates mild fever symptoms and enables the person to get some rest.
Arthritis Calamus root can help in arthritis, particularly rheumatoid arthritis. The calamus oil is added to a base oil before applying it to the pain site. The anti-inflammatory calamus reduces pain and redness on the joint.
Relaxation The essential oil of calamus can be used in a bath. In a bathtub filled with water, six to eight drops of calamus oil and a few drops of lavender oil are added. Such combination leads the person to feel sedated, as calamus root has a beneficial tranquilizing effect.
Acorus calamus can also help provide relief from chronic back pain and it also alleviates mental stress and anxiety. A calamus bath can calm the mind and decrease negative feelings and irritation.
Together with lavender oil, the traditional remedy takes away insomnia and induces sleep.
Neuralgia Calamus can help to relieve neuralgia, especially trigeminal neuralgia. Applying calamus oil in a base lessens inflammation in nearby tissues. As nerve pressure is relieved, the neuralgia also eases. Calamus root also helps in diabetic neuropathy.
In Ayurveda, calamus or vacha herb, which has a heating energy, has a pungent and bitter taste. Its post digestion taste is pungent and it has subtle, sharp, and light qualities.
It decreases the vata and pitta doshas, while it increases the kapha dosha. Calamus’ pharmacological action is antispasmodic, nervine, stomachic, sedative, emetic, expectorant, diuretic, and laxative.
Acorus calamus has been used for many years in Ayurveda as a brain and nervous system rejuvenator for conditions like neurasthenia, hysteria, anxiety, and other nervous conditions. Calamus root helps in conditions with excess vata and is known to improve memory and enhance awareness.