Botanical Name: Acorus Calamus
Sanskrit: Vacha, Sadgrantha, Ugragandha, Vayambur, Bach
Hindi: Bajai, Gora-bach,Vasa bach
Telugu: Vadaja, Vasa
Common Names: Calamus , rat root , sweet flag , sweet myrtle , sweet root , sweet sedge
Calamus (Acorus Calamus) is a tall green monocot of flowering grass. It is a popular plant with a number of uses and a number of names including beewort, bitter pepper root, flag root, gladdon, myrtle flag, sweet flag, sweet sedge and others. It is known for its root structure or rhizomes and leaves, which have both stimulant and relaxant properties.
The effects of calamus root both energize and reduce anxiety thus why it is considered a powerful balancing herb. It has been used for healing, spiritual, and culinary uses.
History and Use
Native American Indians used Calamus root both for energy and as a spiritual tool. Ancient Egyptians also used Calamus root, believing it to be an aphrodisiac. It was also one of the original ingredients of European absinthe. It was commonly used as a substitute for other herbs and seasoning including ginger and cinnamon since it has sweet, sour, and heat qualities. Calamus root has been used to treat a number of ailments. It also has sedative, laxative, and diuretic properties.
Unlike many herbs used for their healing and spiritual properties, Calamus Root has a very agreeable taste. It is sometimes used as a substitute for ginger or cinnamon when a hot sweet taste is desired. This makes the most common means of ingestion, which is chewing the herb for its effects, much more enjoyable. The results of Calamus root are varied and mainly positive.
The Sanskrit word for Calamus root is "vacha", which means speech. Calamus Root, or Sweetflag, has been used as a brain tonic and to improve memory, as well as, respiratory problems, hysteria, convulsions, coma and epilepsy for over two thousand years. Although it is mainly for relieving flatulence, colic, indigestion, appetite loss, and stomach cramps, it also has a calming effect and was prescribed in traditional medicine for nervous disorders. It helps with circulation and rheumatism when added to a bath, and as a mouth rinse for gum disease and other conditions, even toothaches. The herb is pungent and bitter, with astringent qualities. It is a stimulant, and useful in periods of weakness. Some herbal practitioners claim it even clears the mind and has also believed to be useful as an effective aphrodisiac.
Calamus root is an aromatic stimulant that has been used for centuries in many cultures mainly for digestive complaints. It stimulates and strengthens stomach function, and is said to benefit digestion, increase the appetite and ease dyspepsia also relaxing common stomach problems. The herb is often used to relieve the discomfort of flatulence, as well as check the growth of the bacteria. Calamus Root relieves distended and uncomfortable stomachs, and also treats the intense headaches that are generally related to weak digestion. As an anti-emetic, it eases nausea and specifically treats the dizzy/queasy feeling in the stomach that comes with motion sickness, promptly bringing relief.
The root is also found to be beneficial for throat colds, sore throat, chest colds and head colds. It is an antibacterial and antiviral, as well. It is thought to fight the infection and stimulate the body to help overcome that run down feeling. It is also an effective expectorant that clears nasal and respiratory passages. Calamus has been used for sinus infections, sinus headaches, hay fever, dry coughs, bronchitis and bronchial asthma by eliminating mucus and calming the mind.
Calamus has been used to stimulate the uterus and regulate menstrual flow and has been used in cases of amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea. It has been used as a disinfectant for vaginal infection and discharge, especially after childbirth. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it would be best to avoid Calamus root in a form, as it stimulates the uterus and could cause a miscarriage.
Used as an anti-anxiety
While Calamus root fights fatigue, it also has a calming effect. Though the two effects would seem to contradict each other, the effect is one of alert relaxation. Users of Calamus root report feeling both emotionally relaxed and ready to face the day.
Laxative and Diuretic
Calamus root has both laxative and diuretic properties, making it useful for increasing urination and relieving constipation.
Counteract the Side Effects of Hallucinogens
A common complaint of hallucinogens is the severity of the side effects. Few hallucinogens are without the side effects of nausea and dizziness. Calamus root has long been used to combat these effects.
Mild Pain Reliever
Calamus root is often chewed to ease the sore throat and run down feeling associated with the cold or flu.
Users of Calamus root report:
Feeling more energetic
Feeling less anxiety
Relief from sore throat
Relief from headaches
A decrease in the side effects of hallucinogens
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Calamus Root Herbal Supplement, as it is considered a uterine stimulant. Overuse (many times the recommended dosage) should be avoided, as it may cause vomiting and further serious problems. Also, it may be harmful if consumed for an extended time period. It is highly recommended that any use of Calamus be conducted only under the care of a qualified health care provider.
Note: Siddha treatment is based on complete physical examination of the patient, Naadi diagnosis, and other diagnostic criteria of the disease. The content given in this article is purely meant for information and education purpose only. Kindly consult a Siddha physician before any sort of self medication.