Information on Calamus

Latin NameAcorus calamus
Other NamesSweet flag
Part UsedRhizome
Herb FormsTinctures, bulk herb.
AffectsDigestive system, Urinary system
CautionsAvoid during pregnancy. The European and Asian varieties of calamus contains beta-asarone, which is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals. The American variety is generally preferred, because it does not contain this compound and also shows a stron
Botanical InfoPerennial herb which grows in wet swampy areas and has stiff, sword-shaped leaves. The tiny green flowers are in tall spikes.
DescriptionCalamus has a beneficial effect on the stomach and is taken as an appetite stimulant and for dyspepsia, gastritis, colic, flatulence, hyperacidity, and liver congestion. It is said to lessen the enjoyment of tobacco and is chewed when trying to break the nicotine habit. It is also taken as a tea for alcoholism. A few drops of calamus are sometimes given before meals to children with poor appetites.

Calamus has a taste of ACRID and a temperature of WARM.


Infusion1 cup 2 x daily
Tincture10-30 drops 2 x daily

Ailments Treated by Calamus

AilmentTreatment SupportApplication
Alcoholismanti-addictive, bittertincture, capsules
Nicotine withdrawalanti-addictivetincture, root chewed
Ovarian cystblood moveroil externally
Varicose veinsblood movingoil externally


Newall, C. et al.. 1996. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press.
Leung, A. and S. Foster. 1996. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients. New York: J. Wiley & Sons.
Felter, H.W. and J.U. Lloyd. 1983. (1898). King's Dispensatory. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications.
Weiss, R. 1988. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers.
Wren, R.C. 1988. Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs. Essex: C.W. Daniel Co. Ltd.