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Acorus calamus

Latin Name: Acorus Calamus 

Common name: Calamus

Family: Araceae

Parts used: Rhizomes

Constituents: Volatile oils, saponins and mucilage.

Medicinal actions: Analgesic, anthelmintic, anti-arrhythmic, antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-spasmotic, aphrodisiac, carminative, decongestant, diaphoretic (mild), emetic, emmenagogue, euphoric, expectorant, hypotensive, immunosuppressant, laxative, nervine, psychoactive, stimulant (mental/physical), vasodilator.

Medicinal use: Gastrointestinal: constipation, diarrhea, intestinal spasms, flatulence, lack of appetite/anorexia, dyspepsia, colic, worms/parasitic infections. Respiratory: coughs, asthma, sinus-related headaches, congestion, sinusitis. Circulatory and central nervous system: memory loss, mental fogginess, lack of focus, male erectile dysfunction, hysteria, nervousness, anxiety, nicotine cessation. Topical paste: arthritis, neuralgia, headaches, fungal infections, mild pain, toothaches.

Pharmacology:

  • Stimulant volatile oils affect the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems; nevine volatile oils are soothing to the nervous system
  • Mucilage increases expectoration and relaxes and soothes via the endodermal lining of the gut, and is relaxant and antispasmodic to the lungs and the urinary tract through the spinal reflex

Pharmacy:

  • Powder (snuff): 250-500mg per day
  • Decoction in water or milk: 1 tsp of herb to 1 cup of water
  • Tincture: 10-30 drops (or 2-4ml) three times a day.
  • topical paste

Toxicity: Calamus is for acute conditions and long-term use is not recommended i.e. no longer than one month.

Contraindications: Avoid during pregnancy due to possible emmenagogue effects. Immunocompromised individuals should also avoid Calamus.

Interactions: Large doses encourage the emetic affects, so take with ginger to counteract the nausea. Watch for interactions with herbs or drugs that are immunosuppressing or hypotensive because the effects can be potentiated. Another possible potentiated effect is possible with other psychoactive, sedative, or stimulating agents.

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