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Calamus Root

  • Acorus calamus
  • Origin: Poland
Calamus Root


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Common Name

Standardized: calamus
Other: acorus, sweet calamus, sweetflag, vacha

Botanical Name

Acorus calamus L.
Plant Family: Acoraceae



The sharp-edged calamus is a perennial semi-aquatic plant that grows in marshes and on muddy banks of streams. Calamus root was discussed in the Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica. This revered Chinese herbal text was written anonymously during the Han dynasty in the second or third century BC, with the knowledge attributed to the legendary figure Shennong who lived about 2500 years earlier. If Shennong did indeed use calamus root, he did so hundreds of years before its first known medicinal use.

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.

Parts Used

The rhizome, dried and chopped or ground.

Typical Preparations

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.

Seldom found as a capsule or extract.


Walt Whitman wrote 39 poems for calamus in his famous work Leaves of Grass.


Specific: Not for internal use. The FDA strictly prohibits the use of Calamus in food products.
General: We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

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.