Acorus calamus commonly known as sweet flag, is widely distributed throughout the world. It grows in tropical regions like India, China, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam etc.
In Ayurveda it is used as one of the most important medicinal plants. Its leaves are considered as very effective in treating several diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, epilepsy, asthma, rheumatism, gout, fever, dyspepsia, constipation, liver disorders, ulcers, skin problems, snake bites, scorpion stings, and toothache. The roots are used to treat diarrhea, vomiting, cough, cold, bronchitis, eczema, psoriasis, ringworm, and scabies.
The flowers are used to cure headache, earache, eye infections, and skin eruptions. The seeds are useful in curing fever, jaundice, leprosy, paralysis, and tuberculosis.
The oil extracted from the seed is used in aromatherapy to treat depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, and nervousness. The plant is rich in essential oils and contains flavonoids, tannins, saponins, alkaloids, glycosides, steroids, anthraquinones, phenols, and volatile compounds.
Calamus is known to help relieve stress and anxiety. However, there is little research into how much calamus should actually be consumed. Some people use it as a tea while others take capsules or tablets. In some cases, calamus is combined with other herbs to make a formula.
Acorus calamus is one of the most important plants used in traditional medicine. In China, it is known as "the king of herbs," and is prescribed for treating coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, tuberculosis, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, and diabetes. It is also used to treat fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, jaundice, and liver disease.
Asarone and eugenol are two major components of the rhizome of A. calamus. They are responsible for its pharmacologic activities. Other constituents include flavonoids, terpene lactones, essential oils, sterols, tannins, saponins, and alkaloids. These secondary metabolites play an important role in the biological activity of A. calamus and provide evidence for its use in traditional medicine.
Medicinal plants are used for the treatment of many diseases such as diabetes, obesity, hypertension and inflammation. In traditional medicine, there are many studies about the use of Acorus calamus.
The extraction method and solvent systems affect the pharmacological activities of plant extracts. For example, ethanol extract of A. calamus showed antihyperglycemic effects in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. However, water extract did not show significant effect. Moreover, the extract prepared by different methods exhibited different biological activities. For instance, ethanolic extract of A. calmus showed hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects while methanol extract had no effect.
In addition, the chemical constituents of A. calamus have been studied. Many compounds isolated from A. calamus include flavonoids, phenolics, tannins, terpenes, fatty acids, saponins, steroids, glycosides, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, essential oils, volatile oil, alkaloids and polysaccharide. These components have been shown to possess various pharmacological activities such as antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antitumor, antiinflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, wound healing, antimutagenic and antiulcerogenic activities.
Sweet Flag is used to treat preterm labor and premature rupture of membranes. It is also known to induce uterine contractions. This herb is considered safe during pregnancy. However, it can cause heat sensation in people with Pitta body type. There are very few side effects associated with sweet flag. However, if you are pregnant, do not consume more than 2 grams per day. Sweet flag is generally safe when taken orally. However, it should be avoided in cases where a person has allergy or sensitivity to any part of the plant.
Dr. Vandana K.