Benefits of Calamus
Herbs a to z
Calamus, also known as sweet-flag, is a perennial herb with long creeping and aromatic rhizomes or underground stems sprouting leaves. The flowering shoots of the plant are supported by a large leaf-like structure called spathe. It has pale-green, smaIl flowers, in 5 to 10 cm long cylindric spikes and yellowish fruits. The dried rhizome of the plant constitute the drug calamus and is used in medicine.
The dry rhizomes of calamus contain a yellow aromatic oil. The essential oil contains calamen, calamenos, calameon and asarone. Indian caIameon oil contains asarone, small amounts of sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpene alcohols. The odour of the oil is ascribed to an unidentified constituent. The leaves contain oxalic acid and calcium.
The rhizomes are of great medicinal value. The root-stock of the plant is an aromatic stimulant, bitter tonic and expectorant. It relieves flatulence, counteracts spasmodic disorders and induces vomiting. It regulates menstural periods. It is also laxative, diuretic and aphrodisiac.
Calamus gives relief to heavy stomach by relieving f1atuJenc.e, colic and increasing appetite. The burnt root mixed with some bland oil such as refined coconut oil or a poultice of the root may be applied over the abdomen in treatment.
Diarrhoea and Dysentery
The drug is a time-tested remedy and is an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines for chronic diarrhoea. It is also effective in chronic dysentery, due to the presence of tannins. Its infusion can be given to children suffering from these ailments.
Calamus is highly beneficial in the treatment of asthma; it removes catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes. About 65 centigrams of the herb is taken every 2 or 3 hours in this condition.
The herb is also useful in treating common cold. A small piece of the rhizome is roasted and powdered. A pinch of this powder taken with honey provides great relief. For infants, the paste of calamus mixed in breast milk is touched on the baby's tongue. Another convenient method of giving the medicine to infants is to apply a little paste on the mother's nipples.
The powder of the roasted herb is an effective home remedy for children suffering from whooping cough. A pinch of this powder can be given with honey. Being antispasmodic, it prevents the severe bouts of coughing. For smaller children, the dose must be proportionately smaller.
Calamus is effective in expelling intestinal worms. The powdered root is taken for this purpose.
The herb is useful in treating mouth ulcers, coating on tongue and rawness, that is, inflammation of the skin. A small piece of the herb should be rubbed on the tongue to obtain relief.