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Family Araceae
Acorus calamus L.
Chou pu

Scientific name  Common names 
Acorus angustatus Raf. Bueng (Pamp.)
Acorus angustifolius Schott. Dalau (Ilk.)
Acorus belangeri Schott. Dalaw (Ilk.)  
Acorus calamus L. Daraw (Ilk.)
Acorus calamus-aromaticus Clairv. Dengau (Bon.) 
Acorus casia Bertol. Lubigan (Tag., Bis.) 
Acorus elatus Salisb. Calamus (Engl.)
Acorus flexuosus Raf. Cinnamon sedge (Engl.)
Acorus odoratus Lam. Flag root (Eng.)
Acorus undulatus Stokes Myrtle flag (Engl.)
Acorus verus (L.) Raf. Myrtle grass (Engl.)
  Myrtle sedge (Engl.)
  Sweet calamus (Engl.)
  Sweet cane (Engl.)
  Sweet flag (Engl.) 
  Sweet myrtle (Engl.)
  Sweet root (Engl.)
  Sweet rush (Engl.)
  Sweet sedge (Engl.)
Somes compilation list Acorus gramineus and A. calamus as synonyms; others list them as separate species: (1) A. calamus Shui Chang Pu and (2) Acorus gramineus (syn. A. tatarinowii, Shi Chang Pu) containing the potentially toxic B-asarone.
Acorus calamus L. is an accepted name. The Plant List
Lubigan is a common name shared by (1) Acorus calamus, and (2) Mapania humilis, Malalubigan.

Other vernacular names
ARABIC: Vaj, Vash, Oudul vaj.
CHINESE: Ni chang pu, Xiang pu, Ye chang pu, Chou pu (Chin.)
FRENCH: Acore aromatique, Acore calame, Acore odorant, Acorus roseau, Belle angelique, Roseau odorant.
GERMAN: Kalmus.
HINDI: Bach, Ghorbach, Safed bach.
ITALIAN: Acoro vero, Calamo, Canna odorifera.
MALAYALAM: Vashampa.
NEPALESE: Bojho, Shyuedaa.
PORTUGUESE: Junco-de-cobra.
SANSKRIT: Bhuta nashini, Bhadra, Vacha, Vaca.
SPANISH: Acoro, Cálamo aromático, Calamís.
TAMIL: Vasambu.
THAI: Hang khao pha (Chiang Mai), Som chuen, Wan nam, Wan nam lek.

Gen info
- The family Araceae comprised about 110 genera and more than 1800 species, members of which are rhizomatous or tuberous herbs.
- Etymology:  The genus Acorus derives from 'Acoron' (coreon) meaning the pupil of the eye. The species names 'calamus' derives from Greek 'calamos' meaning 'a reed.'

-   Historical info: Sweet flag's ethnobotanical history dates back to the Old Testament when Moses was bade by God to make holy oil for anointing the tabernacle. It has been mentioned in early Greek and Roman medicine. Acoron, an herbal of the first century, appears to be sweet flag. (39)

Lubigan is a perennial aromatic herb, with creeping, branching and rhizomatous rootstock. Rhizome are prostrate, firm and stout with compactly arranged annular rings with numerous rootlets. Leaves arising from rhizome are linear, distichous, 25 to 50 centimeters long, 1 to 1.5 centimeters wide, with waved margins and stout midribs, base of leaf sheathed, clasping to each other. Peduncle is compressed. Spathe is green, much elongated, similar in shape to the leaves. Spadix is 3 to 5 centimeters long, and 1 centimeter or less in diameter, and bears many flowers. Flowers are very small, compacted into a concave-shaped spadix inflorescence. Sepals are 6, stamens 6, rarely flowering in the Philippines. Fruits are berries, turbinate, prismatic, with pyramidal tops, about 0.2 centimeter diameter.

- Along streams in mountains, creeks other moist places with running water, on boulders, etc., at low and medium altitude in Luzon (Laguna).
- Also found in Bontoc and Benguet provinces in swamps, at an altitude of about 1,300 meters, as a naturalized element.
Also occurs in the temperate to subtemperate regions of Eurasia and the Americas.

- Rhizomes contain a volative and aromatic oil, sugars, choline, mucliage, and a little tannin.
- Phytochemical studies yield volatile oil (active constituents
α-asarone and beta-asarone) and saponin.
- Rhizome studies have yielded asarone, parasaron, asarylaldehyde, sesquiterpenes, acorin, eugenol.
- An oily substance, calamol (C12H18)3) has been extracted from the rhizome. Calamol oil is colorless, mobile liquid, with a strong characteristic, and rather pleasant aromatic odor. The oil has been described as containing palmitic and heptoic acids, ester of palmitic together with some pinene, camphene, asaraldehyde, eugenol, asarone, calamene, calamerol and calameon.
- Rhizome has yielded an alkaloid, mainly choline, soft resin, gum, starch, and a bitter glucoside
, acorin.
- Study of dried rhizome for calamus oil yielded 1.37 ± 0.11% v/w. ß-Asarone was the major component followed by α-aserone. Other compounds were methyl isoeugenol, shyobunone, isoelemicin, methyl isoeugenol, ß-calacorene, khusinol acetate, shyobunone, guaiol, α-cadinol, elemicin, -cadinene, spatulenol, -muurolol and rosifoliol. (41)
- Phytochemical screening of leaf and rhizome yielded steroids, alkaloids, tannins, phenols, flavanoids, fatty acid, cardiac glycosides, carbohydrates, amino acid and proteins. Anthocyanin and leucoanthocyanin were present only in the leaf essential oil. (see study below) (42)
- GC analysis of essential oil of rhizomes yielded main components of isoshyobunone (15.56%), β-asarone (10.03%), bicyclo[6.1.0]non-1-ene (9.67%), shyobunone (9.60%) and methylisoeugenol (6.69%). (see study below) (49)
- GC-MS study of leaves for essential oil extracted by steam distillation yielded a total of 61 components accounting for 71.08% of the total oil. The main compounds were α-asarone 16.54%, (E)-methylisoeugenol 5.06%, γ-cadinene 3.00%, α-pinene 2.96%, and citronellal 2.82%. (66)

- Considered stimulant, carminative, emetic, antispasmodic, insectifuge, astringent.
- Studies indicate anticonvulsant, antibacterial, antioxidant, insecticidal, radioprotective, glucosidase inhibitory, insulin sensitizing, antiepileptic, larvicidal, smooth muscle relaxant, neuroprotective, hypolipidemic, immunomodulatory properties.
- Rhizome considered stimulant and tonic.

- Oil of sweet flag considered antibacterial, antifungal, and antiamebic.
- In Ayurvedic medicine, rhizomes are considered aromatic, stimulant, bitter tonic, emetic, expectorant, emmenagogue, aphrodisiac, laxative, diuretic, antispasmodic, carminative and anthelmintic. (53)

Division of rhizomes and potted without drainage holes. For potting, use one part river sand, one part garden soil, one part coco coir dust and one part rice hull. When established, place in partial to full sun.

Part utilized
Rhizome and leaves.

-Fresh rhizomes can be candied or used in cordial liqueurs, soups and sauces, mixed with other condiments (ginger, mace or cinnamon).
-Young shoots used in salads, believed to improve the appetite.
· Rheumatic arthritis, lumbago and leg pains: As embrocation, by cooking vine or rhizome (50 gms) with coconut oil (3 oz) .
· Indigestion, gastritis; Used for ague, tonic dyspepsia.
· Rhizome use as masticatory for toothache.
· Rhizome used as stimulant and tonic.
· Oil is carminative; also used as digestive and to increase the appetite.
· Dried rhizome chewed ad libitum to relieve dyspepsia.
· Oil used as expectorant and remedy for asthma. Also used for chronic dysentery.
· Hakims use the rhizome for hemorrhages and intestinal ulcerations; also for suppression of urine and menstrual evacuations.
· In Teheran, rhizome is reputed to be a remedy for rheumatism.
· Rhizome is a nervine sedative; in large doses, nauseant and emetic.
· Tinnitus, deafness, poor memory.
· Loss of consciousness during high fever.
· Sometimes combined with other drugs for treatment of insanity.
· Decoction: 30 gms of dried material (roots and leaves) to a pint of boiling water; tea drunk 4x daily for dyspepsia, gastritis, indigestion, stomach pains, diarrhea, asthma.
· Powdered rhizome used as insecticide and insectifuge.
· Rhizome skin used as hemostatic.
· Poultice of fresh material used for abscessed inflammation and scabies.
· In Ayurveda, used for psychoneurosis, insomnia, hysteria, epilepsy, memory loss. Also, for cough, fever, bronchitis, depression, inflammation, tumors, general debility.
· In Teheran, rhizome used as remedy for rheumatism.
· In Chinese medicine, used to aid digestion and regulate gastrointestinal fermentation and acidity. In ancient Chinese medicine, used to relieve swelling and constipation.
· In Greek-Arab medicine, used to treat gastritis, anorexia, epilepsy, rheumatoid arthritis.
· Early Europeans, Chinese and Arbas considered it a strong aphrodisiac; while in North America and New Guinea, once used to induce abortion.
- In Ayurvedic medicine, used for treatment of epilepsy, schizophrenia and memory disorders, chronic diarrhea and dysentery, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fevers, tympanitis colic, otitis media, cough, asthma, glandular and abdominal tumors. Also used traditionally for flatulent colic and chronic dyspepsia, kidney and liver problems, rheumatism and eczema. Rhizomes are used in form of powders balms, enemas, pills, and ghee preparations. Rhizomes used for protection against small pox, ringworm, snake bites, gout, rheumatism, and dysmenorrhea. Stems used for cough, cold, and toothache. Tribals in the Garhwal region of the Himalayas chew fresh rhizomes to prevent alcohol intoxication. Rhizome decoction used in children for gastroenteritis. Rhizome pieces are tied around the belly for jaundice. Tirumala natives use rhizomes for treatment of dental disorders. (
Folkloric fringe
- Used to protect young children from bales or usog. The matured rhizome is round-peeled and dried and the pieces thread together and worn as a protective waist or wrist band.
- Used as an amulet to ward off evil spirits.
- Repellent: Fragrant leaves and oil used as insect repellent
- Scents and Perfumery: Oil used for scenting snuff. Also for flavoring alcoholic beverages. Calamus oil also used in making perfumes. Powdered rhizome used for sachet and toilet powders.
- In India, since antiquity, rhizomes has been used for medicinal baths, as incense, and for tea. Powdered rhizomes used as insecticide against fleas, bedbugs, moths, and lice. Rhizomes used for killing insect pests in stored rice. Also used in incense sticks. (

Insecticidal / Asarones: Study indicate the toxicity of asarones might be due to the cis configuration. In a fumigation test, the insecticidal activity of the compound was largely attributable to its fumigant action. • Insecticidal activities of asarones identified in Acorus gramineus rhizome against Nilaparvata lugens (Homoptera: Delphacidae) and Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutoidae) (2)
Antifungal / B-Asarone: An antifungal substance, B-Asarone, was isolated from the extract of AG with in vivo and in vitro activity against plant fungal pathogens M. grisea and C. orbiculare. (1)
Antibacterial / Anthelmintic: Isolation of beta-asarone, an antibacterial and anthelmintic compound, from Acorus calamus in South Africa: The aromatic rhizomes is used in many traditional medicine systems for stomach cramps, dysentery, asthma and as anthelmintic, tonic and stimulant. The beta-asarone isolated showed anthelmintic and antibacterial activities. However its mammalian toxicity and carcinogenicity discourages its use for traditional healing. (3)
Glutathione S-transferase Activity / Hyaluronidase Inhibitory Effect: Of 20 alcohol extracts of 20 species plants tested, Acorus gramineus and Pueraria lobata exhibited GST activity. (6)
Anti-Diarrheal: Study of plant extracts for anti-diarrheal potential against castor-oil induced diarrhea in mice showed Acorus calamus rhizome significantly reduced induction time of diarrhea and the total weight of the feces. Results established the efficacy of the plant extracts as antidiarrheal agents. (7)
Anti-Ulcer / Anti-Secretory / Cytoprotective : Ethanol extract study produced significant anti-secretory, anti-ulcer and cytoprotective effects in rats. Its ability to protect the mucosa against indomethacin-induced mucosal damage confirms its anti-ulcer activity. Calamus also showed significant adaptive cytoprotective activity. It is known to possess sesquiterpenes which could contribute to its anti-ulcer activity. (8)
Anti-Convulsant / Essential Oil Inhalation Effects: Sedative effect after inhalation or oral administration of AGR essential oil suggests the oil may act on the CNS via the GABAergic system. An inhibitory activity of preinhalation of the essential oil was also noted on lipid peroxidation, to which an anticonvulsive action is attributed. (10)
Antihepatotoxic / Antioxidant: Study showed the ethanol extract of AC confers hepatoprotective and antioxidant activities by histopath and biochemical observations against acetaminophen-induced liver injury is rats; an effect comparable to the standard drug silymarin. (11)
Volatile Oil / Olfaction Stimulation / Benefits in Alzheimer's Disease: Study showed perfume stimulating olfaction with volatile oil of Acorus gramineus significantly increase the learning-memory ability, decrease MDA content and increase SOD and GSH-Px activities and brain weight in AD rats.   (14)
Memory / Cerebral Atrophy / Alzheimer's Disease: Study in AD-induced rats treated with extract of volatile oil of A. gramineus and piracetam showed adjuvant therapy has the effect of controlling cerebral atrophy and prevention and cure of AD.
Calamusenone / Pesticidal: Calamusenone isolated from A. gramineus rhizome showed promise as a novel pesticide candidate for stored-product pest control. (15)
CNS Neuroprotective Effects / Anticonvulsive: (1) Korean study in mice on central effects of inhalation of essential oil from AG produced significant inhibition of GABA-transaminase enzyme degradation with resultant increase in GABA and glutamate. An anticonvulsant and sedative effect was reported. (2) Both Acorus gramineus and α-asarone can enhance reactivity and convulsive threshold of immature rats to electric stimulation. (3) Rhizome essential oil study showed neuroprotective effects on cultured cortical neurons through the blockade of NMDA receptor activity.
Pharmacognostical and Phytochemical Study: Microscopic studies showed the presence of epidermis, cortex, fibrovascular bundle, and starch grain the the drug powder. Phytochemical screening showed alkaloids carbohydrate, glycoside, phenolic compounds and tannins.
Antimicrobial: Study of rhizomes and leaf extracts showed pronounced antifungal activity with the ethyl acetate extracts. In addition, both a- and ß-asarones exhibited very strong antimicrobial activities against fungi and yeasts, higher than the rhizome and leaf extracts. Study suggests the active principles a- and ß-asarones might be responsible for the antimicrobial activity. Only antibacterial activity to E. coli was noted.
Anti-Anxiety: Study of 70% hydro-alcoholic extract was done on general anxiety in humans. The results showed the extract not only significantly attenuated anxiety related disorders but also significantly reduced stress phenomenon and correlated depression. (26)
Bioanalytical Investigation of Asarone in Connection with Intentional Intoxication / : A study, spurred by reports of intentional intoxication in humans, failed to demonstrate the presence of 2,4,5-trimethoxyamphetamine, claimed as a hallucinogenic component of A. calamus.. The study identified cis-TMC as a urinary target metabolite for LC-MS for detection of intoxication cases, and possible as an alternative to GC-MS analysis of a- and ß-asarone. (27)
Anti-Seizure: Study of an aqueous extract of Acorus calamus showed protective effect against MES (maximal electric shock) but not against PTZ (pentylenetetrazole) induced seizures.
Anticonvulsant / Raw and Processed Vacha Rhizomes: Study confirmed the anticonvulsant activity of raw Vacha and subjecting it to classical Shodhana (purification) procedure enhanced, rather than decrease, the activity profile of the Vacha. (30)
Toxicity Study / Rhizomes: Study evaluated the potential toxicity of an ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus rhizomes in Wistar rats. Hematologic and biochemical analysis showed no marked differences in any of the parameters, with no gross or histopathological changes observed. The ethanolic extract does not appear to have toxicity on acute and chronic administration in rats. (31)
Bioanalytical Study on Possible Calamus Oil Intoxications: Calamus or sweet flag is being marketed as being hallucinogenic. Study aimed to identify α- and β-asarone, considered active components of A. calamus, in urine samples collected from seven cases. Study showed not evidence for the presence of the claimed hallucinogenic substance TMA-2 (2,4,5-trimethoxyamphetamine) in urine samples collected after ingestion of A. calamus oil. (33)
Prevention of CCI Induced Neuropathy: Study investigated the attenuating role of A. calamus plant extract in chronic constrictive injury (CCI) of sciatic nerve induced peripheral neuropathy in rats. Results showed AC prevented CCI induced neuropathy which may be attributed to its multiple actions including antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and calcium inhibitory actions. (34)
Cytotoxic Potential / Rhizome: Study evaluated the cytotoxicity of methanolic and aqueous extracts of rhizomes of A. calamus. Both extracts showed to be cytotoxic by Allium cepa root tip assay and XTT assay in MDA-MB-435S and Hep3B cell lines. Results suggest a potential for the development of anticancer drugs. (35)
Cytotoxic Effect / Breast Carcinoma Cell Line: Study evaluated the cytotoxic effect of A. calamus extract on breast carcinoma (MCF-7) cell lines. Results showed A. calamus can cause cell death in MCF-7 cancer cells, decreasing cell viability in malignant cells in a concentration dependent manner.      (36)
Analgesic Effect: Study evaluated the analgesic activity of methanolic extracts of Acorus calamus and Oroxylum indicum in adult Swiss albino mice using acetic acid induced writhing method. Results showed inhibition of writhing reflex, with the methanolic extract of A. calamus showing greater activity than O. indicum. (37)
Bioactive Fraction (F3) Effect in Hyperlipidemia: Study evaluated the bioactive F3 fraction from the rhizomes in experimentally induced hyperlipidemia in rats. The bioactive fraction F3 demonstrated cholesterol reducing effect y increasing fecal cholesterol excretion and decreasing cholesterol biosynthesis in the liver. The effects on fibrinogen levels and free radicals indicate the F3 fraction provides potential benefit in atherosclerosis associated with hyperlipidemia. (
• Drug Interactions: Moderate interactions: (1) MAO--medications for depression, for ex. Nardil (phenelzine), Parnate (tranylcypromine. (2) Sedatives, CNS depressants. Minor interactions: Antacids, medications that decrease stomach acid (H2 blockers and proton pump inhibitors). (40)
• Antimicrobial / Essential Oil / Leaf and Rhizome: Study evaluated the antimicrobial effect of essential oil of leaf and rhizome of Acorus calamus against different microbial strains. Rhizome essential oil showed higher activity than leaf oil even at low MIC. (see constituents above) (42)
• Antidiarrheal / Leaves: Study evaluated the antidiarrheal effects of leaves of Acorus calamus against castor oil-induced diarrhea in wistar rats. Results showed antidiarrheal activity as evidenced by a significant decrease in severity of diarrhea, reduction in rate of defecation and a profound decrease in intestinal transit. (43)
• Apoptotic / Oral Cancer Cell Lines: The mechanism that can activate caspases may be a feasible approach for effective tumor treatment. Acorus calamus decreased cell viability in malignant cells in a concentration dependent manner. The ability of apoptotic induction by A. calamus can be utilized in anticancer formulation. (44)
• Immunomodulatory / Leaves: Study evaluated various extracts of Acorus calamus leaves for immunomodulatory activity by in-vivo phagocytic stimulation and nitro-blue tetrazolium test. The petroleum ether, alcoholic extract and volatile oil showed high significant immunostimulation (p<0.001) activity at 5-15 mg/ml concentration. Results showed stimulation of cell mediated immune system through modulation of neutrophil function. (45)
• Blood Pressure Lowering / Vascular Modulatory Effects: Study of crude extract and fractions of Acorus calamus for blood pressure lowering effect showed relaxant effects possibly mediated through Ca++ antagonism in addition to a nitric oxide pathway. An associated vasoconstrictor effect may be nature's way to offset excessive vasodilation. (46)
• Antifungal: Study evaluated petroleum ether and ethanolic extracts of eight medicinal plants for anti-fungal activity against phytopathogenic fungus Sclerotium folfsii Sacc. using poison food method. The most promising result was obtained with the petroleum ether extract of A. calamus, which exhibited 100% inhibition with MIC of 10.4 mg/ml. (47)
• Antioxidant / Leaves and Rhizomes: Study investigated the antioxidant activity of methanolic extract of leaves and rhizomes of A. calamus by DPPH assay. The rhizome extract displayed stronger DPPH free radical scavenging activity than the leaf extract. Total phenolic content was 17.1 ± 0.04 and 17.3 ± 0.88 mg gallic acid/g of extract, respectively. There was a correlation between total phenolic content and antioxidant activity of leaves and rhizomes extracts. (48)
• Repellent and Insecticidal / Shyobunone and Isoshyobunone / Essential Oil / Rhizomes: Study evaluated the essential oil of A. calamus rhizomes for insecticidal and repellent activity against Lasioderma serricome and Tribolium castaneum. Of the essential oil components, the active constituents were shyobunone and isoshyobunone. The EO showed contact toxicity against LS and TC with LD50 of 14.40 and 32/55 µg/adult, respectively. The EO, shyobunone and isoshyobunone were strongly repellent against TC. (49)
• Wound Healing / Leaves: Study evaluated the wound healing activity of 80% ethanolic extracts of mature leaves of Acorus calamus leaves on excision- and incision-based wound models in rats. Topical application once daily in concentration of 40% w/w and 20% w/w in ointment formulation showed enhanced wound contraction, decreased epithelialisation time, increased hydroxyproline content and histological characteristics of wound healing. The extract promoted significantly promoted wound healing in both wound models. (50)
• Interaction of α
-Asarone and A. calamus with CYP3A4 and CYP2D6: Study evaluated the possible interaction of standardized extract of Acorus calamus (AC) with Cytochrome P450 enzyme. Effect on individual isoforms such as CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 isoenzymes were analyzed. CYP450-CO assay showed moderate interaction potential. Extract showed higher IC50 values (46.84-32.99 µg/ml) compared to standard inhibitors and lover IC50than α-asarone. Care should be taken when using the extract with other cytochrome P450-interacting molecules, with low therapeutic index. (51)
• Effect of Supplemental Ultraviolet-B on Essential Oil Composition and Phenolic Content: Study evaluated the effect of supplemental UV-B radiation (sUV-B) on essential oil contents of sweet flag. The level of essential oil and phenol contents increased with exposure to sUV-B. It resulted in significant increase in p-cymene and carvacrol contents of the EO. Decrease in level of major component beta-asarone due to sUV-B treatment is of prime importance because of its toxicological concern to human health. (52)
• Effect on Collagen Maturation of Wound Healing: Study evaluated the efficacy of topical administration of ethanol extract of A. calamus on dermal wound healing in rats. Biochemical analysis of granulation tissue revealed a significant increase in collagen, hexosamine and uronic acid compared to control. Tensile strength of treated wounds was increased by 112%. A significant reduction in lipid peroxide levels suggested presence of antioxidant compounds. Results confirmed beneficial effects in augmenting the wound healing process. (54)
• Anticellular / Immunosuppressive / Rhizome: Study evaluated the anticellular and immunomodulatory properties of ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus rhizome. The extract inhibited proliferation of mitogen (phytohaemagglutinin; PHA) and antigen (purified protein derivative; PPD)-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The extract also inhibited growth of several cancer cell lines of mouse and human origin. It inhibited production of NO, IL-2, TNF-α. Results demonstrated in vitro antiproliferative and immunosuppressive potential of the ethanolic extract of rhizome. (55)
• Cancer Chemoprevention / Mechanisms: Review focuses on the current available scientific evidences of A. calamus and/or asarone for cancer chemoprevention based on preclinical in vitro and in vivo models, along with molecular targets of mechanisms involved in its anti-cancer activity. The mechanisms underlying the cancer chemoprevention of A. calamus and/or asarone includes variations of all kinds of cancer hallmarks, which include regulation of cell proliferation and cell cycle arrest, induction of apoptosis, inhibition of angiogenesis as modulated via different signal transduction pathways. Study hopes to provide sources and direction for further studies. (56)
• Silver Nanoparticles / Antibacterial / Rhizomes: Study reports on the biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles (AgNPs) using aqueous rhizome extract of A. calamus. The AgNPs significantly inhibited clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli in a dose dependent manner. Results suggest potential for commercial application as an antibacterial agent. (57)
• Neuroprotective / Chronic Sciatic Nerve-Induced Pain / Saponin: Study evaluated a saponin-rich extract of A. calamus (SRE-AC)in chronic constriction injury (CCI) of the sciatic nerve induced neuropathic pain and neuronal functional changes in rats. The CCI produced significant (p<0.05) increase in thermal and mechanical hyperalgesia, rise in sciatic functional index, decrease in nerve conduction velocity, along with biochemical and histopathological changes. Oral administration of SRE-AC and pregabalin significantly (p<0.05) ameliorated CCI-induced nociceptive pain threshold, sciatic functional and electrophysiological changes in a dose dependent manner, and attenuated tissue biochemical and histopathological changes. (58)
• Neuroprotective to Brain Against Noise Induced Stress: Exposure to continuous loud noise is a serious health concern with its excess production of free radicals. Study evaluated the protective effect of ethyl acetate and methanolic extract of A. calamus against noise stress (30d, 100 dBA/4h/a) induced changes in the rat brain. Study showed during exposure in noisy environment ROS generation lead to increase in corticosterone LPO and SOD, decrease i CAT, GPx, GSH, protein thiols, vitamins C and E levels. Both EA and ME protected against most of the changes in the rat brain induced by noise stress. (59)
• Antimicrobial Against MDR Nosocomial Pathogens / Rhizome: Study evaluate the invitro antibacterial property of A. calamus rhizome acetone extract against nosocomial pathogens i.e. E. coli, S. aureus, P. aeruginosa, K. pneumonia, K. oxytoca, and Acinetobacter baumanii. All six isolates were resistant to an antibiotic with a multidrug-resistance (MDR) pattern. Results showed considerable inhibition of A. calamus extract in all isolates. Maximum inhibition was 17 mm on S. aureus and minimum inhibition of 13mm on A. baumanii at 60 µg concentration. (
• Nephroprotective  / Antioxidant / Acetaminophen Toxicity: Study evaluated the nephroprotective and antioxidant activities of ethanol extract of AC at doses of 250 and 500 mg/;kbw on acetaminophen (APAP) induced toxicity in male albino rats. AC inhibited the hematological effects of APAP, significantly increased activities of renal SOD, catalase, glutathione, and glutathione peroxidase and decreased MDA content of APAP-treated rats. Histopathological changes supported the protective nature of AC against APAP-induced necrotic damage of renal tissues. Results showed nephroprotective and antioxidant activities against APAP induced renal damage. (
• Anti-Carcinogenic and Anti-Angiogenic against Gastric Cancer Cells: Study evaluated the anticancer activity of ethanolic and methanolic rhizome extracts of A. calamus and essential oil on human gastric cancer cell line (AGS). The extracts inhibited the angiogenesis in HUVEC cells. The extracts and essential oil caused G1 arrest in AGS cells and downregulated Oct4 and NS (Nucleostemin) after treatment. GC-MS yielded new compounds epiprezizaene, valencene and isocyclocitral in the essential oil. Results showed antiproliferative and anti-angiogenic effects on cancer cells. (
• Acute and Sub-Acute Oral Toxicity Study: Study evaluated the acute and sub-acute toxicity profile of hydroalcoholic extract of A. calamus (HAE-AC) in mice and rats respectively. On single oral doses of HAE-AC 2,500 and 10,000 mg/kg induced increase in general behavioral abnormalities in nice. LD50 was 5,070.59 mg/kg. Daily single oral doses of HAE 200, 500, and 1000 mg/kg were well tolerated behaviorally after 28 days of dosing and induced no significant changes in body and organ weights of rats. A mild rise in ALT and AST and histopathlogical changes in liver tissue were noted at 1000 mg/kg dose of HAE-AC. Results suggest HAE-AC is non toxic and at high dose has a mild but acceptable toxicity potential. (
• Antispasmodic / Antidiarrheal: Study evaluated the pharmacologic basis for use of the plant as antispasmodic and anti diarrheal. In isolated rabbit jejunum preparation, the crude extract caused inhibition of spontaneous and high K+ (80 mM)-induced contractions with EC50s of 0.42 and 0.13 mg/mL suggesting spasmolytic activity, possibly mediated through calcium channel blockade (CCB). The CCB activity was concentrated in the n-hexane fraction. Results provide strong mechanistic basis for its traditional use in gastrointestinal disorders such as colic pain and diarrhea. (
• Diuretic / Antiurolithiatic / Rhizome: Study evaluated the diuretic and antiurolithiatic activities of ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus rhizome. Ethylene glycol induced urolithiasis. Cystone was used as reference drug. Results showed the EEAC (750 mg/kg p.o.) produced significant increase in urine volume (p<0.001) and urinary excretion of Na+ and K+ electrolytes (p<0.05) comparable to furosemide. In the ethylene glycose induced urolithiatic model, EEAC significantly (p<0.05) decreased excretion and deposition of various urolithiatic promoters in a pattern comparable to cystone. The EEAC also prevented impairment of renal functions. The antiurolithiatic effect is mediated possible through diuretic and nephroprotective actions of the active compounds of the rhizomes. (

Toxicity concerns
- Cancer concerns: Banned from food products in some countries because of cancerous findings in animal studies, using high doses of carcinogenic ß-asarone, present in large amounts in Asian plants, but of limited amounts in European plants. Studies report limited amounts of the toxic derivatives in North American plants.
- Putting the cancer concern in perspective, large doses are fed to test animals in elicit hepatic cancers. Other studies failed to show embryotoxicity or teratogenicity in the embryos of pregnant mice. These test doses are much larger than those found in herbal preparations. Alternativists argue its safety with its more than 2000 years of use by ancient cultures and folk medicinal practices.

- Wild-crafted.
- Usually sold in the Quiapo herbal market.
- Essential oil, seed, powder, leaf and rhizome extracts in the cybermarket.
- Marketed in many herbal formulations.

Updated October 2022 / March 2018 / November 2015

Photo © Godofredo Stuart / StuartXchange
OTHER IMAGE SOURCE: Acoraceae - Acorus calamus. / Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen in naturgetreuen Abbildungen mit kurz erläuterndem Texte. / Köhler’s magnum opus was published in parts from 1883-1898. The first volume was finished in 1887, eight years after his death. The set of three volumes with 283 colour-plates was a noteworthy achievement and included European plants of medicinal interest. From the botanical standpoint the finest and most useful series of illustrations of medicinal plants (Great flower books). The beautiful colour-plates after illustrations by Walther Müller and C.F. Schmidt, which were skillfully rendered in lithography by E. Günther. / MEEMELINK
IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Acorus calamus spathe / Robert H Mohlenbrock / Public Domain / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia
IMAGE SOURCE: Photograph: Acorus calamus inflorescence / H Zell / CC by SA 3.0 / click on image to go to source page / Wikipedia

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings
Antifungal activity of B-asarone from rhizomes of Acorus gramineus / Jee Yeon Lee, Jung Yeop Lee et al / J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (4), pp 776–780 / DOI: 10.1021/jf035204o
Insecticidal activities of asarones identified in Acorus gramineus rhizome against Nilaparvata lugens (Homoptera: Delphacidae) and Plutella xylostella (Lepidoptera: Yponomeutoidae)
Isolation of B-asarone, an antibacterial and anthelmintic compound, from Acorus calamus in South Africa
Pharmacological profile of Acorus calamus: An Overview
Lubigan: Serapion Metilla. Philippine Daily Inquirer. July 3, 2005

Glutathione S-transferase Activity and Hyaluronidase Inhibitory Effect of Medicinal Plants
Study of antidiarrhoeal activity of four medicinal plants in castor-oil induced diarrhoea / Gricilda Shoba and Molly thomas / Journal of Ethnopharmacology • Volume 76, Issue 1, June 2001, Pages 73-76 / doi:10.1016/S0378-8741(00)00379-2
Anti-secretagogue, anti-ulcer and cytoprotective properties of Acorus calamus in rats / S Rafatullah et al / Fiteropia • Vol LXV, No 1, 1994

Insecticidal activity of asarones identified in Acorus gramineus rhizome against three coleopteran stored-product insects / Chan Park, Soon-Il Kim and Young-Joon Ahn / Journal of Stored Products Research, Vol 39, Issue 3, 2003, Pages 333-342 / doi:10.1016/S0022-474X(02)00027-9 |
Inhibitory effects of the fragrance inhalation of essential oil from Acorus gramineus on central nervous system / Koo BS, Park KS et al / Biol Pharm Bull. 2003 Jul;26(7):978-82.
Therapeutic Efficacy of Antihepatotoxic and Antioxidant Activities of Acorus calamus on acetaminophen-induced toxicity in rat / S Palani, S Raja et al / International Journ of Integrative Biology, 2009, Vol 7, No 1 / ISSN: 0973-8363
The treatment of cardiovascular diseases with Chinese medicine / Simon Becker, Bob Flaws, Robert Casañas, p 46 / Google Books
The effect of Acorus gramineus on the bioavailabilities and brain concentrations of ginsenosides Rg1, Re and Rb1 after oral administration of Kai-Xin-San preparations in rats / Wang W, Liao Q O et al / J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Sep 15;131(2):313-20. Epub 2010 Jun 30.
Study on Perfume Stimulating Olfaction with Volatile Oil of Acorus Gramineus for Treatment of the Alzheimer’s Disease Rat / LIU Zhi-bin, NIU Wen-min, YANG Xiao-hang, et al / Journ of Chinese Traditional Med
Contact and fumigant toxicities of calamusenone isolated from Acorus gramineus rhizome against adults of Sitophilus zeamais and Rhizopertha dominica / Yan-Zhang Huang, Hong-Xia Hua et al / Insect Science
Volume 18, Issue 2, pages 181–188, April 2011 / DOI: 10.1111/j.1744-7917.2010.01358.x
Experimental Study of Flavor Adjuvant Treatment of Volatile Oil of Acorus Gramineus for Alzheimer's Disease Rats / LIN Hui-guang, DU Jian, ZHANG Liang-lianget al / DOI CNKI:SUN:FYXB.0.2007-04-010
Psychoactive herbs in veterinary behavior medicine / Stefanie Schwartz / Google Books
Essential Oils and Their Constituents: Anticonvulsant Activity / Reinaldo Nobrega de Almeida, Maria de Fatima Agra et al / Molecules 2011, 16, 2726-2742; doi:10.3390/molecules16032726
Acorus calamus L. / Chinese names / Catalogue of Life, China
Sorting Calamus names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress / The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 - 2000 The University of Melbourne.
Acorus calamus L. (Sweet Flag) / Agricultural and Agri-Food Canada
Toxicity Myths / The Actual Risks Of Essential Oil Use / Ron Guba / From Toxicity Myths - Essential Oils and Cancer
Pharmacognostical and preliminary phytochemical investigation of Acorus calamus linn. / Batra Neha*, Jain Honey, Bairwa Ranjan and Bachwani Mukesh / Asian J. Pharm. Res. 2012; Vol. 2: Issue 1, Pg 39-42
ACORUS CALAMUS: AN OVERVIEW / V. V. Paithankar, S. L. Belsare, R. M. Charde, J. V. Vyas / International Journal of Biomedical Research, Vol 2, No 10, 2011 / doi: 10.7439/ijbr.v2i10.174
Antimicrobial activity of Acorus calamus (l.) rhizome and leaf extract / Asha Devi S and Deepak Ganjewala
/ Acta Biologica Szegediensis, Vol 53(1):45-49
A clinical study on the management of generalized anxiety disorder with Vaca (Acorus calamus) / Bhattacharyya* D, Sur TK, Lyle N, Jana U & Debnath PK / Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge Vol. 10 (4), October 2011, pp. 668-671
Bioanalytical Investigation of Asarone in Connection with Acorus calamus Oil Intoxications / Kristian Bjornstad, Anders Helander, Peter Hulten, and Olof Beck / Journal of Analytical Toxicoloty, Vol 33, Nov-Dec 2009
/ Gopalakrishna H.N, Sudhakar Pemminati*, Shilin Giri, Ashok K Shenoy, G.K.S. Holla, Vinod Nair, Alwar MC, Sheethal D.Ullal / International Journal of Applied Biology and Pharmaceutical Technology, Volume: I: Issue-2: Aug-Oct -2010
Acorus calamus / Synonyms / The Plant List
Anticonvulsant activity of raw and classically processed Vacha (Acorus calamus Linn.) rhizomes / Savitha D. Bhat, B. K. Ashok, R. N. Acharya, and B. Ravishankar / Ayu. 2012 Jan-Mar; 33(1): 119–122. / doi: 10.4103/0974-8520.100328
Toxicity study of ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus rhizome / Payal D Shah, Mrunali Ghag, Pradeep B Deshmukh, Yogesh Kulkarni, Shrikant V Joshi, Bhavin A Vyas, Dinesh R Shah / International Journal of Green Pharmacy, 2012, Volume 6, Issue 1, Pp 29-35
Acorus calamus Linn.: A herbal tonic for central nervous system / Dr. Jina Pattanaik*, Yogesh Kumar, Ravi Shankar Khatri / Journal of Scientific and Innovative Research 2013; 2 (5): 950-954
Bioanalytical Investigation of Asarone in Connection with Acorus calamus Oil Intoxications / Kristian Björnstad, Anders Helander, Peter Hultén, and Olof Beck* / Journal of Analytical Toxicology, Vol. 33, November/December 2009
Attenuating effect of Acorus calamus extract in chronic constriction injury induced neuropathic pain in rats: an evidence of anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective and calcium inhibitory effects / Arunachalam Muthuraman and Nirmal Singh / BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2011, 11, Article No 24 / DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-11-24
Evaluation of Cytotoxic Potential of Acorus calamus Rhizome / Rajkumar V, Gunjan Guha, Ashok Kumar R* and Lazar Mathew / Ethnobotanical Leaflets 13:832-39, 2009
Cytotoxic properties of Acorus calamus in MCF -7 breast cancer cells / S.B. Sreejaya and K.S. Santhy* / International Journal of Current Research and Academic Review, 2013, Vol 1, No1, pp 106-111
STUDY OF ANALGESIC ACTIVITY OF THE METHANOLIC EXTRACT OF ACORUS CALAMUS L. AND OROXYLUM INDICUM VENT BY ACETIC ACID INDUCED WRITHING METHOD / S.M. Zahid Hosen, Rasel Das, Zahed Bin Rahim, Nipa Chowdhury, Linkon Paul and Dibyajyoti Saha / Bulletin of Pharmaceutical Research 2011;1(3):63-7
Efficacy study of the bioactive fraction (F-3) of Acorus calamus in hyperlipidemia / T D Souza, S A Mengi, S. Hassarajani, S. Chattopadhayay / Indian J. Pharmacol, August 2007, Vol 39, Issue 4, pp 196-200
Sweet flag (Acorus calamus Linn.): An incredible medicinal herb / Hashmat Imam, Zarnigar Riaz, Mohd Azhar, Ghulamuddin Sofi, Azad Hussain / |International Journal of Green Pharmacy, October-December 2013 / DOI: 10.4103/0973-8258.122053
Calamus: Drug Interactions / WebMD
The Pharmacognostic Specification of Acorus calamus Dried Rhizome with Special Reference to α- and ß - Asarone Contents in its Essential Oil / Atcha Somnuk, Chanida Palanuvej*, Nijsiri Ruangrungsi / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 26(2), May – Jun 2014; pp: 97-100
In vitro Antimicrobial Effect of Essential oil from Leaf and Rhizome of Various Accessions of Acorus calamus Linn., and Its Phytochemical Screening / Avani Kasture, Shuchi Patel, Jigna Chauhan and R. Krishnamurthy / European Journal of Medicinal Plants, 9(2): 1-13, 2015 / DOI: 10.9734/EJMP/2015/17318
ANTIDIARRHOEAL ACTIVITY OF LEAVES OF ACORUS CALAMUS / M.D. Kapadia* and A.R. Kharat / Int J Pharm Sci Res 2012; 3(10): pp 3847-3850.
Apoptotic Activity of Acorus calamus on Oral Cancer Cell Lines / Monica Antony, Gayathri R*, Vishnu Priya V / Int. J. Pharm. Sci. Rev. Res., 44(1), May-June 2017; Article No 8, pp 30-32
/ Vellayutham Ravichandiran and Patil Vishal S* / Int. Res. J. Pharm. 2015, 6 (7) / DOI: 10.7897/2230-8407.06792
Blood Pressure-lowering and Vascular Modulator Effects of Acorus calamus Extract Are Mediated Through Multiple Pathways / Shah, Abdul Jabbar PhD*; Gilani, Anwarul Hassan PhD / Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology, July 2009; 54(1): pp 38-46 / DOI:10.1097/FJC.0b013e3181aa5781
Antifungal activity of ethanolic and petroleum ether extracts of some medicinal plants against the plant pathogenic fungus Sclerotium rolfsii sacc. / Bapat U C, Smrity Prabha and Jyoti Kumar / International Journal of Bioassays, 5(7); 2016: pp 4714-4719
Chongtham, Koijam Solenia Chanu / World Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, Vol 3, Issue 3 (2014)
Repellant and insecticidal activities of shyobunone and isoshyobunone derived from the essential oil of Acorus calamus rhizomes / Hai-Ping Chen, Kai Yang, Li-Shi Zheng, Chun-Xue You, Qian Cai, Cheng-Fang Wang / Pharmacognosy Magazine (2015), Vol 11, Issue 44: pp 675-681 / DOI: 10.4103/0973-1296.165543
Evaluation of wound-healing activty of Acorus calamus Linn. / Nilesh Jain, Ruchi Jain, Arti Jain, Deepak Kumar Jain and H S Chandel / Natural Product Research, 2010; 24(6): pp 534-541 /
DOI: 10.1080/14786410802531782
Metabolism mediated interaction of α-asarone and Acorus calamus with CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 / Subrata Pandit, Pulok K Mukherjee et al / Fitoterapia, 2011; 83(3): pp 369-374
Supplemental ultraviolet-B induced changes in essential oil composition and total phenolics of Acorus calamus (seet flag) / Rima Kuumari, S B Agrawa, Suruchi Singh, NK Dubey / Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety, 2009; 72(7) / pp 2013-2019
Acorus calamus: Scientific Validation of Ayurvedic Tradition from Natural Resources / Pulok Kumar Mukherjee, Venkatesan Kumar, Mainak Mal, Peter J Houghton / Pharmaceutical Biology, 2007; 45(8): pp 651-666 / DOI: 10.1080/13880200701538724
Efficacy of Acorus calamus on collahgen maturation on full thickness cutaneous wounds in rats / Thangavel Ponrasu, Karuppanan Natarajan Madhukumar, Lonchin Suguna / Pharmacogn Mag., 2014; 10(S2): pp 299-305 / DOI: 10.4103/0973-1296.133283 / PMID:24991107
Anticellular and immunosuppressive properties of ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus rhizome / S Mehrotra, KP Mishra, R Maurya, VK Singh et al / International Immunopharmacology, 2003; 3(1): pp 53-61 / DOI: 10.1016/S1567-5769(02)00212-6
Experimebntal evidence for use of Acorus calamus (asarone) for cancer chemoprevention / Bhrigu Kumar Das, Promod C Gadad et al / Heliyon, 2019; 5(5): e01585 / DOI: 10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e01585
Acorus calamus rhizome extract mediated biosynthesis of silver nanoparticles and their bactericidal activity against human pathogens / Chinnappan Sudhakar. Kandasamy Selvam, Thangasamy Selvakumar et al / Journal of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Dec 2015; 13(2): pp 93-99 /
DOI: 10.1016/j.jgeb.2015.10.003
Neuroprotective effect of saponin rich extract of Acorus calamus L. in rat model of chronic constriction injury (CCI) of sciatic nerve-induced neuropathic pain / Arunachalam Muthuraman, Nirmal Siingh / Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2012; 142(3): pp 723-731 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.05.049
Protective Effect of Acorus calamus Linn. on Free Radical Scavengers and Lipid Peroxidation in Discrete Regions of Brain Against Noise Stress Exposed Rat / Sundaramahalingam Manikandam, Ramasundaram Srikumar et al /  Biological and Pharmaceutical  Bulletin, 2005; 28(12) / eISSN: 1347-5215 / pISSN: 0918-6158 / L-ISSN: 0918-6158 / DOI: 10.1248/bpb.28.2327
Evaluation of the Antimicrobial Activity of Extracts from Acorus calamus Rhizome against Multidrug-Resistant Nosocomial Pathogens / Research Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2021; 12(5): pp 1613-1617 / pISSN: 0976-1675 / eISSN: 2249-4538
Therapeutic efficacy of Acorus calamus on acetaminophen induced nephrotoxicity and oxidative stress in male albino rats / S Palani, S Raja, R Praveen Kumar, P Parameswaran, B Senthil Kumar / Acta Pharmaceutica Sciencia, 2010; 52: pp 89-100
Anti-carcinogenic and anti-angiogenic properties of extracts of Acorus calamus on gastric cancer cells / Samaneh Rahamooz Haghighi, Malek Hossein Asadi, Hassan Akrami, Amin Baghizadeh / Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine, 2017; 7(2): pp 145-156 / PMID: 28348970
Acute and sub-acute oral toxicity profile of Acorus calamus (Sweet flag) in rodents / Arunachalam Muthuraman, Nirmal Singh / Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Feb 2012; 2(2S): pp 1017-1023 / DOI: 10.1016/S2221-1691(12)60354-2
Antispasmodic effect of Acorus calamus Liinn. is mediated through calcium channel blockade / Anwar ul Hassan Gilani, Farzana Shaheen, Abdul Jabbar Shah, Manzoor Ahmad / Phytotherapy Research, 20(12): pp 1080-1084 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2000
Diuretic and antiurolithiatic activities of an ethanolic extract of Acorus calamus L. rhizome in experimental animal models / Hardik Ghelani, Maunik Chapala, Pinakin Jadav / Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, Oct 2016; 6(4): pp 431-436 / DOI: 10.1016/j.jtcme.2015.12.004
Essential oil composition of Acorus calamus from District-Pithoragarh, Uttarakhad, India / Deepak Chandra, Kundan Prasad et al / World Journal of Phamaceutical Research, 4(9): pp 1158-1166 / ISSN: 2277-7105

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