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Health Benefits of Calamus

Health Benefits of Calamus

INTRODUCTION

Calamus is a perennial herb that grows in wetlands. It belongs to the genus, Acorus and the Acoraceae Family. It is also known as Sweet root and Rat root to name a few. It is found all over the world. It is a semi-aquatic perennial that is cultivated in the damp and marshy lands of India and Burma. The plant is quite big in size with sword shaped leaves that are yellow-green in colour. It is commonly found in Manipur and the Naga hills of India. The plant grows mainly on the edges of lakes and streams.

PRIMARY USES

The plant is traditionally used as a tranquilizer and in general is considered to be a wonder drug. It may also be used as a flavouring substance. Overall, the medicinal uses of Calamus overshadow any other use. The oil that is extracted from the calamus root is reported to possess sedative and muscle relaxant properties.

CHEMICAL CONTENT

Calamus comprises of about 1.5% to 3.5% of a volatile oil that is a characteristic of the plant’s odour and taste. There are about four different varieties of Calamus which grow in different parts around the world. The oil extracted from most of these varieties is comprised of beta-asarone also known as cis-isoasarone (up to 75%). Other than beta-isorone, a dozen other different fragrant compounds have also been identified in the oil.

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HEALTH BENEFITS

Calamus is a highly revered herb in the Ayurvedas. Due to a wide range of applications in medicines, this plant proves to be very useful for human use. Here are some of the benefits of using this herb:

  1. Helps to stop the habit of chewing tobacco

    Chewing tobacco is one of the few bad habits we have in India. Chewing the root of calamus helps kill the taste of tobacco thus helping in killing off the habit as well.

  2. Vital part of perfume industry

    The oil of the calamus plant is an essential component in the perfume industry. Due to its aroma, the oil is highly valued in the perfume industry.

  3. Treats sore throats

    The root of the calamus plant is used to make tea that can be used to treat sore throats.

  4. Remedy for a variety of ailments

    Calamus plant is believed to be a remedy for a variety of diseases like arthritis, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc.

  5. Effective External uses

    The plant when used externally can be used as a treatment for skin diseases, rheumatic pain and neuralgia.

  6. Respiratory reliefs

    The root of the calamus plant can be used internally to treat respiratory diseases like bronchitis, sinusistis etc.

  7. Helps in increasing appetite

    The root of the calamus plant also has helps in increasing the appetite of the stomach and also helps in lowering acidity problems of the stomach.

  8. Has anti-bacterial and antioxidant properties

    Both the root and the leaves of Calamus have antibacterial, antioxidant and insecticidal properties.

PARTS USED

The leaves and root of the calamus plant are more useful than any other part of the plant. The scented leaves and the stronger odour rhizomes are used medicinally. The dried and powdered rhizomes have been known to be viable alternatives for spices such as ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg. The oil of calamus plant is used as an insecticide. The root of the plant has stomachic, expectorant, sedative, stimulant and hallucinogenic properties.

SIDE EFFECTS

There are very few side effects related to the usage of calamus plant as a medicinal herb. The overdose of the oil can induce mild hallucinations. Large doses of the root of calamus may increase stomach secretions. Calamus is considered to be mutagenic and due to genotoxic properties, use is not recommended in case of pregnant women.

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