The Gerson Institute of Ayurvedic Medicine

Scott Gerson, M.D., Ph.D. (Ayurveda) Medical Director, Jupiter Medical Center Dept. of Integrative Medicine Division of Education and Research

Jupiter Medical Center at The Calcagnini Center for Mindfulness
1210 S. Old Dixie Highway, Jupiter, Florida 33458, Suite M-117.2


 (561) 263-MIND (6463); option #2 or (561) 510-3833
Executive Office: 1116 Jackpine St. Wellington, Florida 33414                                                                                                                                                                     

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M e d i c i n a l P l a n t s

Latin:Acorus calamus Linn.
Family: Araceae

Vernacular names: Sanskrit - Vacha; Hindi - Bach; English - Sweet Flag; Unani - Buch; Tamil - Vasamber; Persian - Agar turki; Japanese - Shobu; Chinese - Shui chang; German - Kalmus

Part Used: Rhizome

Ayurvedic Energetics:
Rasa: bitter, pungent
Veerya: heating
Vipaka: pungent
Gunas: light, sharp, subtle

Doshas: VP- ; K+

Pharmacological Action: nervine, antispasmatic, sedative, stomachic, expectorant, emetic, laxative, diuretic

Clinical Research: The essential oil free alcoholic extract of the rhizome was found to possess sedtive and analgesic properties; it has moderate hypotensive and respiratory depressant effects. When administered to experimental animals the oil reduces muscle tone and response to tactile and auditory stimuli. Asarone and beta-asarone are the constituents credited with the sedative and nervine effects. The alcoholic extract has also shown antifungal effects.

Traditional Uses: Sweet Flag is presently classified as an unsafe herb for internal usage by the FDA. It has been used for centuries, however, in Ayurvedic medicine as a renowned rejuvenator of the nervous system for conditions of anxiety, hysteria, insomnia, neurasthenia, and other nervous complaints. It is useful in all conditions of excess vata and is known to enhance awareness and improve memory. A decoction of the root acts as a carminative removing discomfort caused by excess intestinal gas. According to Duke, Orientals use the root decoction in bronchitis and as an aphrodisiac. A small piece of the root is chewed to overcome mental fatigue. The skin of the root is hemostatic. It has been used in dyspepsia, dysentery, headache, gout, and rheumatism. The juice of the root is applied to boils, carbuncles, and painful joints. In large doses it is emetic. The powdered root is used as a snuff to relieve nasal congestion and mental weariness.

Indications: mental fatigue, memory loss, anxiety, bronchitis, sinusitus, common headache, flatulence, joint pains

Formulations and Dosage:
decoction : 1 tsp. boiled 4-5 minutes in 11/2 cups water)
milk decoction with powdered ginger (for digestive indications)
powder :100-250 mg intranasally

Kapoor, LD, CRC Handbook of Med Ayurvedic Plants,CRC Press, 18, 1990
Willaman, JJ and Li, HL, Alkaloid bearing plants and their contained alkaloids, J Nat Prod Suppl., 33 (3A), 1970.