shopping Calamus - two varieties
Calamus root, c/s, wild crafted image
[ 381 ]Acorus calamus

Calamus Root Cut & Sifted, Wild Crafted

1/4 Pound:  $7.90 Pound:  $17.55 
Calamus root, powder image
[ 312 ]Acorus calamus

Calamus Root Powder

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Wholesale Calamus

Acorus calamus
plant overview
sweet and semi-aquatic calamus

Calamus, more commonly known as Sweet Flag, is a semi-aquatic plant found alongside ponds and streams. Other common names in use for this plant, such as Sweet Rush and Cinnamon Sedge, refer to the sweet aroma of the dried calamus root and its use in flavoring beverages. Another nickname, German ginger, refers to the fact that the powdered calamus root is an ingredient in some European wines and aperitifs. Calamus root uses also include substitution for ground cinnamon, nutmeg, and, of course, ginger.

Clicking "learn more" next to each variety will take you to individual product pages for details.

A Bit of Botany

a little bit of botany about calamus

Calamus is a tall perennial wetland monocot of the Acoraceae family. In spite of several of the common names it is neither a rush or sedge. It produces tiny green flowers, but does not bear fruit. The leaves are stem-less, shaped like spears and arranged in dual rows. The root system consists of shallow branching rhizomes that are stout and knobby; they have a brown exterior and white interior. A tuft of basal leaves occur at intervals along these rhizomes, while coarse fibrous roots develop below. The rhizome yields an oil that is highly fragrant and imparts a bitter flavor.

Calamus is 1-4' tall, consisting of tufts of basal leaves that emerge directly from a spreading rootstock. These basal leaves are erect and sword-shaped, resembling the basal leaves of Iris, but more green. They are flattened on one side more than the other, smooth along the margins, and have parallel veins. There is often an off-center ridge/indentation along the length of each leaf. Sometimes the bases of the leaves or their margins are slightly red.

Some leaves develop a cylindrical spadix that is about 2–4" in length and semi-erect. This spadix is covered with tiny greenish yellow flowers in a diamond-shaped pattern. Each flower has 6 tepals and 6 stamens.

The spathe is regarded as absent by some authorities, while others consider the spathe to be a bract-like extension of the basal leaf.

The blooming period occurs from late spring to early summer and lasts about a month. Both the crushed foliage and rootstocks have a pleasant aromatic fragrance. Because Sweet Flag is a sterile polyploid species, it doesn't produce any fruit with fertile seeds. This plant spreads vegetatively by its rhizomes and often forms colonies.

common names & nomenclature
The Latin word acorus is derived from the Greek áchórou, which is derived from kóri which means pupil (of an eye). The Latin word calamus means "cane". The name sweet flag refers to its sweet scent and its similarity to Iris species, which have been commonly known as flags in English since the late fourteenth century.

Also known as:
calamus, sweet flag, cinnamon sedge, sweet sedge, sweet root, sweet cane, sweet rush, myrtle grass, myrtle flag, gladdon, german ginger, beewort, bitter pepper root, calamus root, flag root, myrtle root, myrtle sedge, pine root, rat root, sea sedge, sweet cinnamon, sweet grass, sweet myrtle

Calamus, the sweet and semi-aquatic plant

Where in the World

habitat and range for calamus

Calamus is native to India and North America and naturalized in Europe, Australia, Siberia, China, Japan and Indonesia.

Cultivation & Harvesting

considerations for growing and harvesting calamus

Calamus grows in part to full sun in sedge meadows that are prone to flooding, edges of small lakes and ponds, marshes, swamps, seeps and springs, and wetland restorations.

Calamus prefers to grow in wet mucky ground or shallow water along shores. This species is semi-aquatic.

Calamus is best propagated by division. Divide the roots anytime except during active flowering for best results.

Harvest calamus root in late autumn or early spring. Choose only roots that are under 3 years old as older roots tend to become tough and hollow.

Dry the roots completely and cut into small pieces or grind into powder. Store in airtight containers in a cool, dry place.

The Rest of the Story

additional information

Using calamus for your occasional stomach ills

If your digestion and intestines give you trouble, you may want to keep Calamus root on hand. Calamus is used to alleviate gas and indigestion and can stimulate a poor appetite. Native to India and Asia, some varieties of Calamus are grown in North America. Calamus has a long history of use in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as well as American and Indonesian folk medicine. Traditionally, calamus has been used for a wide range of health conditions, from cough and fever to skin conditions and hemorrhoids. However, in modern herbalism, it's settled into practical use as a tonic to sooth and support a healthy digestive system.

Calamus can be used for just about any stomach problem you can imagine. If you're suffering from lack of appetite, taking calamus can help restore your appetite. If you're suffering from bloating and gas, calamus can help to provide relief and comfort to you by eliminating gas. If you have indigestion, calamus can help to settle your stomach. It will make you more comfortable and may even help you to get a better night of sleep. It contains a mild sedative and can actually help you to get relief from temporary motion sickness as well.

Intestinal cramps can be relieved from the North American version of calamus. If you’re suffering from problems with diarrhea and cramping, this version may appeal to you. And while no one wants to think about this problem, calamus can also help to kill intestinal worms and expel them from the body.

While it's mostly used for the stomach, some people do still use it externally for muscle aches. It can also be added to a warm bath to help relieve muscle fatigue and discomfort. However, this isn't its most popular use.

Calamus can be taken in several ways. The root is the most effective part of the plant. You’ll want to purchase the calamus as powdered root. It can be used in tinctures and decoctions to suit your needs. Make sure to follow the instructions of the manufacturer to take the correct amount.

Formulas & recipes
What is calamus root used for?
Calamus root is mostly used for aromatic and cosmetic purposes, it is not as common to use calamus root internally today, though it used to be used to make calamus root tinctures and teas. How to make calamus root teas can still be found online, but should not be used.

Potpourri mixes and added aromatics to beauty products are the most common calamus root uses. The calamus root’s aroma is often compared to cinnamon, offering both sweet and peppery aromatics to whatever recipe it is being used in. Calamus root benefits include masking unwanted smells when used to make incense or potpourri.

for educational purposes only

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

please be advised:  Before making any changes to your diet you should always consult with your doctor, especially if you are pregnant, nursing or have existing conditions.

All reviews solely reflect the views and opinions expressed by the reviewer and not that of Monterey Bay Herb Co. We do not verify or endorse any claims made by any reviewer. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition.