Calamus: 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
Calamus: 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.

Calamus: 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.

Calamus: The Rest of the Story
calamus history, literature, folklore & more

using calamus for your stomach ills
Are you having problems with your digestive system? If you're suffering from problems with your appetite, gas, or even indigestion, calamus may be an herb you want to keep in your stock of supplies. Calamus is an herb that's native to the region of India and Asia. Some varieties of it are actually grown in North America as well.

Over the years, calamus has been used to treat a variety of issues such as colic, fevers, and was even used to treat epilepsy. However, in modern herbal medicine, it's settled into good use as a tonic for problems with the 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 and restore you to good health. 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 even help you to get a better night of sleep. It contains a mild sedative and can actually help you to get relief from 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 that contains medicinal properties. 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 dosage.

If you suffer from chronic stomach problems, calamus can be a great supplement to keep on hand at all times. If you stock up on it, you'll have it whenever a bout of bad gas or indigestion creeps up on you. Using calamus can keep you from having to use unnatural chemicals manufactured by pharmaceutical companies. You'll be handling your problems more naturally and without side effects.