Calamus Root


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Calamus root, Acorus calamus, is an herbaceous perennial growing in marshes, swamps, and other wetland habitats. Calamus is one of the earliest and oldest monocots. The entire plant is aromatic and has sword-shaped leaves and tiny, greenish-yellow flowers. Calamus mostly propagates through its rhizomatous root system, and the roots have traditionally been used in herbal practices.

From Matthew Wood, I learned that Calamus root has been traditionally used to “open the orifices” and to allow the inner spirit to reach out into the world.

In Europe the root is chewed to relieve digestive gas; in China it is used like a throat lozenge.

Also called sweet flag, the leaves were once strewn on floors for their pleasant aroma. Calamus root can be used in topical applications, to scent cosmetic products, and in some internal applications under the supervision of a qualified expert.  Used in a bath to treat wintertime joint pain.

Herbalist 7Song uses it in situations where people need help with mental focus, including from injury or illness (like Lyme disease), or simply exhausted students.

Calamus is a member of the Araceae family and also goes by the names of acorus, sweet calamus, sweetflag and vacha. Native to Eastern countries, Acorus calamus has since spread to Europe, Japan and the Northern United States.

Walt Whitman wrote 39 poems for calamus in his famous work, “Leaves of Grass”.

2 oz dried root


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