Acore Calame, Acore Odorant, Acore Olorant, Acore Roseau, Acorus americanus, Acorus asiaticus, Acorus calamus, Acorus gramineus, Acorus Roseau, Acorus tatarinowii, Acorus terrestris, Aruna, Bach, Bajai, Baje, Belle-Angélique, Bhutanashini, Cálamo, Calamo Aromatic, Calamus Root, Cinnamon Sedge, Flag Root, Flagroot, Gladdon, Golomi, Grass-Leaf Sweetflag, Grass Myrtle, Ikshuparni, Jatila, Kalmoeswortel, Kalmus, Lomasha, Myrtle Flag, Myrtle Sedge, Sadgrantha, Shadgrandha, Shatvarvika, Shi Chang Pu, Sweet Calomel, Sweet Calamus, Sweet Cane, Sweet Cinnamon, Sweet Flag, Sweet Grass, Sweet Myrtle, Sweet Root, Sweet Rush, Sweet Sedge, Ugragandha, Vach, Vacha, Vachha, Vadaja, Vaj, Vasa, Vash, Vashambu, Vayambu, Vayambur, Vekhand, Waan-Nam.


Overview Information

Calamus is a plant. The root (rhizome) is used to make medicine.

Despite safety concerns, calamus is commonly used for stomach problems, skin problems, earache, and to remove the smell of tobacco, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

In foods, calamus is used as a spice.

How does it work?

It is thought that chemicals in calamus cause muscle relaxation and sleepiness. These chemicals might also reduce swelling, kill cancer cells, and kill insects.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Ulcers.
  • Gas.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Colic.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Increasing appetite.
  • Infection of the intestines.
  • To induce vomiting or sweating.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
  • Diabetes.
  • Fever.
  • Lung problems.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Liver problems.
  • Depression.
  • Seizures.
  • Obesity.
  • Arthritis.
  • Headache.
  • Memory problems.
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Earache.
  • Removing smell of tobacco from the mouth.
  • Toothache.
  • Strokes.
  • Skin disorders.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of calamus for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Calamus is LIKELY UNSAFE. The FDA prohibits calamus use in food products because three of the four species of calamus found in the world contain a cancer-causing chemical called beta-asarone. However, the amount of beta-asarone can vary widely among species from 0% to 96%, so some products may be safer than others. The most common side effect from calamus is vomiting. Fast heart rate and slowed intestinal movements have also been reported.

When applied to the skin: There isn't enough reliable information to know if calamus is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Calamus is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth during pregnancy or breast-feeding. Avoid use.

Heart conditions: Calamus might lower blood pressure and heart rate. In theory, large amounts of calamus might worsen heart problems in some people with heart conditions.

Low blood pressure: Calamus might lower blood pressure. In theory, taking calamus might make blood pressure become too low in people with low blood pressure.

Surgery: Calamus can affect the central nervous system. It might cause too much sleepiness if combined with medications used during and after surgery. If you are using calamus despite safety concerns, stop using it at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.



Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with CALAMUS

    Calamus contains a chemical that affects the body. This chemical might increase the side effects of some medications used for depression.Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with CALAMUS

    Calamus might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking calamus along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Minor Interaction

Be watchful with this combination

  • Antacids interacts with CALAMUS

    Antacids are used to decrease stomach acid. Calamus may increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, calamus might decrease the effectiveness of antacids.Some antacids include calcium carbonate (Tums, others), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, others), magaldrate (Riopan), magnesium sulfate (Bilagog), aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel), and others.

  • Medications that decrease stomach acid (H2-Blockers) interacts with CALAMUS

    Calamus might increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, calamus might decrease the effectiveness of some medications that decrease stomach acid, called H2-Blockers.Some medications that decrease stomach acid include cimetidine (Tagamet), ranitidine (Zantac), nizatidine (Axid), and famotidine (Pepcid).

  • Medications that decrease stomach acid (Proton pump inhibitors) interacts with CALAMUS

    Calamus might increase stomach acid. By increasing stomach acid, calamus might decrease the effectiveness of medications that are used to decrease stomach acid, called proton pump inhibitors.Some medications that decrease stomach acid include omeprazole (Prilosec), lansoprazole (Prevacid), rabeprazole (Aciphex), pantoprazole (Protonix), and esomeprazole (Nexium).



The appropriate dose of calamus depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for calamus. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


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  • Aqil, F., Ahmad, I., and Owais, M. Evaluation of anti-methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) activity and synergy of some bioactive plant extracts. Biotechnol.J 2006;1(10):1093-1102. View abstract.
  • Cho, J., Kong, J. Y., Jeong, D. Y., Lee, K. D., Lee, D. U., and Kang, B. S. NMDA recepter-mediated neuroprotection by essential oils from the rhizomes of Acorus gramineus. Life Sci. 2-16-2001;68(13):1567-1573. View abstract.
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  • Hanson, K. M., Gayton-Ely, M., Holland, L. A., Zehr, P. S., and Soderberg, B. C. Rapid assessment of beta-asarone content of Acorus calamus by micellar electrokinetic capillary chromatography. Electrophoresis 2005;26(4-5):943-946. View abstract.
  • Hu, B. Y. and Ji, Y. Y. [Research on the anticarcinogenic activation of Acorus calcamus. Anticarcinogenic activation of alpha-asarone on human carcinoma cells]. Zhong.Xi.Yi.Jie.He.Za Zhi. 1986;6(8):480-3, 454. View abstract.
  • Komalamisra, N., Trongtokit, Y., Rongsriyam, Y., and Apiwathnasorn, C. Screening for larvicidal activity in some Thai plants against four mosquito vector species. Southeast Asian J Trop.Med Public Health 2005;36(6):1412-1422. View abstract.
  • Koo, B. S., Park, K. S., Ha, J. H., Park, J. H., Lim, J. C., and Lee, D. U. Inhibitory effects of the fragrance inhalation of essential oil from Acorus gramineus on central nervous system. Biol Pharm.Bull. 2003;26(7):978-982. View abstract.
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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

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