Home Herbal Monograph Sweet Flag, Calamus,Sweet Root

It is found growing wild and is also cultivated throughout India, ascending to an altitude of 2,200m in the Himalayas.


A.calamus is a semi-aquatic, perennial, aromatic herb with creeping rhizomes. The rhizome is horizontal, jointed, somewhat vertically compressed and spongy within. It is pale to dark brown in colour; the leaves are grass-like or sword shaped, long and slesnder; flowers are small, yellow-green and in a spadix.

Principal Constituents

The important constituents of Indian calamus oil are asarone and its -isomer. The dried rhizomes constitute the drug Calamus of commerce. The rhizomes, roots and leaves yield a light brown to brownish yellow volatile oil known as Calamus oil.


In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the rhizomes are considered to possess anti-spasmodic, carminative and anthelmintic properties, and, are used for the treatment of a host of diseases such as epilepsy and other mental ailments, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fevers, glandular and abdominal tumours. They are also used to treat kidney and liver troubles, rheumatism and eczema.