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Useful Tropical Plants

Acorus calamus

L.

Acoraceae


Acorus calamus has diploid, triploid, and tetraploid forms. Diploids are known to grow naturally in E Asia (Mongolia and C Siberia, at least) and North America; tetraploids are known only from Asia (India, E Siberia, and Japan); and triploids are typical for the plants in Europe, SW Asia, India (Himalayan region), and E North America. These forms are sometimes treated as distinct species, at other times as a single variable species, and at other times are separated into three distinct forms of the species Acorus calamus. Because the medicinal benefits of each form potentially differ, we are following the treatment in the Kew 'World Checklist of Selected Plant Families' which treats it as a single species with three distinct forms[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
The form found growing in India, China and parts of tropical Asia is the tetraploid form, Acorus calamus angustatus Besser[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].

+ Synonyms

Acorus americanus (Raf.) Raf.

Acorus angustatus Raf.

Acorus angustifolius Schott

Acorus aromaticus Gilib.

Acorus asiaticus Nakai

Acorus belangeri Schott

Acorus casia Bertol.

Acorus cochinchinensis (Lour.) Schott

Acorus commersonii Schott

Acorus commutatus Schott

Acorus elatus Salisb.

Acorus europaeus Dumort.

Acorus flexuosus Raf.

Acorus floridanus Raf.

Acorus gramineus crassispadix Lingelsh.

Acorus griffithii Schott

Acorus latifolius Z.Y.Zhu

Acorus nilghirensis Schott

Acorus odoratus Lam.

Acorus rumphianus S.Y.Hu

Acorus spurius Schott

Acorus tatarinowii Schott

Acorus terrestris Rumph. ex Schott

Acorus terrestris Spreng.

Acorus triqueter Turcz. ex Schott

Acorus undulatus Stokes

Acorus verus (L.) Raf.

Acorus verus Garsault

Calamus aromaticus Garsault

Orontium cochinchinense Lour.

Common Name: Sweet Flag

Acorus calamus
Flowering plant
Photograph by: H. Zell
Creative Commons License
Acorus calamus Acorus calamus Acorus calamus Acorus calamus Acorus calamus Acorus calamus

General Information

Sweet flag is a stemless herbaceous perennial plant producing a clump of sword-shaped leaves up to 150cm tall from an extensively-branched, creeping rhizome that is up to 3cm in diameter[
310
Title
Plant Resources of Southeast Asia
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://proseanet.org/
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Lots of information on the uses of the plants of SE Asia.
].
Sweet flag is a multipurpose plant with a wide range of used as a medicine, food and source of materials. It has a long history of use as a medicinal and culinary plant, dating back 2,000 years or more, and has often been cultivated for this purpose, though it is more commonly allowed to naturalize and then be harvested from the wild. It is often grown as an ornamental[
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
].

Known Hazards

The plant is found in three distinct forms, one diploid, one triploid and one tetraploid. Each of these forms has a distinct chemistry - in particular the make up of the essential oil differs considerably. The essential oil obtained from all of the forms contains asarone, which like any essential oil can be toxic in quite small quantities if ingested in its pure form. In addition, the asarone is found in two forms, alpha and beta. Research has shown that the beta form has potential carcinogenic and hepatotoxic effects upon the body if used in quantity. The diploid form of the species (found in parts of northern Asia and much of N. America) is free of beta-asarone, whilst the tetraploid form (found in central Asia, through India, Japan and tropical Asia) contains 90 - 95% beta asarone. The triploid form, found in Europe, southwest Asia to the Himalayas) contains a small percentage of beta-asarone[
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
].
The form most likely to be encountered medicinally in the tropics, especially in Asia, is the tetraploid form (which is the one richest in beta-asarone), since it is the form that grows there[
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
In practice however, when the whole root is used medicinally, even the beta-asarone-rich form of the plant is safe and beneficial to use - as is shown by its wide-spread medicinal use in Asia and the lack of any connection with incidentsof cancer or liver damage[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
,
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
].

Botanical References

200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
,
266
Title
Flora of China
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://flora.huh.harvard.edu/china/
Publisher
Missouri Botanical Garden Press; St. Louis.
Year
1994
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent, comprehensive resource in 25 volumes. In addition to the botanical information the flora also gives basic information on habitat and some uses. An on-line version is also available.

Range

Widely spread from the Caucasus through western Asia and Siberia to China, India and southeast Asia. Much of N. America. Widely naturalized elsewhere.

Habitat

Found in moist soils and shallow water in ditches, marshes, river edges and ponds[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
100
Title
Flowers of Europe - A Field Guide.
Publication
 
Author
Polunin. O.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1969
ISBN
0192176218
Description
An excellent and well illustrated pocket guide for those with very large pockets. Also gives some details on plant uses.
,
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

Properties

Edibility Rating *  *  *
Medicinal Rating *  *  *  *
Other Uses Rating *  *  *
HabitPerennial
Height1.00 m
PollinatorsInsects
Cultivation StatusCultivated, Ornamental, Wild

Cultivation Details

Sweet flag is a widespread plant that can be found from the cold temperate zone right through to the tropics. It is tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions, though it grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 18 - 26°c, and can tolerate 4 - 30°c[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. When dormant, the plant can survive temperatures down to about -25°c[
187
Title
Perennials. Volumes 1 and 2.
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Rix. M.
Publisher
Pan Books
Year
1991
ISBN
0-330-30936-9
Description
Photographs of over 3,000 species and cultivars of ornamental plants together with brief cultivation notes, details of habitat etc.
,
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 700 - 2,000mm, but tolerates 430 - 4,200mm[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
Succeeds in a wide range of soils, requiring a position in shallow water or in a very moist loamy soil[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Requires a sunny position[
200
Title
The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Publication
 
Author
Huxley. A.
Publisher
MacMillan Press
Year
1992
ISBN
0-333-47494-5
Description
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5.5 to 6.5, tolerating 5 - 7.5[
418
Title
Ecocrop
Publication
 
Author
 
Website
http://ecocrop.fao.org/ecocrop/srv/en/home
Publisher
 
Year
0
ISBN
 
Description
Basic information on a wide range of useful plants, plus details of environmental needs where available.
].
The plant never sets seed unless it is growing in water[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. It can spread quite freely at the roots and soon becomes established.

Edible Uses

The rhizome is candied and made into a sweetmeat[
2
Title
Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Hedrick. U. P.
Publisher
Dover Publications
Year
1972
ISBN
0-486-20459-6
Description
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
,
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
,
55
Title
Eat the Weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Harris. B. C.
Publisher
Pivot Health
Year
1973
ISBN
-
Description
Interesting reading.
,
62
Title
A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T. and Dykeman. P.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold
Year
1982
ISBN
0442222009
Description
Very readable.
,
115
Title
The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Publication
 
Author
Johnson. C. P.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. It can be peeled and washed to remove the bitterness and then eaten raw like a fruit[
106
Title
The Dictionary of Useful Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Coon. N.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-87857-090-x
Description
Interesting reading but short on detail.
,
179
Title
Famine Foods listed in the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
Publication
 
Author
Reid. B. E.
Publisher
Southern Materials Centre; Taipei
Year
1977
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
]. It makes a palatable vegetable when roasted[
192
Title
Narcotic Plants
Publication
 
Author
Emboden. W.
Publisher
Studio Vista
Year
1979
ISBN
0-289-70864-8
Description
A lot of details about the history, chemistry and use of narcotic plants, including hallucinogens, stimulants, inebriants and hypnotics.
] and can also be used as a flavouring[
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. Rich in starch, the root contains about 1% of an essential oil that is used as a food flavouring[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
,
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
]. The root also contains a bitter glycoside[
179
Title
Famine Foods listed in the Chiu-Huang Pen-ts'ao.
Publication
 
Author
Reid. B. E.
Publisher
Southern Materials Centre; Taipei
Year
1977
ISBN
-
Description
A translation of an ancient Chinese book on edible wild foods. Fascinating.
]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavour and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
55
Title
Eat the Weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Harris. B. C.
Publisher
Pivot Health
Year
1973
ISBN
-
Description
Interesting reading.
,
142
Title
Plants Consumed by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Brouk. B.
Publisher
Academic Press
Year
1975
ISBN
0-12-136450-x
Description
Readable but not very comprehensive.
,
177
Title
Plants for Human Consumption.
Publication
 
Author
Kunkel. G.
Publisher
Koeltz Scientific Books
Year
1984
ISBN
3874292169
Description
An excellent book for the dedicated. A comprehensive listing of Latin names with a brief list of edible parts.
,
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
]. A pinch of the powdered rhizome is used as a flovouring in tea[
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
].

The young and tender inflorescence is often eaten by children for its sweetness[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

Young leaves - cooked[
55
Title
Eat the Weeds.
Publication
 
Author
Harris. B. C.
Publisher
Pivot Health
Year
1973
ISBN
-
Description
Interesting reading.
]. The fresh leaves contain 0.078% oxalic acid[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. The leaves can be used to flavour custards in the same way as vanilla pods[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

The inner portion of young stems is eaten raw[
62
Title
A Field Guide to N. American Edible Wild Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Elias. T. and Dykeman. P.
Publisher
Van Nostrand Reinhold
Year
1982
ISBN
0442222009
Description
Very readable.
]. It makes a very palatable salad[
183
Title
Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Facciola. S.
Publisher
Kampong Publications
Year
1990
ISBN
0-9628087-0-9
Description
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
].

Medicinal

Sweet flag has a very long history of medicinal use in many herbal traditions. It is widely employed in modern herbal medicine as an aromatic stimulant and mild tonic[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. In Ayurveda it is highly valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system and as a remedy for digestive disorders[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
].
The plant is found in three distinct forms, one diploid, one triploid and one tetraploid. Each of these forms has a distinct chemistry and the tetraploid form (which is the most common form in the Asian tropics) is particularly rich in beta-asarone, a compound that has potential health disbenefits. See notes above on toxicity for more information[
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
,
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
In practice, when the whole root is used medicinally, the plant is safe and beneficial to use - as is shown by the wide medicinal use of the plant in Asia, where they use the form that is rich in beta-asarone[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
,
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
].

The root is anodyne, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, hallucinogenic, hypotensive, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, mildly tonic and vermifuge[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
7
Title
Encyclopaedia of Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Chiej. R.
Publisher
MacDonald
Year
1984
ISBN
0-356-10541-5
Description
Covers plants growing in Europe. Also gives other interesting information on the plants. Good photographs.
,
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
,
21
Title
The Herb Book.
Publication
 
Author
Lust. J.
Publisher
Bantam books
Year
1983
ISBN
0-553-23827-2
Description
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
,
147
Title
A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
Publication
 
Author
?
Publisher
Running Press; Philadelphica.
Year
1977
ISBN
0-914294-92-X
Description
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
,
165
Title
The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism.
Publication
 
Author
Mills. S. Y.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
An excellent small herbal.
,
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
,
279
Title
Medicinal Plants in the Republic of Korea
Publication
 
Author
 
Publisher
World Health Organisation, Manila
Year
1998
ISBN
92 9061 120 0
Description
An excellent book with terse details about the medicinal uses of the plants with references to scientific trials. All plants are described, illustrated and brief details of habitats given.
]. It is used internally in the treatment of digestive complaints, bronchitis, sinusitis etc[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. It is said to have wonderfully tonic powers of stimulating and normalizing the appetite. In small doses it reduces stomach acidity whilst larger doses increase stomach secretions[
254
Title
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
Publication
 
Author
Chevallier. A.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley. London
Year
1996
ISBN
9-780751-303148
Description
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
] and it is, therefore, recommended in the treatment of anorexia nervosa[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
]. However if the dose is too large it will cause nausea and vomiting[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
]. It is a folk remedy for arthritis, cancer, convulsions, diarrhoea, dyspepsia, epilepsy etc[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. An infusion of the root can bring about an abortion[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
] whilst chewing the root alleviates toothache[
213
Title
Earth Medicine, Earth Food.
Publication
 
Author
Weiner. M. A.
Publisher
Ballantine Books
Year
1980
ISBN
0-449-90589-6
Description
A nice book to read though it is difficult to look up individual plants since the book is divided into separate sections dealing with the different medicinal uses plus a section on edible plants. Common names are used instead of botanical.
]. Chewing the root is also said to kill the taste for tobacco[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
].
Sweet flag is also used externally to treat skin eruptions, rheumatic pains and neuralgia[
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
].
Roots 2 - 3 years old are used since older roots tend to become tough and hollow[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. They are harvested in late autumn or early spring and are dried for later use[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
]. The dry root loses 70% of its weight, but has an improved smell and taste[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
]. It does, however, deteriorate if stored for too long[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].

Caution is advised on the use of this root, especially in the form of the distilled essential oil, since large doses can cause mild hallucinations[
192
Title
Narcotic Plants
Publication
 
Author
Emboden. W.
Publisher
Studio Vista
Year
1979
ISBN
0-289-70864-8
Description
A lot of details about the history, chemistry and use of narcotic plants, including hallucinogens, stimulants, inebriants and hypnotics.
]. Chewing large amounts of the leaves and/or roots can cause hallucinations due to the presence of asarones, which have mescaline-like hallucinogenic properties if taken in sufficient quantities[
1053
Title
The Sweetness and Bitterness of Sweet Flag (Acorus calamus L.) - A Review
Publication
Research Journal of Pharmaceutical, Biological and Chemical Sciences, Vol. 4 Issue 2 pp 598-610
Author
Mythili Avadhani MN et al
Publisher
 
Year
2013
ISBN
0975-8585
Description
A review of the literature regarding the medicinal and other uses of Acorus calamus.
]. See also the notes above on toxicity.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
]. It is used in the treatment of flatulence, dyspepsia, anorexia and disorders of the gall bladder[
9
Title
Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Launert. E.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1981
ISBN
0-600-37216-2
Description
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
].

Other Uses

The leaves are used in basket making or woven into mats[
169
Title
A Weavers Garden
Publication
 
Author
Buchanan. R.
Publisher
McGraw-Hill Contemporary
Year
1987
ISBN
0934026289
Description
Covers all aspects of growing your own clothes, from fibre plants to dyes.
]. They have also been used as a thatch for roofs[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].

An essential oil from the rhizome is used in perfumery and as a food flavouring[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
,
13
Title
Hamlyn Encyclopaedia of Plants.
Publication
 
Author
Triska. Dr.
Publisher
Hamlyn
Year
1975
ISBN
0-600-33545-3
Description
Very interesting reading, giving some details of plant uses and quite a lot of folk-lore.
,
57
Title
Plants for Man.
Publication
 
Author
Schery. R. W.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Fairly readable but not very comprehensive. Deals with plants from around the world.
]. The oil is contained mainly in the outer skin of the root[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
], it has a fragrance reminiscent of patchouli oil[
192
Title
Narcotic Plants
Publication
 
Author
Emboden. W.
Publisher
Studio Vista
Year
1979
ISBN
0-289-70864-8
Description
A lot of details about the history, chemistry and use of narcotic plants, including hallucinogens, stimulants, inebriants and hypnotics.
]. The fresh roots yield about 1.5 - 3.5% essential oil, dried roots about 0.8%[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. Some plants from Japan have yielded 5% essential oil[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
].
The essential oil is also an insect repellent and insecticide[
218
Title
Medicinal Plants of China
Publication
 
Author
Duke. J. A. and Ayensu. E. S.
Publisher
Reference Publications, Inc.
Year
1985
ISBN
0-917256-20-4
Description
Details of over 1,200 medicinal plants of China and brief details of their uses. Often includes an analysis, or at least a list of constituents. Heavy going if you are not into the subject.
,
272
Title
Plants and People of Nepal
Publication
 
Author
Manandhar. N. P.
Publisher
Timber Press. Oregon.
Year
2002
ISBN
0-88192-527-6
Description
Excellent book, covering over 1,500 species of useful plants from Nepal together with information on the geography and peoples of Nepal. Good descriptions of the plants with terse notes on their uses.
]. It is effective against houseflies[
240
Title
Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Publication
 
Author
Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C.
Publisher
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, New Delhi.
Year
1986
ISBN
-
Description
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
]. When added to rice being stored in granaries it has significantly reduced loss caused by insect damage because the oil in the root has sterilized the male rice weevils[
244
Title
Herbs
Publication
 
Author
Phillips. R. & Foy. N.
Publisher
Pan Books Ltd. London.
Year
1990
ISBN
0-330-30725-8
Description
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
].
An essential oil obtained from the leaves is used in perfumery and for making aromatic vinegars[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
].

The leaves and the root have a refreshing scent of cinnamon[
245
Title
Scented Flora of the World.
Publication
 
Author
Genders. R.
Publisher
Robert Hale. London.
Year
1994
ISBN
0-7090-5440-8
Description
An excellent, comprehensive book on scented plants giving a few other plant uses and brief cultivation details. There are no illustrations.
]. All parts of plant can be dried and used to repel insects or to scent linen cupboards[
8
Title
Free for All.
Publication
 
Author
Ceres.
Publisher
Thorsons Publishers
Year
1977
ISBN
0-7225-0445-4
Description
Edible wild plants in Britain. Small booklet, nothing special.
,
14
Title
Complete Guide to Herbs.
Publication
 
Author
Holtom. J. and Hylton. W.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1979
ISBN
0-87857-262-7
Description
A good herbal.
,
61
Title
A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Publication
 
Author
Usher. G.
Publisher
Constable
Year
1974
ISBN
0094579202
Description
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
]. They can also be burnt as an incense[
14
Title
Complete Guide to Herbs.
Publication
 
Author
Holtom. J. and Hylton. W.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1979
ISBN
0-87857-262-7
Description
A good herbal.
], whilst the whole plant was formerly used as a strewing herb[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
14
Title
Complete Guide to Herbs.
Publication
 
Author
Holtom. J. and Hylton. W.
Publisher
Rodale Press
Year
1979
ISBN
0-87857-262-7
Description
A good herbal.
,
115
Title
The Useful Plants of Great Britain.
Publication
 
Author
Johnson. C. P.
Publisher
 
Year
 
ISBN
 
Description
Written about a hundred years ago, but still a very good guide to the useful plants of Britain.
,
238
Title
Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
Publication
 
Author
Bown. D.
Publisher
Dorling Kindersley, London.
Year
1995
ISBN
0-7513-020-31
Description
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
]. The growing plant is said to repel mosquitoes[
20
Title
Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Publication
 
Author
Riotte. L.
Publisher
Garden Way, Vermont, USA.
Year
1978
ISBN
0-88266-064-0
Description
Fairly good.
,
201
Title
A - Z of Companion Planting.
Publication
 
Author
Allardice.P.
Publisher
Cassell Publishers Ltd.
Year
1993
ISBN
0-304-34324-2
Description
A well produced and very readable book.
].

Propagation

Seed - best sown in a container as soon as it is ripe. Stand the container in about 3cm of water. Pot up young seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle, keep them wet by standing the pots in shallow water and plant them out when large enough[
4
Title
A Modern Herbal.
Publication
 
Author
Grieve.
Publisher
Penguin
Year
1984
ISBN
0-14-046-440-9
Description
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
,
17
Title
Flora of the British Isles.
Publication
 
Author
Clapham, Tutin and Warburg.
Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Year
1962
ISBN
-
Description
A very comprehensive flora, the standard reference book but it has no pictures.
].
Division just before new growth starts[
1
Title
RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Publication
 
Author
F. Chittendon.
Publisher
Oxford University Press
Year
1951
ISBN
-
Description
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaced in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
]. Very easy, it can be carried out successfully at any time in the growing season and the divisions can be planted direct into their permanent positions[
K
Title
Plants for a Future
Author
Ken Fern
Description
Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.
].
Cite as: Tropical Plants Database, Ken Fern. tropical.theferns.info. 2019-10-21. <tropical.theferns.info/viewtropical.php?id=Acorus+calamus>

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