What is Acorus Calamus? Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects of Sweet Flag, Vacha Tea Recipe

Table of Contents

1. Introduction
2. What is Acorus Calamus? 
3. Habitat & Morphology
4. Ayurvedic properties of Acorus Calamus root
5. Health Benefits of Vacha
6. Sweet Flag Uses & Dosage
7. Side Effects of Acorus Calamus root
8. Tea Recipe of Acorus Calamus root 
9. Frequently Asked Question

1. Introduction

Acorus Calamus, also known as Sweet Flag, is a perennial herb that has been used for centuries in traditional medicine. This plant is native to Asia and Europe and is well-known for its numerous health benefits. From improving digestion to reducing anxiety, Sweet Flag has a lot to offer. In addition, it is also used for its stimulating effects on the mind, making it a popular ingredient in teas and other herbal remedies. However, like all herbs, Sweet Flag comes with some potential side effects that you should be aware of. In this post, we'll take a closer look at the health benefits, uses, and potential side effects of Sweet Flag, and we'll even share a Vacha Tea recipe that you can try at home.

The unique aroma and flavor of Sweet Flag have made it a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Its use has been traced back to ancient times, where it was believed to have powerful healing properties. Today, it is still used in many traditional remedies, as well as modern supplements and herbal teas. However, with its popularity comes controversy, as some experts warn about the potential side effects of consuming too much Sweet Flag. Despite this, many people continue to swear by the herb's health benefits, claiming that it has helped them with everything from digestive issues to stress and anxiety. So, if you're curious about this fascinating herb and want to learn more, keep reading to discover the wonders of Sweet Flag.

2. What is Acorus Calamus root?

Acorus calamus, commonly known as Sweet Flag, is a perennial herbaceous plant native to wetlands and marshes in Europe, Asia, and North America. It is well known for its distinctive spicy, sweet aroma and has been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat various ailments such as digestive problems, fever, and respiratory issues. The plant's rootstock contains several bioactive compounds that have shown potential pharmacological effects, making it a popular ingredient in herbal remedies and dietary supplements. Apart from its medicinal properties, Acorus calamus is also used as a flavoring agent in the food and beverage industry, as well as in perfumes and cosmetics. It is also commonly used as a flavoring agent in food and beverages, as well as in the perfume and cosmetic industries. The essential oil derived from the plant contains several bioactive compounds that have shown potential pharmacological effects.

3. Habitat and Morphology 

Gudbach botanical name is Acorus Calamus, other common names are sweet flag, calamus, vacha, acorus, and sweet calomel. It is a semi-aquatic perennial herb and cultivated in damp marshy places. It is native to India and is mainly found in Manipur, Naga hills, and on the edges of lakes and streams.

Acorus Calamus Leaves 

The leaves are long slender sword-like shaped and the midvein is usually off-center. It contains oxalic acid and calcium, and they produce a sweet, tangerine-like scent on cuts and blend. The fresh leaves can be used to flavor custards in the same way as vanilla pods. The essential oil from leaves is used in making flavoring vinegar.

Acorus Calamus leaves

Acorus Calamus Flower 

The flowers are cylindrical in shape, greenish-brown, and covered in a multitude of rounded spikes. The flowering time is early to late summer depending on the latitude.

Acorus Calamus Flower

Acorus Calamus Fruit 

The fruits are small and berry-like, containing 1-3 oblong seeds, they are yellowish in color.

Acorus Calamus Root 

The dried roots constitute the drug calamus which is used in medicine, the dry roots of the Acorus Calamus contain a yellow aromatic oil. This essential oil contains calamen, calamenos, calameon, and asarone.

The root is mainly used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. Dry Acorus Calamus Root has been used by sages and rishis since ancient times due to its ayurvedic medicinal benefits.

The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavor and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Acorus Calamus Root

Buy Acorus Calamus Root Powder

4. Ayurvedic properties of Acorus Calamus root

Acorus calamus, commonly known as Sweet Flag or Vacha, is a medicinal plant highly valued in Ayurveda for its various therapeutic properties. The rhizome or root of Acorus calamus is particularly prized for its medicinal benefits.

Ayurvedic properties of Acorus calamus root:

Rasa (Taste): Acorus calamus root is believed to have a combination of bitter (Tikta) and pungent (Katu) tastes.

2. Virya (Potency): It is heating in nature (Ushna Virya).

3. Vipaka (Post-digestive taste): The post-digestive taste is pungent (Katu Vipaka).

4. Dosha Effects: Acorus calamus root primarily balances Kapha dosha and, to a lesser extent, Vata dosha. However, in excess, it may increase Pitta dosha.

Ayurvedic Uses:

  1. Digestive Support: Acorus calamus root is well-known for its beneficial effects on the digestive system. It is used to manage digestive disorders like indigestion, flatulence, and loss of appetite due to its carminative and digestive stimulant properties.

  2. Nervous System: The root is used to support the nervous system and improve cognitive function. It is believed to have nootropic properties, enhancing memory and concentration.

  3. Respiratory Health: Acorus calamus root is used in certain Ayurvedic formulations to manage respiratory conditions like bronchitis and asthma due to its bronchodilator and expectorant properties.

  4. Mental Health: It is used to manage certain mental health conditions like anxiety, stress, and depression due to its calming and nervine tonic effects.

  5. Anti-inflammatory: Acorus calamus root possesses anti-inflammatory properties, making it beneficial in managing inflammatory conditions.

  6. Antispasmodic: The root is used to relieve spasms and cramps in the muscles and digestive system.

  7. Antimicrobial: Acorus calamus root has antimicrobial effects and can be used to manage certain infections.

  8. Stimulant: It is considered a mild stimulant, which can help in boosting energy levels.

5. Health Benefits of Vacha

In Ayurvedic medicinal practice in India, rhizomes have been used to cure several diseases like fever, asthma, and bronchitis, and as a sedative. The Acorus Calamus root has great medicinal values, they have aromatic stimulant, bitter tonic, and expectorant.

Acorus Calamus root has antibacterial, insecticidal, anti-ulcerative, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cellular properties. It relieves flatulence, counteracts spasmodic disorder, and induces vomiting. It also has laxative, diuretic, and aphrodisiac properties and it also regulates the menstrual periods.

Acorus Calamus root is effective on various respiratory disorders like cold, cough flu, Asthma, and infections in respiratory.

Let’s check the Acorus Calamus Health Benefits for various diseases

For Asthma

Acorus Calamus root is highly beneficial in treating asthma, it removes catarrhal matter and phlegm from the bronchial tubes.

For Common Cold

The herb is useful in treating the common cold, it helps to give relief from common cold and flu symptoms.

For Diarrhea and Dysentery

The Acorus Calamus root is a great and effective remedy in Ayurveda for the treatment of Chronic Diarrhea, the presence of tannins also makes it an effective remedy in chronic dysentery. Its infusion can be given to children suffering from these ailments.

For Intestinal Worms

The Acorus Calamus root powder is very effective in expelling intestinal worms.

For Mouth Disorder

The Acorus Calamus root is useful in the treatment of mouth ulcers, it helps to give relief from inflammation.

For Stomach Disorder

It helps to give relief from the heavy stomachs by expelling flatulence and colic. It helps to reduce the accumulation of gas in the stomach.

For Whooping Cough

The root of Acorus Calamus is a beneficial and effective home remedy for children suffering from whooping cough. It helps to prevent severe bouts of coughing.

For Acidity and Gas

The Acorus Calamus root has an antiulcer agent as it helps in controlling acidity and gastric acid secretion. It helps to reduce the risk of stomach ulcers ulcer by improving digestion.


6. Sweet Flag Uses and Dosages

Dosage and uses depend upon the health problems and conditions or as an Ayurvedic doctor recommends. The general recommended dosage is 3-6 grams of Acorus Calamus daily once a day.

Here are some home remedies for Acorus Calamus / Sweet Flag

  • Take 5-10 grams of root powder of sweet flag thrice a day, gives relief from asthma.
  • A small piece of root is roasted and powdered; a pinch of powder taken with honey gives relief from the common cold.
  • Take 5 grams root powder of Acorus Calamus and mix with honey, apply gently it on tongue and mouth skin, gives relief from mouth ulcers.
  • The brunt root powder mixed with refined coconut oil, apply over the abdomen, gives relief from stomach disorder.
  • Take 5-6 grams of roasted powder of Acorus Calamus root and mix with honey, gives relief from whooping cough.
  • Take 3 grams of each, Acorus Calamus root and Triphala powder, mix them and take with water, reduces fat on the belly and thigh.
  • Take 5 grams powder of Acorus Calamus root and mix with rose water, apply it on the face. Give you glowing skin and control various skin infections.

7. Acorus Calamus Side Effects

All Ayurveda herbs are plant-based, and they don’ have any side effects but they may react with some allopathy or homeopathy medicine. It is better to consult the doctor if you are on any medications or have special health issues.

  • Avoid taking Acorus Calamus, after the surgery or with any nervous medication. Can cause too much sleepiness.
  • Acorus Calamus is not recommended without a doctor’s advice if a person is allergic and hypersensitive.
  • Consult the doctor if you are breastfeeding.
  • Do not take without a doctor’s prescription if you are pregnant.
  • If you are suffering from kidney disease, consult the doctor first before consuming Acorus Calamus / Sweet Flag
  • If you are on diabetes or hypertension medication. Consult first with the doctor before consuming.
  • If you are suffering from kidney disease, consult the doctor first before consuming Acorus Calamus / Sweet Flag.

8. Acorus Calamus Root Tea Recipe – Gudbach

This is a relaxing and calming tea; you can add to your evening menu and enjoy the benefits of Acorus Calamus.


  • Acorus Calamus Root Powder - 1 tsp
  • Green Tea – 1 tsp
  • Honey – ½ tsp
  • Water – 1 ½ cup
  • Clove – 1
  • Dry Ginger Powder – ¼ tsp


  • Take a pan and boil the water.
  • Add all the ingredients except honey, and boil for 2 minutes.
  • Pour the tea into a cup with the help of a tea strainer.
  • Mix the honey and drink hot.

9. Frequently Asked Question

Q - Is Acorus Calamus a medicinal plant?

Q - What is sweet flag used for?

Sweet flag has antibacterial, insecticidal, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cellular properties, it is mainly used in Ayurveda for medicinal purposes. The dried and powdered rhizome has a spicy flavor and is used as a substitute for ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

Q - How do I use Sweet Flag in cooking or herbal remedies?

Sweet Flag can be used in various ways in cooking or herbal remedies. The rhizomes of the plant can be dried and ground into a powder to use as a spice or flavoring agent in dishes like soups, stews, and curries. The powder can also be used to make capsules or tablets for medicinal purposes. Additionally, Sweet Flag can be used to make tea by steeping the rhizomes in hot water for several minutes.

Q - Can Sweet Flag help with anxiety and stress?

Sweet Flag has been traditionally used to help with anxiety and stress due to its calming and soothing effects on the mind. It contains a compound called beta-asarone, which is known to have sedative properties. However, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness for anxiety and stress.

Q - How do I make Sweet Flag tea?

To make Sweet Flag tea, you will need dried Sweet Flag rhizomes. Boil water and add the rhizomes to it. Allow it to steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain the mixture and drink it warm. You can add honey or lemon to enhance the flavor.

Q - What is the scientific name for Sweet Flag?

The scientific name for Sweet Flag is Acorus calamus.

Q - What are the active compounds in Sweet Flag that contribute to its health benefits?

Sweet Flag contains several active compounds, including beta-asarone, acorenone, and asarone. These compounds are believed to contribute to the herb's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and sedative effects.

Q - Is Sweet Flag effective in treating Alzheimer's or dementia?

There is some evidence to suggest that Sweet Flag may be beneficial for people with Alzheimer's or dementia due to its ability to enhance cognitive function. However, more research is needed to confirm its effectiveness in treating these conditions.

Q - How can Sweet Flag be used in aromatherapy?

Sweet Flag essential oil can be used in aromatherapy to help promote relaxation and reduce stress. It can be added to a diffuser or used in a massage oil or bath soak.

Q - What is the difference between Sweet Flag and Calamus?

There is no difference between Sweet Flag and Calamus. These terms are used interchangeably to refer to the same plant species, Acorus calamus.

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