Sweet flag or acorus calamus is a perennial herb that has wonderful medicinal values. It is used in all medicinal systems of India. It is an important ingredient of most of the Ayurvedic medicines. It is mentioned in many of the great Greek classic literatures on medicine. Hippocrates, who is called Father of medical science, and Greek physicians like Theophrastus and Dioscorides have mentioned about the uses of sweet flag.
Sweet flag is a semi aquatic perennial herb with distinctive rhizome. It has long creeping and aromatic rhizomes. These rhizomes or underground stems sprouting leaves have great medical value. The driedrhizome of the plant becomes the drug called calamus. It contains a kind of yellow odorous oil and the leaves of the plant contain oxalic acid and calcium. Dry rhizomes are available in all Indian stores.
15 Health benefits of sweet flag
1) Stomach disorders
Sweet flag gives immediate relief in stomach problems. It clears a distended and uncomfortable stomach and also relieves headache associated with weak digestion. It clears flatulence and colic and increases appetite. The sweet flag root is burnt and ground as a paste in coconut oil and is applied on belly in cases of pain. It has been found useful in treating anorexia, gastritis and gastric ulcers.
2) Dysentery and diarrhea
This has been most effective from ancient days in assuring remedy to children ailing with stomach disorders. It is an inevitable ingredient for chronic diarrhea and dysentery. Sweet flag is given as internal infusion.
This herbal medicine is highly beneficial in the treatment of asthma. It clears the phlegm matter from the bronchial passage. Sweet flag is roasted and powdered. Then about two gram (a pinch) of this powder is mixed in honey and given for intake.
4) Common cold
Infants catch cold very easily. For them this is a handy remedy. A pinch of sweet flag powder taken with honey provides immediate relief. Or a little of this paste can be given to the infants along with breast milk. An easy method practiced here is to apply the paste on the nipples of the feeding mother.
5) Whooping cough
A pinch of roasted sweet flag powder can be given with honey. Since it is antispasmodic it arrests severe bouts of cough. Infants can be given a reduced dose of the same.
6) Intestinal worms
Children generally have this problem. Sweet flag is very effective to solve this problem. A pinch of powder can be given in the morning and evening to clear the intestines of children.
7) Mouth disorders
Sweet flag is useful to treat mouth ulcers, bad odors, coating and rawness of tongue causes by inflammation. A small piece of sweet flag can be rubbedon the tongue. Ayurveda considers it as an anesthetic for toothache.
8) Skin disorders
A paste of sweet flag can be applied externally in cases of skin disorders like eczema, ringworm and scabies. In Siddha system, it is used as disinfectant for vaginal infection and fetid discharges, especially after delivery of child.
Sweet helps to get relief from stammering. A pinch of this powder can be taken in the morning and evening for some days till it gives relief.
10) Sweet flag rejuvenates nerves
Ayurvedic medicine says that sweet flag is an important herb which is valued as a rejuvenator for the brain and nervous system. It is too powerful that it should be used very carefully in limited doses and in diluted form.
11) Poisonous bites
Sweet flag is an antidote for several poisons. It can be applied on the bitten point. The vapor of burnt sweet flag, especially from the roots, repels some insects.
A small piece of sweet flag is ground as paste and slightly heated. Then this warm paste is applied externally on the painful areas. It relieves pain in cases of joint pain, arthritis and even piles.
13) Uses as analgesic
The rhizome alcoholic extract of sweet flag has sedative and analgesic properties and is uses to relieve pain and to get sleep. It contains a substance called asarone which has a tranquilizing effect. But it should be used carefully as it is poisonous when it is too fresh.
14) For epilepsy
In Siddha system it is used with equal portions of asafetida, chebulic myrobalan (haritaki), black salt, dry ginger, long pepper and black pepper to treat epilepsy and mental disorders.
15) To protect in epidemics
In olden days sweet flag has been an antibiotic a successful antidote when epidemics were in prevalence. In those days these kinds of home remedies were used readily to avoid further loss.
Although sweet flag has so many health benefits, nowadays it is not suggested since it is too powerful to use. It should not be used directly as an essential oil. But it can be diluted or mixed in carrier oils and used sparingly.