Family: Acoraceae

Bengali/vernacular name: Bach, Gharbach, Shet-bach.
Tribal name: Lanki (Marma).
English name: Sweet Flag, Calamus.

Description of the plant:
ACORUS CALAMUS L. is an aromatic marsh herb, with creeping, branching, rhizome. Leaves distichous, ensiform about 1 m high. Peduncle leaf-like; spathe the ensiform continuation of the peduncle; spadix sessile, 5-10 cm long, cylindric, dense-flowered; flowers minute.

Using information:
The rhizome is emetic, expectorant, laxative, diuretic, antispasmodic, carminative and anthelmintic. It is used as a remedy for sore throat, asthma and bronchitis; good for diseases of the mouth; useful in general weakness, stomatitis, toothache, inflammations, pains in the liver and the chest, kidney troubles, leucoderma, remedy for flatulance, colic or dyspepsia. It is also used in remittent fevers and ague; useful remedy for dysentery and diarrhoea of children. The Chinese believes the rhizome to be beneficial for cancer. Rhizome is used in Khagrachari for pneumonia. It is also an effective insecticide.

Acorus Calamus

Azaron or 1, 2, 4-trimethoxy-5-9 (1-propenyl) benzene isolated from the rhizome extract possess strong antifungal properties (100% inhibition) against phytopathogenic fungi (Begum et al., 2004). Aquous and alcoholic extract of the rhizome is hypothermic and hypotensive. EtOH(50%) extract is spasmolytic and CNS depressant. Calamus oil with ß-asarone as major constituent is carcinogenic in rats. Neuropharmacological action has been detected from Indian oil. Calamus oil and extract is prohibited from use in human food in U.S.A. (Asolkar et al., 1992).

Chemical constituents:
Rhizome contains an essential oil with ß-asarone as major constituent and also calamenenol, isocalamendiol, ecgenol methyl ether, palmitic acid and sesquiterpene alcohols. It also contains asaryl aldehyde, choline, calacone, flavone, acoradin, 2,5-dimethoxy benzoquinone, galangin, telekin, isotelekin, 9-aristone and ß-gurjunene, saponins, a bitter principle (acorin), mucilage, sitosterol and sesquiterpens. Three monocyclic sesquiterpenes – shyobunone, epishyobunone and isoshyobunone and two selinane type sesquiterpenes – acolamone and isoacolamone have also been isolated from rhizomes. Aerial parts contain the alkaloid, choline and luteolin and acorin glycosides.

Fresh leaves contain oxalic acid and calcium. A new crystalline compound, calamene sesqui-terpenenol and a new phenylpropane have been isolated from the rhizome. New sesquiterpenes – acoragermacrone, (+)calamusenone and isocalamusenone and a new tropone (I) have been isolated from the rhizome. A flavone diglycoside isolated and identified as luteolin-6,8-C-diglucoside (Ghani, 2003; Rastogi & Mehrotra, 1990 & 93).

Very rare; mostly cultivated in wet lands.