12.3.13

Acorus calamus - SWEET FLAG

Names: 

Calamus, beewort, bitter pepper root, calamus root, flag root, gladdon, myrtle flag, myrtle grass, myrtle root, myrtle sedge, pine root, sea sedge, sweet cane, sweet cane, sweet cinnamon, sweet grass, sweet myrtle, sweet root, sweet rush, and sweet sedge. 


Blooming / Picking:

Calamus blooms from June to August and the rhizomes are best picked in spring or late autumn.

Environment: 

It can be found exclusively around marshes, beside ponds, on river armlets and near ditches. In short, only around fresh water.

Interesting Facts:

Sweet Flag has been know in China and India since ancient times and it is thought that the Ottomans brought it to Europe.

The first man to have used its medicinal properties, at least in Europe (that is known of) was dr. Mathilous who was also a botanist in the year 1560. This man also happened to be the private physician of Emperor Maximillian II.

Midwives used to wash weak newborns in calamus baths.

Since this plant is know to help with inflamed gums, it is well-known that extractions from its roots are used in tooth pastes.

It is recommended to all those smokers out there who wish to quit smoking that they chew on the dried rhizome of a calamus because this should stop the nicotine cravings (although this is also recommended for people with lung and intestinal cancer).

Attributes:

When fresh, this plant has a strong and aromatic smell and a bitter and hot taste. The dried herb is very hard so it is tough to cut or crumble it so and chopping up is recommended before drying.

Uses:

It is usually used for a variety of indigestion problems. It can be consumed as a tea but also as a bath for basically any sort of weakness.

For the Drug:

The plant should be taken out of the marshland whole after which the roots and the remains of the leaves should be removed (although you can peel them off and cut them up along the longer side to help them dry faster). The plant should be kept in well-closed containers.

It is Used for:

Digestive problems (stomach, intestines)
Bettering the fnctioning of glands and muscels of the digestive system
Decreasing the amount of gasses
Easing cramps conserned with the digestive system
Bettering the functioning of the intestines
Creating bile in the bladder (and to help its outflow)
Gum inflammation (use tea for gargling), disinfecting the oral cavity, ailing bad breath
Helping to get rid of kidney stones
Improving appetite
Lung problems (pneumonia, the flu, lung cancer, high fevers etc.)
Enhancing bloodflow (use in a bath)
Healing angina
Improving sexual potency
Quitting smoking

Preparations:

Tea:

Let 1 teaspoon of the drug sit for 6-8 hours in cold water. After this, heat it up to an appropriate temperature.
You can also make a tea which only needs to sit for 5 minutes.
It is drunk three times a day but batchwise. By "batchwise" I mean that it is drunk for 4-6 weeks each day and they at least a two-week break must be taken before further consumption.

Tincture:

10g crushed/cut up rhizome + 100ml alcohol (70%) or quality home-made brandy (rakija).
Let the mixtures sit for 2-3 weeks.
The tincture is used when massaging someone with rheumatic diseases, for joint pains, muscle pains after extensive labor etc.
A diluted tincture can be used to heal rashes and chilblain.
Warning: must not be used internally without medical supervision.

Sedentary Bath:

100g of the grounded up drug is prepared into a decoction which has to stay covered for 15 minutes. This extract is added to baths and it can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.
These baths are great for cold feet, chilblain-covered hands and for a general feeling of weakness (to recover).
It is also great for people with anaemia and other metabolic problems. 
Along with teas, they help a great deal with indigestion problems.

Oil:

200g finely chopped roots + 1l (liter) of corn/olive oil.
Leave this mixture to sit for 30-60 days taking care to mix it up a bit in between.
It is used for massaging ailing areas (several times a day).

Juice:

The fresh plant (more precisely, the roots) is cleaned and squeezed to get the juice directly out of it.
It can be used for eye problems. Eyesight can be improved by spreading a bit of calamus juice on closed eyelids and being left to stay that way for a couple of minutes. It must then be washed off with cold water.

Warnings:

It is a very tricky plant for internal use. Before using it internally, you should definitely consult your physician because much of its effect depends on the quantity of the drug taken. It is only taken batchwise (in batches/periodically).
It is not for pregnant women.

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