Calamus Root
Botanical name: Acorus calamus
Other names: Sweet flag, beewort, bitter pepper root, flag root, gladdon, myrtle flag, myrtle grass, myrtle root,

Established 1996.

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Calamus Root

IMPORTANT NOTE: The Happy Herb Company does not invite reliance upon, nor accept responsibility for, the information provided here. The Happy Herb Company makes every effort to provide a high quality information for educational and entertainment purposes however neither The Happy Herb Company nor any of its affiliates give any guarantees, undertakings or warranties concerning the accuracy, completeness or up-to-date nature of the information provided. Users should confirm information and seek medical advice. 

Acorus calamus is a semi-aquatic plant that likes to grow with “wet feet”, often alongside Irises, Cattails, and other waterweeds. It is well known for it's bitter taste, spiciness and it's aromatic smell. Its aroma makes calamus essential oil valued in the perfume industry.

In Europe it was often added to wine and it is thought that calamus is one of the possible ingredients of absinthe. The English chewed on it when they were unable to acquire tobacco during the great depression. Ancient Indians believed in Calamus for memory improvement, prolongation of life span and sexual potency.  Native Americans used it for headache, asthma, oral hygeine and to combat fatigue.  

It has been used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments in many cultures for thousands of years. It is most effective for nausea and a "nervous" tummy associated with panic attacks and anxiety issues. Be mindful to not have too much though, as consuming large doses can easily overstimulate the stomach and provoke vomiting. Chewing Calamus can alleviate the nausea of car sickness and other types of motion sickness.


A two-inch piece chewed over some hours provides certain stimulation. A ten-inch piece chewed over some time is a mind alterant

and supposed hallucinogen. When powdered, only a pinch at a time is used to avoid certain nausea and vomiting.

Rays Rave: 

"In Australia, chewing on the root piece is prohibited because of its supposed similarity to mescaline. However because of calamus’ bitter ginger taste it is almost impossible to ingest the ten-inch piece supposedly required for a hallucinogenic trip. On a gruelling expedition up the back of Mount Warning in Northern New South Wales, the author managed to consume ten inches of the bitter root. There were no hallucinations but it did give incredible stamina and focus to enable the conquering of daunting feats with ‘superman’ agility. Calamus is another beneficial herb that should not be denied us. It is also helpful for cannabis and nicotine detoxification, as well as addiction. Calamus is believed to be the only herb that will detoxify the brain of cannabis residue. A teaspoon of powder can cause up to five hours of repetitive vomiting (purging actually). Take it from the author’s mouth, you can really feel that detoxification! Trust me, only a pinch at a time is best.
Calamus is not illegal to grow; please, please grow it, to prevent herbal genocide. The plant loves ‘getting its feet wet’ around ponds, dams and creeks."

Precautions / Contraindications: 

If powdered, only a pinch at a time is used to avoid vomiting. One experiment indicated that large quantities of Calamus produced a tumour in a rat. Remarkably similar to the case of Comfrey, the amount given in the PHARMACEUTICAL LABORATORY TESTS were astronomical in relation to the weight of the rat. No ill effects have ever been reported from the Cree Indians who use it daily; in fact they are in excellent health, way above any other society.

Ray Thorpe (2001), Happy High Herbs, pp 82-84.