Calamus Root


Calamus (Acorus calamus) is a tall green monocot of flowering grass. It is a popular plant with many names including beewort, bitter pepper root, flag root, gladdon, myrtle flag, sweet flag, sweet sedge and others.

The effects of calamus root both energize and reduce anxiety thus why it is considered a powerful balancing herb. It has been used for healing, spiritual, and culinary uses.

History and Use

Native American Indians used Calamus root both for energy and as a spiritual tool.

English: Acorus calamus, Acoraceae, Sweet Flag...

Ancient Egyptians also used Calamus root, believing it to be an aphrodisiac. It was also one of the original ingredients of European absinthe. it was commonly used as a substitute for other herbs and seasonings including ginger and cinnamon since it has sweet, sour, and heat qualities. Calamus root has been used to treat a number of ailments. It also has sedative, laxative, and diuretic properties.

The Ayurvedas use Calamus Root along with hallucinogenic herbs as Calamus is believed to reduce or counter the side effects of other drugs. The root is the most commonly used part of the plant. It can be dried and smoked or made into a tea. However, the most popular means of ingestion is chewing the root itself.

Common Uses

Used as an anti-anxiety

While Calamus root fights fatigue, it also has a calming effect. Though the two effects would seem to contradict each other, the effect is one of alert relaxation. Users of Calamus root report feeling both emotionally relaxed and ready to face the day.

Laxative and Diuretic

Calamus root has both laxative and diuretic properties, making it useful for increasing urination and relieving constipation.

Counteract the Side Effects of Hallucinogens

A common complaint of hallucinogens is the severity of the side effects. Few hallucinogens are without the side effects of nausea and dizziness. Calamus root has long been used to combat these effects.

Mild Pain Reliever

Calamus root is often chewed to ease the sore throat and run down feeling associated with the cold or flu.

Methods of Use

Eaten as an herb

Calamus is eaten both for its herbal properties as well as for its flavor. Native americans would commonly cut pieces of the root and chew it for the effect. Calamus root can be bought whole or in pieces, very much like ginger.

As an Infusion or Tea

The dried root can be used to make a tea that holds the properties of the herb.

As a Smoking Blend

Calamus root can be bought as a dried powder or cutted to add to smoking blends. Many people add it to their spiritual and visionary blends. Native Americans also used the herb in combination with tobacco to treat headaches.


Users of Calamus root report:

  • Alertness
  • Feeling more energetic
  • Feeling less anxiety
  • Relief from sore throat
  • Relief from headaches
  • A decrease in the side effects of hallucinogens

Unlike many herbs used for their healing and spiritual properties, Calamus Root has a very agreeable taste. It is sometimes used as a substitute for ginger or cinnamon when a hot sweet taste is desired. This makes the most common means of ingestion, which is chewing the herb for its effects, much more enjoyable. The results of Calamus root are varied and mainly positive.

Side Effects

Calamus was banned as a food additive by the US Food and Drug Administration after lab studies with a chemical in Calamus was found to be possibly carcinogenic. However, the diploid strain of the Calamus plant is believed to be a safe option as it does not contain the chemical used in the study.


Calamus root is restricted for use in food but is allowable as an herbal supplement. The herb is legal to grow, buy, own, and use.

4 thoughts on “Calamus Root”

  1. Calamus root is one of the stronger and more pungent things I’ve smoked so I would use it cautiously. I use one or two pieces 1/4 inch across in a normal bowl. The spiciness can burn your throat if you get a lot of it and it gives me a strong calm. Stronger than most things I have smoked.

  2. Calamus root smokes well, but tread lightly. One small piece of root is enough for me and I have a strong mood change. It reduces pain and greatly reduces anxiety. This is one of the best herbs I have tried to date.

    I looked into the FDA saying that it causes cancer in mice, but they gave them insanely high doses over a prolonged time.

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