Essential Oil Profile: Calamus

by Amelia E. Hoard, RN


Common Name: Calamus

Synonyms: East Asian Calamus, Jammu calamus, sweet flag, Calamus aromaticus, sweet root, sweet rush, sweet myrtle, myrtle grass, myrtle sedge, cinnamon sedge

Latin Binomial: Acorus calamus var. angustatus

Family: Araceae

Production Method: steam distilled roots

Countries of Origin: India, Russia, Nepal, China some varities are found in Europe and USA

Typical Constituents: b-Asarone (42.5-78.4%), Isoeugenol (2.3-25.0%),

Calamenene (3.8-5%), Calamene (3.8%), Calamol (3.2-7.8%), Asaronaldehyde (tr-5.7%), Methyl isoeugenol (tr-2.8%), Methyleugenol (tr-2.0%), a-Asarone (1.3-6.8%)

Description of Oil: Pale yellow to pale brown viscous liquid with a strong warm spicy scent.

Description of Plant: A reed like aquatic plant about 1 meter tall with sword shaped leaves and small geenish-yellow flowers. It grows wild all over swampy areas of temperate zones in Europe, Asia and America.

History, Folklore and Myth: Historically a highly esteemed aromatic stimulant and tonic for fever, nerves, vertigo, headaches, and dysentery. Currently used in England, Turkey and India as herbal medicine for dyspepsia, bronchitis and coughs.

Properties and Uses: Anticonvulsant, antiseptic, bactericidal, carminative, diaphoretic, expectorant, hypotensive, insecticide, spasmolytic, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.

Precautions and Contraindications: The oil is Not to be taken internally as it is carcinogenic and hepatotoxic.



Battaglia, Salvatore. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. Virginia, Queensland, Australia: The Perfect Potion. 1995.

Lawless, Julia. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Shaftesbury, Dorset. Element Books. 1995.

Tisserand, Robert, and Tony Balacs. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone. 1995.


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