Sunday, 10 July 2011

Acorus calamus: Sweet flag or Boch fights epilepsy

By Syed Akbar
Acorus calamus or Sweet flag is a wonder herb that has been in use in all systems of medicine including allopathy. In Sanskrit it is called Vacha, while in Hindi and Urdu it is popular by the name Boch. The rhizome of the plant is used in herbal preparations including ointments and balms for skin ailments, and treatment of burns. The rhizome is used in its dried form. A word of caution about this herb is that it should be taken in very minute quantities as it will cause vomiting and nausea if consumed in excess dosage. A teaspoon of rhizome powder is recommended twice a day.

Balms prepared from Calamus is used in massage to tone up the muscles and keep the skin in good condition. It is used in treatment of fevers particularly malaria, pain, stomach upsets, headache and tooth trouble. It is a laxative and diuretic. Calamus is also considered as natural herb to promote appetite. Some herbal doctors suggest Calamus for treatment of abdominal pain. In Ayurveda, it is considered as a tonic for the brain and nervous system as it improves memory in people suffering from amnesia or loss of memory. It is also recommended for asthma and killing intestinal worms.

Home remedies

Persistent cough can be treated by inhaling the smoke of the dried rhizome. Make sure that too much smoke is not inhaled.
Extract obtained from the rhizome of Calamus provides relief from headache and toothache. It is also considered good for oral problems.
Readymade Calamus capsules are available in herbal stores. They can be consumed as prescribed by herbal specialists for treatment of epilepsy. Ensure that the prescribed dosage is followed.
Calamus rhizome powder can be made into an ointment by adding a little of coconut oil for external application to treat small burns.
A little of Calamus root can be chewed for relief from motion sickness.
Calamus tonics are available for improving memory power. Infusion obtained from Calamus rhizome can also be used.

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Syed Akbar at the 11th Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity