Plant Family: Acoraceae

Common Names: Sweet Flag, Beewort, Bitter Pepper Root, Calamus Root, Flag Root, Gladdon, Myrtle Flag, etc. 

Botanical Name: Acorus calamus 

Medicinal Uses: In modern herbal medicine, it is used as a sedative, laxative, and a diuretic. The roots of the plant can also cause visual hallucinations when chewed. It is currently being studied in rats and has proven effective against stroke and chemically induced neurodegeneration. Lastly, both the roots and leaves have displayed antioxidant, antimicrobial, and insecticidal properties.

Folklore/History: Its use is discussed in the Bible as being a part of the Holy Anointing Oil. There is a story that an illness was plaguing the Penobscot people and one man had a dream in which he was shown the root of the Calamus and where to find it. When he woke, we went to find the root, made a medicine from it, and cured all of the people. Teton-Dakota warriors thought that it helped prevent excitement and fear when they faced enemies, so they made a past from it and rubbed it on their faces before battles. Lastly, the Japanese would use the leaves in a bath for their children because they believed it promoted health and helped ward off evil. 

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