Scientific Name Acorus calamus Linn. Family Zingiberaceae Used Part Rhizome Distribution Area A semi-aquatic, perennial, aromatic herb with creeping rhizomes, growing wild and also cultivated throughout India, ascending to an altitude of 2,200m in the Himalayas. Common Uses . Indian markets as such. In Ayurvedic system of medicine, the rhizomes are considered to posses anti-spasmodic, carminative and anthelmintic properties, and are used for the treatment of a host of diseases such as epilepsy and other mental ailments, chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fevers and glandular and abdominal tumours. They are also employed for kidney and liver troubles, rheumatism and eczema. The rhizomes are used in the form of powder, balms, enemas and pills and also in ghee preparations. Calamus oil and its fractions are credited with carminative, anti- spasmodic and anti-bacterial properties. The essential oil free alcoholic extract of the rhizome was found to posses sedative and analgesic properties and to cause a moderate depression of blood pressure and respiration. Similar crude drugs The powdered drug is reported to be adulterated with siliceous earth, ground root of marsh mallow (Althaea officinalis Linn.) and cereal flours. Pharmacological Effect The oil when administered intraperitoneally to experimental animals reduces spontaneous movement, muscle tone, and the response to tactile and auditory stimuli. Doses of more than 25 mg/kg produce generalized depression of the nervous system. Vapours of the oil are reported to have a sterilizing effect on the ovary of Tragoderma granarium Everts. Intraperitoneal infection of the oil to mice can be lethal if the dose is 0.22g/kg body wt. Elimination of phenolic and aldehydic fractions from the oil results in the increase in toxicity and sedative potentiating activity. Others The oil is used in the preparation of aromatic cordials and liquors, for flavoring beer and also in perfumes and dental preparations