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(20.01.2014)

Sweet flag or Calamus

A herb that likes to have its feet in water

This plant has erect, sword-shaped leaves which bear a resemblance to those of the Iris. Botanically it is not related to Iris but both like to grow in or close to water.

The leaves have a pleasant sweet scent. The root-stock , or rhizome, is used for medicinal purposes.

Chunks of the fresh or dried root can be chewed in small amounts but I should warn you, they taste bitter. Like marmite, you either love it or hate it.

However, once you feel the benefit of this herb, you might grow to like the root.

The suggested dosage is to steep it over night, one teaspoonful in a glass of cold water and then take sips of this infusion during the day.

Calamus root is used for digestive problems like heartburn and indigestion, or for nausea associated with anxiety and panic.

It has also been used successfully for treating anorexia nervosa. Strong emotions often affect the digestive tract, leading to symptoms which are labelled IBS (irritable bowel syndrome).

Calamus will have a calming and balancing effect on these symptoms providing there are no underlying serious abnormalities.

The root contains a fragrant volatile oil that tastes warm, bitter and aromatic. This oil also helps to ease colicky pain caused by trapped wind.

It stimulates digestive secretions and peristalsis, and helps to expel gas.

According to 'A Modern Herbal, by Mrs M Grieve' it was traditionally be used by country people in Norfolk to ease increased body temperature.

People who wanted to stop smoking once used the calamus root as chewing on pieces of the root apparently reduced the craving for tobacco.

Calamus root is said to help sharpen mental focus and has been used to increase endurance and stamina.

Please contact me for further information and where to obtain the root

Luzia Barclay DBTh MIRCH Registered Medical Herbalist

I run a number of worshops in the local area, book online here

Email mail@luzia.co.uk or call 01722 330663

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