Calamus Root Essential Oil Detail Image / From Wikimedia Commons / J.F. Gaffard, Autoreille, France

Calamus Root Essential Oil

Acorus calamus

Common Names: Rat Root, Sweet Flag, Sweet Myrtle, Sweet Root, and Sweet Sedge

All Calamus products have been removed from the U.S. market because of its genotoxicity (known to cause mutations). Calamus products cannot be sold in the US.

Known Uses (outside the U.S.)

Calamus Root Essential Oil has traditionally been used as a tranquilizer, sedative, hypotensive (reduces blood pressure) and muscle relaxant. Known as a general “wonder drug”.

Calamus Oil’s ability to stimulate nerves and blood circulation can give relief from the pain and swelling associated with rheumatism, arthritis, gout, headaches, and neuralgia. But, it also stimulates hormones and increases menstrual flow, which can be dangerous in some situations.

Calamus Oil activates neural pathways and can have a positive effect on the brain when taken in very mild doses such as boosting memory due to aging or trauma, increasing alertness, and helping to repair certain damage done to brain tissue. In low doses, it can also be an effective treatment for curing neurotic disorders, for relaxing spasms (especially nervous spasms), and for inducing sleep. The effects of larger doses can be devastating to the brain.

Calamus Root Essential Oil’s toxic nature prevents the growth of bacteria and can be used to fight infections, both internally and externally.


Calamus is found throughout North America, Europe, and Asia and is often imported from India and the former Yugoslavia and USSR. The underground portion (the rhizome) has been used medicinally since biblical times. It was commonly used in folk medicine as a nervine, most likely linked to the tranquilizing effect of the oil’s major component. Ground rhizome is used as a spice and commercial flavoring in drinks, cosmetics, and toothpastes outside the U.S. Calamus and its products are banned from sale in the U.S.


The documented adverse effects of Calamus Root Essential Oil in its ability to increase menstrual flow (creating a risk of spontaneous abortion), and its genotoxicity (causes mutations) as well as the presence of *isoasarone in Calamus has resulted in the prohibition of Calamus, its extracts and products from being sold in the U.S. *There is thought to be an association between the presence of isoasarone in Calamus with beta-isoasarone, a cancer-causing chemical that causes the development of tumors in animals.