Acorus calamus, commonly known as sweet flag, is a seasoning and herb traditionally used in Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine for its cognitive-enhancing properties.
Preclinical studies suggested that Acorus calamus supplementation had potential for treating neuropathic pain.
Unfortunately, supplementation of Acorus calamus is not practical. Studies that last longer than a year show that even very low-dose supplementation can cause organ damage and intestinal tumors. This is because Acorus calamus contains β-asarone, which is toxic and a known carcinogen.
The main mechanism of Acorus calamus involves a potent interaction with GABAA receptors.
The active ingredient in Acorus calamus is β-asarone, which is also responsible for the plant’s main mechanism. Though it is possible to extract and remove β-asarone from the plant in order to make supplementation safe, this process also renders the plant useless.
- Sweet Flag
- Calamus Oil
- Acorus Calamus
- Acorus Gramineus (Japanese or Dwarf Sweet Flag)
Before supplementing Acorus calamus, please review the toxicology information on this page. Acorus calamus is unfit for human consumption because of its β-asarone content. β-asarone is toxic and a known carcinogen.
Some studies have used an ethyl acetate extraction of Acorus calamus, which is supposed to be free of β-asarone. This extraction appears to be effective in the range of 100-200mg per kilogram of bodyweight. This translates to an approximate human dose of:
• 1,100-2,200 mg for a 150lb person
• 1,500-2,900 mg for a 200lb person
• 1,800-3,600 mg for a 250lb person
It is not guaranteed that any extract is completely free of β-asarone. Acorus calamus supplementation is not recommended.