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Acorus calamus

Calamus is a wetland plant with sedge-like leaves and a member of the Arum family. It is native to Europe and Asia and has become naturalised in North America. The whole plant is aromatic, but the rhizomes contain the highest amount of essential oil. Calamus rhizomes have a long history as a herbal remedy - but the essential oil is far more powerful and contains compounds that may cause adverse reactions. Yet, in tiny amounts, it is a potent ingredient for magical perfume blends or room sprays. In North America, Calamus is known as ‘rat root’, because it is the favourite food of muskrats. The Calamus-rich diet is at least partly responsible for their musky smell. These little rodents devour the rhizomes with gusto and even hoard them for a rainy day, thus inadvertently helping to spread the plants.

Calamus rhizomes are used to flavour herbal liqueurs and similar alcoholic beverages. The Ancient Egyptians cherished the rhizomes for their restorative powers. They considered Calamus a mildly stimulating aphrodisiac. A vessel containing the remains of Calamus rhizomes was found in Tuthankamun’s grave - perhaps to revive his spirits upon reaching the realm of the dead. In India, the Kundalini snake feeds on Calamus rhizomes known as ‘Vacha’ in Sanskrit, meaning ‘clear speech’. Calamus is a nervous system stimulant that facilitates clear self-expression. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend it for eliminating metabolic toxins from the body and to reduce mental issues, particularly those associated with substance abuse or an imbalanced lifestyle. In both Western and Eastern medicine, Calamus is valued as a remedy for nervous indigestion, dyspepsia and stagnation of the digestive system.

Calamus and some of its close cousins have a long history as sacred plants. In ancient China, shamans used them to communicate with the souls of the dead. The Daoists considered them a symbol of good fortune. They used Calamus to prepare an elixir that imbued them with immortality and invisibility. Calamus protects against evil spells and bad energies. Native Americans carried Calamus talismans on their hunting expeditions - it worked like a charm, especially when hunting for muskrats! The Cheyenne also used them as incense in their sweat lodge ceremonies. The stimulating and uplifting scent brightens the spirit and clears the fog from a clouded mind. Calamus is associated with the throat chakra and can enhance meditative focus and mental clarity.

Calamus essential oil has a distinctly warm and spicy scent with whiffs of Galangal, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. It blends well with Ylang-Ylang, Cinnamon, Patchouli, Frankincense, Galangal, Labdanum, Cedarwood, Amrys and Ambrette.

Calamus aromaticus, Rat Root, Sweet Flag, Sweet Sedge, Sweet Root, Sweet Rush, Sweet Cane, Sweet Myrtle, Myrtle Grass, Myrtle Sedge, Cinnamon Sedge.