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Calamus Root (Sweet Flag)

(S) Vacha, which means literally "speaking", the power of the word, of intelligence or self-expression that this herb stimulates

(C) Shi chang pu

Part Used: rhizome

Energetics: pungent, bitter, astringent/heating/pungent VK- P+

Tissues: plasma, muscle, fat, marrow and nerve, reproductive

Systems: nervous, respiratory, digestive, circulatory, reproductive

Actions: stimulant, rejuvenative, expectorant, decongestant, nervine, antispasmodic, emetic

Indications: colds, cough, asthma, sinus headaches, sinusitis, arthritis, epilepsy, shock, coma, loss of memory, deafness, hysteria, neuralgia

Precautions: bleeding disorders including epistaxis, bleeding hemorrhoids

Preparation: decoction, milk decoction, powder (250 to 500 mg), paste

CALAMUS is currently under F.D.A. restrictions, not recommended for internal usage and held to be toxic. However, it has been used in Ayurveda for many thousands of years, being one of the most reknowned herbs of the ancient Vedic seers. It is a rejuvenative for the brain and the nervous system, which it purifies and revitalizes. As such it is also a rejuvenative for Vata, and secondarily for Kapha. It clears the subtle channels of toxins and obstructions. It promotes cerebral circulation, increases sensitivity, sharpens memory and enhances awareness. It is sattvic and one of the best herbs for the mind, along with brahmi (gotu kola) for which purposes it can be combined. It also helps transmute sexual energy and feeds kundalini.

It can be applied externally as a paste on the forehead for headaches or on painful arthritic joints. It is perhaps the best herb for nasal administration, for nasal congestion and nasal polyps, and it directly revitalizes Prana. In large doses it is an emetic. To counter its emetic properties for general usage, it can be taken with equal amounts of fresh ginger 2 grams each per cup of water, with a little honey.

The powder taken nasally, in small doses, is also a simple and effective restorative to those in shock or coma.

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