Sweet flag (Acorus calamus Linn.): An incredible medicinal herb

Hashmat Imam, Zarnigar Riaz, Mohd Azhar, Ghulamuddin Sofi, Azad Hussain


The aim of the present paper is to provide information regarding the ethnopharmocology, ethnobotany, therapeutic uses and scientific studies carried out on sweet flag (Acorus calamus Linn). The search was carried out by examining the classical texts of Unani, Ayurveda and other traditional medical systems, as well as the ethnobotanical literature and Google scholar. The drug is popularly known as “Sweet flag” in traditional medicine and used to treat a number of diseases. The plant has a rich ethnobotanical history dating possibly back to the time of Moses in the Old Testament of the Bible and in early Greek and Roman medicine. Sweet flag has been valued for its rhizome and fragrant oils which have been used medicinally, in alcoholic beverages, as a fragrant essence in perfumes and oils, and
for insecticidal properties. Chemical analysis of sweet flag shows that it contains sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, α‑ and β‑asarone and
various other constituents. Research studies have shown that it possesses various pharmacological activities. An extensive review of the ancient traditional literature and modern research revealed that the drug has numerous therapeutic actions, several of which have been established scientifically which may help the researchers to set their minds for approaching the utility, efficacy and potency of sweet flag.
Key words: Ethnobotany, sweet flag, traditional medicine, Unani medicine, β‑asarone

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22377/ijgp.v7i4.336


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