Acorus Calamus

Acorus Calamus

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Common name: Sweet Flag, calamus, flagroot, sweet cane, sweet grass, sweetroot, sweet rush 

Hindi: बच Bach, घोरबच Ghorbach, सफ़ेद बच Safed bach 

Manipuri: ওকহিদাক Okhidak 

Marathi: Vekhand 

Tamil: Vashambu, pullai-valathi 

Malayalam: vaembu, vashampa 

Kannada: baje, vasa, athibaje 

Bengali: bach, ghorabach 

Assamese: bach 

Mizo: hnim-rimtui 

Sanskrit: Bacha, Bhadra, Vacha 

Nepali: बोझो Bojho
Botanical name: Acorus calamus     

Family: Araceae (Arum family)

Vacha is a very very important herb that is considered so very highly in Ayurveda. This is also one herb that is very commonly used in home remedies and especially in village sides you will never find a single person who is not aware of this amazing herb. 

 It is popularly and commonly called sweet flag in English and it's botanical name is Acorus Calamus. It is called vasambu in Tamil, vacha in Sanskrit and bach in Hindi. It is an ancient herb and it's usage dates back centuries. 

It has wide variety of names like sweet myrtle, sweet root, calamus, etc which shows it's popularity all over the world. Here in Tamil Nadu, vacha is called child's herb as it is treats all the ailments of the babies. We regularly use vasambu for babies in the form of bracelets, to make bindis and to treat all the stomach ailments. 

This is one herb that I have never been without and even though now my son is grown up, I always have the dried root at home. The root is easily available in the ayurvedic shops, after buying the roots make sure to sun dry well before storing. Vacha has an amazing sweet smell that I completely love. 

The calamus essential oil derived from acorus calamus plant also has wide variety of medicinal uses. Though you get the powder in the markets, I would suggest getting the dried roots from the markets and make the powder yourself each time. It is easy and can be made in matter of minutes. To make the powder, take a long piece of the vacha and burn it directly in the flame till it turns black. when you are burning vacha the smell that emanates is incredible. Once it cools, powder it in a mortar and pestle. 

The powder is not bitter and can be easily given to children. Vacha should never be over consumed as it might cause vomiting and stomach problems. Pregnant women should be extremely cautious while consuming vacha.


1. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Babies:

If small babies don't take their feed and their stomach is bloated and they pass gas often, they might be suffering from indigestion. To treat it, take a long pieces of vacha and burn it in direct flame, cool and powder it. Mix a small pinch of vacha powder in breast milk and give it to the babies.

2.  Acorus Calamus | Vacha Bracelets:

Tying vacha teething bracelets for children is a tradition that has been followed for many years in India. Vacha has got anti bacterial, anti flatulent properties that keeps the babies free from diseases. Each time the baby sucks on the vacha pieces, a very small amount of the vacha extract enters their stomach and this keeps them from getting stomach disorders and prevents colic. You can find the method of making the bracelet here.

3.  Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Hair Lice:

We also use vacha it for external applications and one such preparation is homemade hair oil that is very effective in treating head lice. It is one of the best natural ingredients available that is very effective in killing lice. This sweet flag oil is a natural insecticide and it is so very gentle on the scalp. It can be safely used without worrying about any side effects. You can find the method of making it here.
4. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Speech Delay, Sore Throat & Cough:

To treat cough and sore throat, take a piece of vacha and break it into a small piece by pounding it in a mortar and pestle. Now take a small broken piece of vacha and suck on it for some time. As the vacha extract enters our throat, we will get good relief from cough and sore throat.  Sucking on the root also helps children who suffer from speech delay. We can also give a small pinch of the root powder mixed with honey too.

5. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Indigestion in Adults:

For treating indigestion in adults, take 1/8  th tsp of dry ginger powder and vasambu powder in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup of boiling water to it and let it steep for a few minutes, strain and sweeten with honey. This is a good home remedy for treating all kinds of stomach ailments like indigestion, stomach pain, flatulence, etc

6. Acorus Calamus | Vacha As An Insecticide:

Vacha is a very very effective insecticide. We can mix vacha powder in water and sprinkle to get rid of insects. This is a very safe way to get rid of insects especially in houses where there are small children. We can also use pounded vacha to make small sachets to use in wardrobes and cupboards for getting rid of roaches and insects.

7. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Making Bindi

Instead of applying artificial bindis for children, try bindis made with vacha. To make the bindi paste, burn a piece of vacha in flame till it is fully burnt. Take the burnt piece and rub it in circular motion using boiled water in sandalwood stone till you get a paste. Use this paste to apply bindi for babies.

8. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Depression, Epilepsy & Boosting Memory:

Vacha decoction is very calming on the nerves and is also said to improve memory. It also acts like a nerve tonic helping one relax during stress and depression, you can read the study that proves this use here. It also helps people who suffer from epilepsy. To make the decoction, soak lightly pounded vacha root in a cup boiling hot water till it comes to room temperature and drink. 

9. Acorus Calamus | Vacha For Diarrhea:

Vacha is very effective for treating diarrhea. For treating diarrhea in children, burn a piece of vacha and powder it in mortar and pestle. Mix a small pinch of the burnt vacha powder with honey and give it to children twice in a day till they get good relief. But please make sure not to overdose vacha.

10. Calamus Oil For Inflammation & Infections :

We can also use the calamus essential oil for treating various problems. Mixed with a base oil and massaged onto the skin, it prevents all skin infections. It is also very calming and when inhaled helps to get rid of headaches and can be used as a massage oil for arthritis and rheumatic pains too.

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