Sweet Flag Health Benefits

The sweet flag plant is native to Asia and was brought to Europe in the 13th century by the Tartars. It has a pleasant smell, which resembles mandarin oranges; however, it has a sour taste. In Arabic countries, its essence is used as an aphrodisiac.

Sweet Flag Scientific Facts

sweet flag plant medicinal uses
  • Other names: Calamus, grass myrtle, myrtle flag, sweet grass, sweet myrtle, sweet rush.
  • French: Acore.
  • Spanish: Calamo aromatico.
  • Environment: It grows along the borders of marshes and river banks in Europe, North America, and Argentina. Widespread, but not very common.
  • Description: Water plant of the Araceae family, which grows from 60 to 150 cm high, with lanceolate, narrow leaves, and flowers growing in cylindrical spikes.
  • Parts of the plant used medicinally: The rhizome (underground stem).

Healing Properties and Warning

Sweet Flag Health Benefits 1

Sweet flag rhizome contains an essential oil, Oleum calami, to which the plant owes its medicinal properties. These are as follows:

  1. Appetizer: It increases appetite.
  2. Eupeptic: (Promotes digestion). It is helpful for a bloated stomach, lack of gastric juice (hypochloridria), and chronic gastritis.
  3. Carminative: Sweet flag eliminates gas in the digestive tract.
  4. Muscular relaxing and mildly sedative in the nervous system, when externally applied, adding its decoction to hot bathwater. It alleviates rheumatic pain and aids sleeping.
  5. Eases skin itching for rashes and nettle rash. A bath with a decoction of sweet flag root relieves itching and soothes the skin.
Sweet Flag Health Benefits 2

WARNING! The continuous administration of cis-isoasarone (one of the components of the essential oil of the sweet flag) to experimental animals, can produce toxic effects of a mutagenic type. As a precautionary measure, the prolonged internal use of sweet flag (for more than one month) should be avoided, or better still, pharmacological preparations of sweet flag oil, which have the cis-isoasarone removed, should be used.

How to use Sweet Flag

  1. Decoction or infusion with a tablespoonful of ground rhizome (some 15g) per cup of water. Drink two or three daily cups. Do not sweeten.
  2. Baths: Add to the bathwater a decoction prepared with 500g pf ground rhizome per liter of water.

REFERENCES George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 424. Print.

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