Calamus oil has a great name in history. The oil is known to be highly therapeutic in nature and is loved by its users. I remember, this aunt of mine who used tis oil and suggested me to apply on skin before I go to bed daily, it would smell great and make the skin supple.
A perennial plant, Calamus Root grows to a height of 1m with a spread of 0.5m. The rhizome is horizontal, creeping, cylindrical, branched and up to 2m long, with a spicy aroma; the fruit are greenish berries. Indigenous to the northern hemisphere, it prefers lake margins, swampy ditches, or marshes in a protected position. It is frost resistant, but drought tender.
Calamus has been an item of trade in many cultures for thousands of years. Calamus has been used medicinally for a wide variety of ailments, and its smell makes calamus essential oil valued in the perfume industry. In Britain the plant was also cut for use as a sweet smelling floor covering for the packed earth floors of -
- Medieval dwellings
And stacks of rushes have been used as the centrepiece of rushbearing ceremonies for many hundreds of years. It has also been used as a thatching material for English cottages.
In antiquity in the Orient and Egypt, the rhizome was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac. In Europe Acorus calamus was often added to wine, and the root is also one of the possible ingredients of absinthe. Among the northern Native Americans, it is used both medicinally and as a stimulant. It is believed by some that calamus is an hallucinogen.
This urban legend is based solely on two pages of a book written by Hoffer and Osmund entitled The Hallucinogens. The information on these two pages came from anecdotal reports from two individuals (a husband and wife) who reported that they had ingested calamus on a few occasions. None of the components in calamus are converted to TMA (trimethoxyamphetamine) in the human organism.
To date there is no solid evidence of any hallucinogenic substances in calamus. Acorus calamus shows neuroprotective effect against stroke and chemically induced neurodegeneration in rat. Specifically, it has protective effect against acrylamide induced neurotoxicity.
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