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Marsh calamus is a perennial aquatic plant of the Airnykh family, which came to us, presumably, from India and China. It grows in Russia, India, Europe, Southeast Asia, southern Canada and the USA.
Calamus is a triangular bright green stems growing in water, the plant reaches a height of 50 to 120 cm. The stem is erect, the flowers are small, light green. The fruits are small, they are red or pale green berries (in Russia and Europe, the plant, due to the climatic factor, does not bear fruit, multiplying vegetatively).
Calamus grows, as the name implies, mainly in wetlands, near water bodies, on abundantly moist soil, sometimes forming extensive thickets. The Tatars believed that the water in which calamus grows was suitable for drinking, and often, in the course of the movement of the Tatar-Mongol troops, they threw stalks of calamus into the water. Thus, calamus spread throughout Russia.
- Usage history
- Collecting and using calamus
- Contraindications for use
History of the use of calamus root
The history of the medicinal and domestic use of calamus goes back more than one millennium; even the ancient Greeks and Romans used the calamus root for medicinal purposes. It was mainly known as a kidney medicine, a diuretic, and a mild tonic and eye remedy.
Calamus came to Europe only in the 16th century, when the director of the Vienna Botanical Garden managed to obtain rhizomes for planting and cultivation, however, it quickly became clear that this herb is widespread throughout Eastern Europe under the name Tatar grass. Thus, calamus gradually spread throughout Europe.
In North America, the plant appeared in the late 18th century. At the moment, calamus root is widely used for various purposes - in cooking, pharmacology and medicine, landscape design and even in the perfume industry.
Collecting and using calamus
Calamus is collected in the autumn - winter period, when the water level drops significantly, cleaned, crushed and dried.
Calamus root is widely used:
- in cooking
- in traditional medicine recipes
- in perfumery
- in landscape design
- in veterinary medicine
- in pharmacology and scientific medicine
Initially, calamus was used and imported into Europe from Turkey as an expensive delicacy, and to this day, calamus in this capacity can be found in eastern markets. In India, dried calamus is used as a seasoning for meat and fish. Calamus is still used as a seasoning for various dishes or as an ingredient for preservation.
Air in landscape design
The plant grows well in any moist soil, but, unfortunately, did not attract the attention of amateur gardeners. It is used only occasionally, for decorating reservoirs, but regular cleaning and weeding is necessary to avoid too rapid growth and waterlogging of the reservoir. Due to not quite suitable conditions, calamus in the garden pond will not bloom and will not grow more than 50 cm.
Calamus root in medicine
Used for broad medical purposes throughout the halo of distribution:
- in India (as a bactericidal drug)
- in Korea (for ailments and pain in the abdomen, gastritis)
- in China (for epilepsy and rheumatism)
- in Tibet (for laryngeal ulcers and gastroenteritis)
- in Bulgaria (for kidney and stomach diseases)
- in Europe (a very wide range of diseases - fever, anemia, arthritis, typhoid, malaria, rickets, cholera, etc.)
In folk medicine, there is a widespread opinion about the healing properties of calamus, it is credited with much greater therapeutic capabilities than it has in reality. Usually calamus root is used in the form of decoctions, infusions, baths with decoctions, taken internally and externally. However, research has shown that the healing properties of calamus are by no means so universal.
Unfortunately, contrary to popular belief in folk healing, calamus root is by no means a "cure for all diseases." It is mainly used alcoholic extract and essential oils of calamus root. The main area of application is an expectorant and bactericidal agent for diseases of the liver and kidneys (of course, it is prescribed in conjunction with other drugs).
For the most part, calamus root in modern medicine is used only as part of drinking herbal preparations. In veterinary medicine, calamus root is used as one of the ingredients for decoctions and potions, added to improve digestion in pets.
Calamus root is used as a flavoring agent in the manufacture of soaps, tooth powders and other hygiene products. It is actively used in perfumery in the manufacture of perfumes, as a result, it adds astringency and spicy notes to the aroma.
Contraindications for use
Calamus root should not be used during pregnancy, acute inflammatory processes in the kidneys, and gastrointestinal ulcers. Despite the advice of traditional medicine, calamus root should not be used as a remedy; for any type of pain, it is recommended that you seek help from a qualified medical professional, and not self-medicate with dubious folk remedies.
Contrary to popular belief and a huge number of recipes and medicinal drugs, calamus root is not a medicinal product, and is suitable for use mainly for culinary or perfumery purposes.
In case of abuse, it acts as an emetic and can exacerbate the disease. It has only small medicinal properties, along with calamus with modern medicine there are a significant number of drugs that can bring a therapeutic effect with much greater efficiency and benefit.
Informative video about the benefits of calamus marsh: