Sweet Flag

Botanical name

Acorus calamus

Common Names

Sweet Flag, Singer's Root, Calamus-root, Flag-root, Sweet Cane, Sweet Cinnamon, Sweet Myrtle, Myrtle Flag, Beewort.




Semi-aquatic, this herb grows all around the world in swamps and marshes, on the banks of streams and in ponds. Cultivated in gardens, but is thought to have originated in Europe. 

Part supplied

The chopped root.

Food Use


Use 1 teaspoon of dried root to one cup of boiling water to make a tasty tea. Simmer for 5 minutes. Sweeten with honey or lemon to taste.

Alternatively add half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of tincture to a cup of warm water for a quick alternative to tea.

The herb can be added as a flavouring to gin, vodka and other infusions.

Acorus is traditionally used as a food supplement where an increase in stamina is required such as in running a marathon. It was also used by singer's to sustain their voices.

Medicinal Use

Sinusitis, bronchitis, stimulates appetite (internally) rheumatic pains and neuralgia (externally).

Key actions: Carminative, aromatic, spasmolytic, excitant, sialagogue, tonic, aromatic, bitter feeble stimulant.

In clinic: Herbalists use this herb in anorexia and to treat digestive complaints.

If you are interested in the medicinal use of this herb please consult a herbalist. Herbs are generally used at medicinal strength, in blends, prescribed for each unique patient's condition.


Decoction: 1 teaspoon of root to a cup of cold water, bring to the boil and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Or steep 1 teaspoon root in cold water overnight. Flavour with lemon, ginger or honey if desired. Drink 3 times a day unless otherwise told by a medical herbalist.

Tincture: Take 1 ml (1:3 in 60% tincture), 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Other Uses

Cosmetic Use

None known.

Other Uses

The leaves are used as thatch for roofs, in basket-making or incorporated into mats. In essential oil form it is effective as an insect repellent and in plant form, as a mosquito repellent. 



This herb is considered safe in food amounts. Do not take if you are allergic to this plant or other members of this plant's family (Araceae). Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children. If in doubt, please ask us or your medical herbalist.

Side effects

Plant extracts cause few side effects when taken correctly but if a side effect is experienced please contact us.

Interactions with drugs

Herbal remedies and supplements can interact with medicines. If you are taking medication please check with your medical practitioner, or call us, before taking herbs, supplements and medication together.

More Information


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