Vacha – Acorus calamus Uses, Research, Side Effects, Remedy

Vacha – Acorus calamus is very rich in medicinal values, used in Ayurvedic medicines since the times of Chakara and Sushruta. Improves speech, intelligence and more. It is called Sweet Flag in English

Botanical Name- Acrous calamus Linn.
Family- ARACEAE

Sweet flag

Names in different languages:
Hindi Name-Bach, Ghorbach, Safed bach
English Name- Sweet flag,  Calamus, Myrtle grass
Kannada Name – Baje
Telugu Name- Vasa
Tamil Name- Vasambu, Pullai-valathi
Malayalam Name- Bavambu
Arabic name – Vaj, Vash, Oudul Vaj
Gujarati name – Gandhilovaj, Godavaj
Kashmiri name – Vachi, Vaigandar
Persian: Agar, Agarturki, Vasa
Urdu: Bach, Vaj
Nepali Name – Bojho;
Unani: Vaj turki, Bacch;

Acorus calamus rhizome

Sanskrit Synonyms-
Ugra gandha – having offensive nauseating smell,
Golomi, Sataparvika, Shadgrandha, Shataparvika, Lomasha, Jatila, Haimavati

Acorus calamus

Classical categorization
Charaka-

Lekhaniya – Group of herbs having scraping quality, useful in obesity
Arsoghna – Group of herbs useful in piles treatment
Truptighna – Group of herbs that cure early satiation,
Asthapanopaga – Group of herbs used in decoction enema
Shirovirechaana – Group of herbs used in Nasya treatment
Sanjnasthapana – Group of herbs used in restoring consciousness
Sheeta prashamana – Group of herbs useful to relieve coldness

Susruta- Pippalyadi, Mustadi, Vachadi
Vagbhata- Mustadi, Vacadi, Vatsadi, Haridradi Chardana, Niruhana
Distribution- Cultivated in moist regions in India.

Dry Vacha Powder

Varieties of Vacha 
As per Charaka,
there are two varieties –
Vacha – Acorus calamus
Shweta Vacha – white variety – Iris germanica / Parils plyphylla.
As per Bhavaprakasha, there are five varieties –
Vacha – Acorus calamus linn
Parasika Vacha (Haimavati) – Iris germanica Linn
Kulanjana – Mahabhari Vacha – Alpinia galanga Willd
Sthoola Granthi  – Zingiber zerumbet Rose
Dveepantara Vacha – Chopachini – Smilax china  
Sweet Flag Rhizome

Acorus calamus chemical Constituents – Acolamone, Acorenone, Acoragermacrone, Acoramone, Acorone, Cis- & trans- asarone, B-& ofasarone, Azulena, Cadalene, Calamenone, Calamenene, Calamenol, Calamone, calamenone, Calamenenene, calarene, B- gurjune, Camphene, Eugenol, Telekin, Preisocalamendiol, Acoric acid, Calamen, Diol, Calamenone etc.
(Reference: Illustrated Dravyaguna VIjnana, Vol. II, by Dr JLN Shastry)

Vacha - Acorus calamus

Acorus calamus medicinal Properties
Rasa (taste)- Katu (pungent), Tikta (bitter)
Guna (qualities) – Laghu (lightness), Teekshna (strong, piercing)
Vipaka- Katu
Veerya- Ushna – Hot potency
Effect on Tridosha – Balances Kapha and Vata Dosha.
Prabhava – special effect – Medhya – improves intelligence
Part Used-  Sweet flag Rhizome
Dosage- Powder 125-500 mg in divided dose per day.

Vacha – Acorus calamus benefits:
Pachana – Digestive, relieves Ama Dosha
Vahnikrut, Deepana – improves digestion strength
Vamani – induces vomiting
Medhya – improves intelligence
Jeevani – enlivening
Vak prada – improves speech
Swaraprada – improves voice
Unmadahara – useful in schizophrenia
Apasmarahara – useful in epilepsy
Jantuhara – anti microbial
Shoolahara – relieves abdominal colic pain
Vibandhahara – Relieves constipation
Adhmanahara – relieves bloating, gaseous distension of abdomen
Shakrut Mutra Vishodhini – cleanses feces and urine
Kantya – improves voice tone and quality, useful in throat disorders
Anilahara – useful in treating disorders of Vata Dosha imbalance  such as neuralgia, paralysis, constipation, bloating, etc
Phirangahara – relieves syphilis
Rakshoghna, Bhutaghna – Useful against psychological imbalances and disorders
Vatajwarahara – useful in fever with bodyache
It is extensively used in obesity treatment. Especially as a herbal mix for powder massage (Udvartana).

Vacha Benefits

It induces uterine contractions. Hence, it is used in inducing delivery. During a difficult delivery, it is administered along with Black pepper root and saffron. It is also administered in dysmenorrhea.

Swarna Vacha – Because of its efficacy to improve speech, memory and intelligence, it is administered along with A wire of Gold (Swarna). Read more about this remedy – Swarna Vacha

Acorus calamus oil has tranquilizing effect, used in anxiety, dizziness, on external application.

Research:
Attenuating effect in chronic constriction injury
Phytochemical analysis and anti-microbial activity
Radical scavenging potential

Sweet flag – Acorus calamus side effects:
Because it induces contractions in uterus, it is not safe to use this herb during pregnancy. It is best to avoid this during lactation.
It can be used in very minute quantities in children.
Because of its hot effect, some people with Pitta body type may find it difficult to tolerate this herb. To counter its side effects, saunf mixed with lemon juice is administered.

Vacha Shodhana – Purification process
Charaka and Sushruta have not mentioned about its purification procedure. However, it is mentioned in Chakradatta and Bhaishajya Ratnavali.
For purification, Acorus rhizomes are boiled successively in Gomutra (cow urine), Kashaya of Alambusha (Sphaeranthus indicus) and Panchapallava Kashayam.
This is followed by Bashpa Sweda (sweating / fomentation) with Surabhi Toya – A decoction prepared with Cinnamon, Musta, Bala, Kushta. Patraka, Usheera.

In some folklore methods of south India, Acorus rhizomes are kept dipped in cow milk or supernatent liquid of curd over-night, then washed in hot water, dried and preserved.

Ayurvedic medicines with Sweet flag ingredient:
Kolakulathadi Choornam –
Used for powder massage to relieve joint stiffness and to treat obesity
Manasamitra Vatakam –  to improve intelligence, speech problems, etc.
Brahmi Vati – used in the treatment of depression, blood pressure etc.
Chandroday Varti –
a wick, used for eye disorders. Used in the treatment of early stage of cataract, pterygium, growth over the eyes, etc

Vacha used in preparing Ayurvedic medicines
Vacha, along with other herbs such as Jatamansi, Agaru, Sandalwood, Camphor etc is used for fumigation of fermentation vessel, in the preparation of Arishta and Asava – Alcoholic Ayurvedic medicines.
Vacha, along with other herbs such as Chitraka, Danti, Dravanti, Asa foetida, Coral, Bida salt and Sochal salt are used in preparing Madhyama – Teekshna Kshara.

 


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Comments

  1. G. UPENDRA SARMA, says:

    i recollect, my parents and elders were using vasa on me
    in my infancy, Feej greatly benefited by your article,Thanks.

  2. Dr.SG. Ramaesh says:

    very informative.

  3. Tushar says:

    Hello Dr. Hebbar,

    Just came across this article on a very reliable source on the internet.

    It strictly warns us against the consumption of Acorus Calamus due to the presence of β-asarone.

    Please post your views on the same.

    Posting the Link here: http://examine.com/supplements/acorus-calamus/

  4. Lalitha chidambaram says:

    Will it make d tongue thicker?so salaiva ll secrete more n always n d child always pours put d salaiva more n more

  5. Very Good Info..FDA works for the Medical Mafia corporation. Americans are suffering through high anxiety, depression and are taking drugs.

    All good herbal medicines are banned in America by the FDA Mafia.

    Thank You Ayurveda. My life came back. Examine.com is reverse psy-op website created by medical corporations to misdirect us.

    I have taken this and never ever felt this better before in my entire life.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Thanks for sharing your valuable feedback on acorus. Modern methods of testings and hypotheses do not always hold good for testing the authenticity of ancient Ayurvedic herbs. 🙂

  6. shardul says:

    does this herb protects our surrounding from snake? because of its smell?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Yes, it has snake repellent property. A study was conducted by Department of Zoonosis, Haffkine Institute, Bombay, which proved this.

  7. shardul says:

    Where can I get this? Can I get it delivered to my home?

  8. shardul says:

    Also can anyone help me for snake bit, actually Indian russell viper snake had bit my dog. We had give the anti venom, but there are chances of gangerin which Ayurvedic Medicine will help the dog to recover Please let me know soon.

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Sorry that we cannot offer a treatment via online. Better to talk to a good Ayurveda doctor locally for this condition. Hope the beloved dog recovers well and fast.

  9. Meghana says:

    Is this be called as haimavati

  10. Respected Doctor, my Son is 1 year 11 months but still he won’t speak. He just say ma, off, ba. My neighbors mentioned me to give this baje powder mixed with little honey very small quantity every day so that the kid can start talking… Can you pl provide your insight on this? If this remedy is going to help, how much powder I can use per day or can I buy the root of baje and get its paste or extract by rubbing it on a stone by putting few drops of water and mix that juice/paste to honey and use it

    Kindly guide us sir

    Thanks
    Shan

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, yes Baje is useful. – just a very tiny small pinch mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey in the morning. Excess of it can cause vomiting. It can be continued for a month time.
      For further personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health experts here (paid service) – https://easyayurveda.com/consult/

  11. What are the benefits of vacha ghrita?

  12. Vinnie says:

    Sir, My child is 5 year old and Is Speech delayed now she can make sentences little but her speech is not as a typical 5 year old we started Vacha and she really is improving but wondering how long can we use it and are there any side Effects and we give her a little pinch with honey twice a day . Will that be sufficient

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Hi, just a small pinch of vacha with a teaspoon of ghee in the morning, on alternate days, for 1 month should be useful.

      For further personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
      If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

      For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health expert Prof. Dr Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu), PhD, here (paid service) –

      https://easyayurveda.com/krishnamurthy

  13. Dinesh Gyawali says:

    Dr. Hebbar,
    My name is Dinesh Gyawali. I am also an Ayurvedic Physiscian and a PhD researcher at Maharishi University, Iowa, USA. During the course of my research, your website has been a great resource for my reference. I highly appreciate you doing this. Your information are highly authentic and I am pretty sure, you also are a great physician. I would love to work with you in some future projects.
    You are doing a great service to those who love, study and practice Ayurveda.
    Please keep it up.
    Just wanted to say Thank you!

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      Dear Dr Dinesh, have sent an email to you.
      Many thanks for your kind words of appreciation. 🙂

  14. Santosh says:

    Hi, my father aged 60 yrs, he loss speech cause of paralysis 5yrs back, can it was possible to get back speech with this medicine.

  15. Heeralal says:

    Sir, I have read some where that calamus contains some poisonous chemical hence should not be consumed internally.. Is it true sir..

  16. UDAY Antani says:

    My mother aged 79 years had a left side vocal code paralysed, since one year she can not speak due to this, Is Vacha churna mixed with madhuyasti churna and amla juice and honey will help to improve the condition for speaking again?

    • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

      I cannot guarantee. But it can be useful to some extent.

      • UDAY Antani says:

        Thanks for your valuable advice, What intake of doze to be taken?

        • Dr J V Hebbar MD(Ayu) says:

          Vacha churna – just 1 pinch (500 mg) – excess of it may cause vomiting.
          madhuyasti churna – quarter a teaspoon – 1 – 2 grams
          Fresh amla juice – 1 tablespoon – 10 ml
          honey – 1 teaspoon – 5 ml

          This combination can be given in the morning.
          At night, the same combination without Vacha can be given.
          Honey is suitable if she is diabetic.
          I do not guarantee any cure.
          For personal health advice, please consult an Ayurveda doctor directly.
          If you want my help in finding a good Ayurveda doctor for you, then let me know your place.

          For email advice (not a reliable option, we do not promise any cure), please write to our health experts here (paid service) – https://easyayurveda.com/consult/

  17. Dear Doctor,

    My daughter had a major depressive episode 2 years back and was on antidepressant for 9 months. She is still being treated for anxiety disorder and on Lonazep 0.5 mg once a day.
    Still she is unable to come out of the sad feelings and depressed mood and complains of severe fatigue and exhaution all the time.Also, she suffers from sleep disorders and always anxious and stressed. This condition is severely affecting her studies and her routine.

    I was checking on few of the Ayurveda medicines and noticed that Vacha is used as one of the main ingredients. Is it safe to administer such Ayurveda medicines containing Vacha?

    Please clarify.

    Thanks
    S R Srikantiah

  18. UDAY Antani says:

    Up to what duration this dosage can be given, sir? For a week, month or more?

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