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small acorus 2 Calamus Root
Acorus calamus

Sweet flag loves watery places, and for that reason many have allied this plant with the Moon. But there is nothing Moon-like about this plant. This magick herb is said to be stimulant and warming, not sedative and cooling. Since the root does grow in water, this plant must have a mighty fire to stimulate and warm under such conditions. It also has a yellow flower and certainly has a masculine form. For all of these reasons, it belongs to the Sun. True, it is not a sunflower, but maybe we need to allow the planetary influences a little more depth. Sweet flag is one of the ingredients in the ritual incense (ketoret) mentioned in the Hebrew Bible (Exodus XXX:34-38) and burned twice daily in the Temple. Versions of ketoret have long been incorporated into ritual magick, in particular in work connected to contacting one's holy guardian angel. To my mind, this strengthens the argument that calamus root is a Sun herb. Top

Non-Magickal Uses

Calamus root has been used in North America by native peoples for various purposes, from medicine to snuff. The active part of the plant is the root, which contains asarone. One of the two varieties that grows in North America does not contain beta-asarone, which a single lab study showed that in huge quantities promoted cancer in rats, although it has been used safely as a sedative in Ayurvedic medicine for several thousand years. The Eurasian type contains a very small amount of beta-asarone (5% of the essential oil), and the Indian variety contains a large amount of beta-asarone (75% of the essential oil). My present source is the Eurasian type from Eastern Europe, and it is quite fragrant. Asarone is said to be stimulating, and beta-asarone sedating. Either in large doses will cause vomiting. Typically, it has been used as a tincture or extract for digestive stuff. Read King's American Dispensatory on Acorus calamus. Calamus is NOT an ingredient in calamine lotion, which is made from zinc oxide and ferric oxide and contains no herbs at all. And it does NOT have a history of treating skin complaints. Top

Calamus root, chopped
1 oz. $3.50

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Incense, esp. of the YHVH type (so-called White Magic)
Sun Herb

Grow your own calamus root

Other aromatic roots: angelica, galangal, orris, vetiver.

2004, 2016 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission