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

Vacha – Acorus calamus is very rich in medicinal values, used in Ayurveda 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 (Sooran kula)

Sweet flag

Vernacular names

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, ugra – having offensive nauseating smell,
Golomi – Rhizome of vaca has hairs over it resembling the hair of cow
Lomashi, jatila – Hairy rhizome
Sataparvika – Rhizome has numerous nodes
Shadgrandha – More than 6 nodes present in its rhizome
mangalya – Auspicious herb
Karshani – It help to reduce weight

Acorus calamus

Classical categorization

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

Dry Vacha Powder
Sweet Flag Rhizome

Distribution, varieties

Distribution- Cultivated in moist regions of India especially in Manipur, Nagaland, Kashmir. Also found in Srilanka. Grow in Marshy land area.

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  


Perennial terrestrial herb of marshy places
Stem – Stout, creeping
Rhizome – aromatic
Leaves – Sword shaped, erect, shar pointed, sheathing each other, midrib is stoutparallel venation
Inflorescence – Spadix
Flower – Densely cover the entire spadix, greenish yellow
Fruit – Turbinate, prismatic, pyramidal
Useful part – Rhizome – Sub cylindrical light brown colour. upper surface shows leaf scars, while lower surface bear small raised circular root scars.

Chemical constituents

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

Medicinal properties

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
Pharmacological action – Vermifuge, Carminative, Sedative, Tranguilizer

Part used, dosage

Part Used:  Sweet flag Rhizome
Dosage: Powder 125-500 mg in divided dose per day.
1 – 3 g ( For vamana panchakarma procedure )


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).

Sanskrit verse

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

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

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


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

Side effects

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.

Interaction with medicines, supplements

Can this be used while taking Homeopathic medicine?
Yes. This product does not react with homeopathic medicine.

Can this medicine be continued while taking supplements like multivitamin tablets, Omega 3 fatty acids etc?
Yes. Generally, this product goes well with most of the dietary supplements. However, if you are taking more than one product per day, please consult your doctor for an opinion.

With western medicines
Seek your doctor’s advice if you are taking this product along with other western (allopathic / modern) medicines. Some Ayurvedic herbs can interact with modern medicine.
If both Ayurvedic and allopathic medicines are advised together, then it is best to take Allopathic medicine first, wait for 30 minutes and then take the Ayurvedic medicine.

Purification method

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

Ayurvedic medicines with Sweet flag ingredient:
Kolakulathadi Choornam –
Used for powder massage (udvartana) 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 Ayurveda medicines.
Vacha, along with other herbs such as Chitraka, Danti, Dravanti, Asafoetida, Coral, Bida salt and Sochal salt are used in preparing Madhyama – Teekshna Kshara.

Systemic Action

Externally – Reduce pain and inflammation. indicated in joint disorders, hemiplegia, Its juice can be used in conditions like tinnitus and ear pain
Internally – Nervous system – Improve intellect, act as nerve tonic, helps to regain consciousness. Indicated in Tremor, Insanity, Epilepsy, Hemiplegia and other diseases caused by vata dosha.
Digestive system – It is spicy in taste so act as carminative. Induce vomiting and diarrhea in heavy doses. Indicated in Worm infestation, Hemorrhoids, constipation, loss of taste, bloating, abdominal cramp etc.
Circulatory System – Slow down the activity of Heart, Indicated in Hypertension.
Respiratory System – Indicated in vata kapha kasa and in hoarseness of voice, running nose, inflammation / swelling of throat
Excretory system – Even though Hot in nature it increase urine production, Indicated in painful micturition, Urinary calculi etc.
Reproductive System – Stimulate uterine contraction. Indicated in dysmenorrhea(Along with pippali and saffron),
Skin – Induce sweat production Indicated in various r skin disorders
Indicated in fever – (Sannipata jvara, Fever in toddler during tooth eruption)
Havng Lekhana (Scraping action).Prolonged use leads to tissue depletion . Indicated in obesity. Can be given for kids to promote intellect and delayed speech.

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