Acorus calamus herb review
February 1 2017

Acorus calamus, sweet flag, is a well-known medicinal plant that grows worldwide wildly along swamps, rivers, and lakes. The roots and rhizomes of Acorus calamus (Family: Araceae) have been used in the ancient systems of medicine for the treatment of various neurological disorders.

Composition
Acorus calamus contains beta asarone.

Anti-inflammatory
Acorus calamus inhibits the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines through multiple mechanisms and may be a an effective anti-inflammatory agent for the treatment of skin diseases.

GI disorders
Acorus calamus is a native of Central Asia and Eastern Europe and has widespread use in the traditional system of medicine for gastrointestinal disorders such as colic pain and diarrhea.

Effect on insulin in vitro and in vivo
Insulin releasing and alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity of ethyl acetate fraction of Acorus calamus in vitro and in vivo.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2010. Institute of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Biochemical Pharmaceutics, College of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhejiang University, Yu-hang-tang Road, Hangzhou, China.
The radix of Acorus calamus L. (AC) is widely used in the therapy of diabetes in traditional folk medicine of America and Indonesia, and we previously reported the insulin sensitizing activity of the ethyl acetate fraction of AC (ACE). To investigate the insulin releasing and alpha-glucosidase inhibitory activity of ACE in vitro and in vivo.Insulin releasing and alpha-glucosidase inhibitory effects of different fractions from AC were detected in vitro using HIT-T15 cell line and alpha-glucosidase enzyme. Furthermore, effects of ACE orally on serum glucose were detected in fasted and glucose/amylum challenged normal mice. AC and ACE increased insulin secretion in HIT-T15 cells as gliclazide did. As in vivo results, ACE (400 and 800mg/kg) significantly decreased fasting serum glucose, and suppressed the increase of blood glucose levels after 2g/kg glucose loading in normal mice. In addition, ACE as a mixed-type inhibitor inhibited alpha-glucosidase activity in vitro with an IC(50) of 0.41mug/ml, and 100mg/kg of it clearly reduced the increase of blood glucose levels after 5g/kg amylum loading in normal mice. Apart from its insulin sensitizing effect, ACE may have hypoglycemic effects via mechanisms of insulin releasing and alpha-glucosidase inhibition, and thus improves postprandial hyperglycemia and cardiovascular complications.

Nerve protection
Pak J Biol Sci. 2013. Role of Acorus calamus and alpha-asarone on hippocampal dependent memory in noise stress exposed rats. Noise stress induced oxidative stress, increased AChE activity, and over expression of hsp 70 in hippocampus region might have led to the impairment of spatial memory. EAAC and alpha-Asarone prevents this noise stress induced memory impairment.

Seizure disorder, animal studies
Acorus calamus for seizure disorder
Inhibitory role of Acorus calamus in ferric chloride-induced epileptogenesis in rat.
Hum Exp Toxicol. 2007; Hazra R, Ray K, Guha D. S. N. Pradhan Centre for Neurosciences, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, India.
Data presented in this study clearly show that Acorus calamus possesses the ability for preventing the development of FeCl(3)-induced epileptogenesis by modulating antioxidant enzymes, which in turn exhibit the potentiality of Acorus calamus to be developed as an effective anti-seizure herbal medicine.
It is not clear how it would combine with 5-htp for depression and mood disorders, sleep, stress.

In vitro studies
In vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory activity of the essential oil from Acorus calamus and its main constituents.
Planta Med. 2007; Mukherjee PK, Kumar V, Mal M, Houghton PJ. School of Natural Product Studies, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, Kolkata, India.
The in vitro acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potential of the hydroalcoholic extract and of the essential oil from Acorus calamus rhizomes and that of its major constituents were evaluated. Analysis of the oil revealed that the major constituents were beta-asarone (79%) and alpha-asarone (8%). The experimental observations revealed that the Acorus calamus essential oil and its constituents have significant acetylcholinesterase inhibitory potential. beta-Asarone, the major phytoconstituent present in the essential oil, showed the maximum inhibitory potential.