Structural Formula Vector Image
Title: Calamus
Additional Names: Sweet flag; calmus; sweet cane; sweet grass
Literature References: Perennial, iris-like plant, Acorus calamus L., Araceae. Habit. Europe, North America, Western Asia; cultivated in Burma and Ceylon. Several varieties exist and are characterized based on b-asarone content. Medicinal portion is the rhizome. Constit. Volatile oil (1.5-3.5%), resins (2.5%), tannins (1.5%); bitter principles such as acorin; mucilage, starch, sugars. Review of toxicology: M. J. Cupp, Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology of Herbal Products (Humana Press, Totowa, 2000) pp 171-175; of medicinal uses and constituents: J. Barnes et al., Herbal Medicines (Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2nd Ed., 2002) pp 100-102.
Derivative Type: Volatile oil
CAS Registry Number: 8015-79-0
Additional Names: Oil of sweet flag
Literature References: Obtained by steam distillation of the fresh or unpeeled dried rhizome. Constit. b-Asarone, highly variable, 90-96% in Indian variety; calamenol (5%), calamene (4%), calamone, methyl eugenol, eugenol, sesquiterpenes. Toxicity study: J. M. Taylor et al., Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol. 10, 405 (1967). Fragrance monograph: Food Cosmet. Toxicol. 15, 623-626 (1977). Review of composition and uses: C. Singh et al., J. Med. Aromat. Plant Sci. 23, 687-708 (2001).
Properties: Yellow to yellowish-brown viscid liquid; bitter taste. Soft, mellow fragrance reminiscent of patchouli. d2020 0.960-0.970. aD20 +9 to +31°. nD20 1.507-1.515. Sapon no. 16-20. Very slightly sol in water; miscible with alcohol. LD50 orally in rats (Jammu variety): 777 mg/kg (Taylor). Keep well closed, cool and protected from light.
Optical Rotation: aD20 +9 to +31°
Index of refraction: nD20 1.507-1.515
Density: d2020 0.960-0.970
Toxicity data: LD50 orally in rats (Jammu variety): 777 mg/kg (Taylor)
Use: In perfumery; as moisturizer in skin and hair preparations. Has been used as a flavoring ingredient and cooking spice.
Therap-Cat: Carminative, spasmolytic, diaphoretic.

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