Vacha photo

Acorus calamus – Rhizoma (Araceae)

Common name: Calamus root (E), Sweet flag (E), Vach (H)

Sanskrit: Vacha, Ugragandha

Vacha literally means ‘speech’. Calamus thrives in wet, damp marshland and is a semi-aquatic perennial. Its qualities treat similar ‘terrain’ in the whole system; sluggish, congested, heavy and wet conditions, like those of a marshland, are opposed by the warm, drying, penetrating and stimulating qualities of Vacha.

Botanical Description

Vacha is a semi-aquatic plant that grows in damp, marshy locations across the globe, but is native to India. It has long, slender and sword-shaped leaves with creeping rhizomes. The flowers are very small and fragrant and a pale-green in colour and fruits are small and fleshy. It is the rhizomes of the plant that are most important medicinally.  

How it Works

The essential oils within vacha are particularly penetrating for the mind, helping to clear the mind and provide relief from mental stagnation.

An essential oil present in the plant, Beta-asarone, demonstrates relaxant and anti-spasmodic activities within the digestive, respiratory and the urinary system. Components within the rhizome have also demonstrated pain-killing and anti-inflammatory activities within the same three body systems.

Into the Heart of Vacha

The pungent and aromatic essential oils in vacha have made it an excellent herb for the removal of heavy, damp and congested toxicity throughout the body. It is considered to be a stimulant to the nervous system and an aromatic carminative to the digestive system. The activity of the essential oils appears to concentrate within the cerebral hemispheres and the mind, helping to shift emotional congestion that may be influencing stagnant depression and reduced cognitive abilities. This particular quality has made vacha a helpful herb for supporting recovery from stroke, epileptic attacks and loss of speech.


Mind: The primary application of vacha is to open the mind, improve concentration, clarity and speech. Its stimulating effect makes it useful in treating depression and mental sluggishness. It actually scrapes stagnation from the subtle channels of the mind. This acrid root is also used in childhood developmental problems and in post stroke speech difficulties. It specifically strengthens the ability of the mind to receive information and recall from memory.

GIT: The aromatic heating effect of vacha helps to calm the gastric nerves, prevent fermentation and clear excess congestion in dyspepsia, flatulence and borborygmus.

Lungs: Vacha clears damp, wet coughs from the lungs. It also has an affinity for the throat and clears ‘obstructions’ from the throat. Its purgative effect on the head make it an excellent remedy for sinus congestion, nasal polyps and rhinitis.

Urinary & Kidney: The decongestant and pungent qualities of vacha have traditionally indicated its use in treating urinary gravel and infections.

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