acorus_calamus1

Mystery Medicinal Plant#1  (All plants have medicinal properties to those who know how to use them)

Ethnobotany:the scientific study of the traditional knowledge and customs of a people concerning plants and their medical,religious,and other uses. Those knowledgeable of plants’uses for health purposes are traditionally called by these names or equivalent: Healers,Curandero/Curandera,Medicine Man/Woman,Herbalist

Typically called by North American Native/First Nations:RAT ROOT Grows in the same areas along streams and wetlands or lakes where muskrats are found

Other names:acorus,calamus,sweet flag Scientific name:Acorus calamus var.Americanus

Many Northerners,Natives and Metis use this plant root for digestive and respiratory problems.It may have an immediate effect on heartburn by chewing on a small finger amt of dry root.It also has spiritual significance and may be carried in a medicine bag hanging on the neck or for practical purposes in a shirt pocket.

The North American variety produces fertile seed,unlike the Eurasian variety.The only region outside the US and Canada where this variety exists wild is Buryatia east of Lake Baikal,Siberia.Plant geneticists and anthropologists conclude that the plants were brought across the Bering land bridge by early humans15-20,000years ago.

“SI11KPt TAWOTE (MUSKRAT’S FOOD)
The most important traditional panacea medicinal
plant among the Oglala is sweet flag
(Acorus calamus L.). The Sioux call the plant
sirkpe tawoie, but some of the elders refer to
the plant by the English name, “bitter root.”
This plant of the Arum family grows in the
shallows of lakes and rivers and is valued for
its aromatic and pungent tasting rhizome. Although
the plant has been used to cure almost
every known ill, its dominant uses are for cold,
congestion, throat problems, and upset stomach.
The rhizome is chewed or made into tea.
At powwows singers place pieces of si.”kpe tawoie
in their mouths to keep clear voices.
Sirkpe tawoie is also used as a tonic and
stimulant, the Sioux often placing pieces in their
mouths in order to combat fatigue. The plant is
also used externally for sores. The Oglala give
two or three doses of tea from the boiled or
masticated rhizome to puppies so that they will
grow up to be mean watchdogs. The plant is
also burned to keep away night spirits. Many
elderly Sioux carry a small piece of sirkpe tawOle
with them as an amulet. Si.”kpe tawote is
an important plant in the medicine man’s bag,
and it is also commonly used by the people”   http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1505&context=greatplainsquarterly

The sterile variety propagated from roots was carried from their home and spread to Europe by the Mongol and Tatar invaders long ago. In Russia this was thought to be initially something like a Trojan Horse and the original Russian name was Mongol Poison. In England the pleasant smelling leaves were used as “strewing herb”and some parts of Europe the root called German ginger.

Culinary Uses of Calamus

“The leaves can be used fresh in an infusion with milk for custards, rice puddings and other desserts in much the same way as a vanilla bean or cinnamon quill is used to impart its flavor. Young leaf buds have been added to salads and the powdered root is sometimes used for its delicate cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger notes in Indian and Arab sweet dishes. Calamus is a key ingredient in Absinthe and the original recipe for Dr. Pepper.”

“Like a surgeon with his instruments and knives ready for cases which suddenly need their skill, so do you have principles ready for the understanding of things divine and human…

Make for yourself a definition or description of every object presented to you, so as to see
clearly what it is in its own naked substance, complete and entire, and tell yourself its proper name, and the names of the things of which it is compounded and into which it will be dissolved.”
-Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, ca. 1800 years ago

Customary Disclaimer/Precautions

Any person may experience adverse effects from ingesting any particular plant part.

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” The Buddha

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ACAM

http://naeb.brit.org/uses/search/?string=acorus+calamus

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