Air

Other names: Irny root.

Diseases and effects: gastritis, gastric and duodenal ulcers, nephrolithiasis and cholelithiasis, heartburn, fever, diarrhea, rheumatism, skin diseases, bronchitis and pneumonia, malaria and tuberculosis, toothache, neuroses, bronchial asthma.

Active substances: Essential oil, acorin bitter glycoside, calamine alkaloid, tannins and resins, ascorbic acid.

Collection time:  July – October

Aroid family – Araseae \ r

Perennial herbaceous plant with a thick creeping branched rhizome. The leaves are narrowly linear, 100-120 cm long, coming out in bunches at the upper ends of the rhizome and its branches. The flowering stem is green, triangular. On the one hand, it is concave and forms, as it were, a longitudinal groove. A fleshy inflorescence (cob) extends obliquely upwards from the flowering stem, the length of which traditionally does not exceed 12 cm. Blooms from late May to mid-July. On the territory of the Russian Far East, the fruits do not have time to ripen; the plant reproduces vegetatively (by segments of rhizomes).\r

Calamus rhizomes are medicinal raw materials, which contain an essential oil of a rather complex composition, bitter glycoside acorin, calamine alkaloid, ascorbic acid, tannins and resins.\r

Preparations of calamus rhizomes are used in scientific and folk medicine as a gastric (juice extract) remedy. According to Vorovsky (1955), a decoction of rhizomes enhances the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, especially with reduced acidity of gastric juice. It is generally accepted that the improvement of digestion is achieved due to the presence of acorin in the rhizomes. Possessing a bitter taste, it reflexively stimulates gastric secretions and increases appetite. It is not yet clear whether calamus products have any advantage over other medicinal bitters in this regard.\r

With gastritis and peptic ulcer of the stomach and duodenum, the tannins contained in the rhizomes have a beneficial effect. Calamus rhizome powder is part of the Vikalin, Vikair, Ultoks tablets – drugs prescribed for peptic ulcer disease, as well as a number of gastric preparations and bitter tinctures. Calamus oil is included in the composition of the enatin complex remedy (olimetin, rovetin, rovachol), which is used for kidney and gallstone diseases.\r

Calamus is used as a decoction, which is prepared from 15 g of dry crushed rhizomes per 0.5 l of water. To prepare a decoction, you need the same dishes as for preparing infusions (see “Adonis Amur”). The required number of crushed rhizomes is poured into the quantity of cold boiled water indicated in the prescription and the vessel is placed in a pot of boiling water. Regularly stirring the contents of the inner vessel, keep it in boiling water for 30 minutes, after which it is removed and after 10 minutes (that is, without allowing the contents to cool) filter. After cooling, the decoction can be given to the patient. For adults, it is prescribed for a tablespoon per reception. Store the decoction in the refrigerator. Even if this condition is observed, it is not necessary to prepare the decoction immediately for more than 3-4 days.\r

The results of pharmacological studies indicate that not all active substances of rhizomes pass into the water. Therefore, in some cases, their alcohol tincture may be more useful. It is prepared as follows: a sample of dried and crushed calamus rhizomes is poured with ten times the weight of 70% wine alcohol and tightly corked. Infusion lasts 10-12 days, during which it will be necessary to shake the contents of the vessel regularly. After this period, the tincture is filtered and taken 25-30 drops 3 times every day.\r

With heartburn, sometimes, with success, powder from calamus rhizomes is used (on the tip of a knife 3 times every day).\r

F.I. Ibragimov and V.S. Ibragimova (1960), who summarized the materials on the use of many medicinal plants in China, report the use of calamus as a tonic, antipyretic and antidiarrheal agent. Calamus preparations in Chinese medicine are also used in the treatment of rheumatism, some skin diseases, with deterioration of vision and hearing. In Tibetan medicine, it is also used in the treatment of bronchitis and pneumonia (Varlakov, 1932).\r

The use of calamus in folk medicine for malaria and tuberculosis is described, also as a rinse for toothache (Nosal and Nosal, 1959).\r

In India, calamus, as in China, is used as a tonic for neuroses. In addition, it is prescribed for mental disorders, bronchial asthma, snake bites. Calamus is also used to control insects (Zolotnitskaya, 1958).\r

Research in recent years has revealed a number of interesting and practically valuable properties of calamus. Agarwal et al. (1956) found that an alcoholic extract of calamus rhizomes has a sedative, hypnotic, and, under certain conditions, some analgesic effect. These effects are mainly inherent in calamus essential oil, which enhances the action of a number of hypnotics, surgical drugs and reserpine, weakens some of the effects of stimulants and lowers body temperature (Dandiya and Cullumbine, 1959; Malhotra et al., 1961, etc.).\r

Materials have been obtained indicating that the main carriers of these properties are asarone and beta-asarone, which are part of the essential oil (Sharma et al., 1961). Dandiya and Manon (1963) showed that asarone is almost as active in terms of sedative (calming) action as the well-known psychopharmacological agent – chlorpromazine, and in some other properties even stronger than it.\r

Calamus and asarone essential oils have been found to relax spasms of smooth muscles and lower blood pressure. Under experimental conditions, the antispasmodic activity of asarone turned out to be somewhat less than that of the long-used plant alkaloid papaverine (Das et al., 1962). Madan and colleagues (1960) found that calamus is effective in all types of experimentally induced cardiac arrhythmias.\r

The presented materials indicate that the possibilities of practical use of calamus products are far from being exhausted.\r

Calamus rhizomes are harvested from mid-July to mid-October. They are pulled out of the ground with a pitchfork or dug up, washed off the remnants of the soil, cut off the leaves and roots at the base. Thick rhizomes are cut lengthwise to facilitate drying. The rhizomes treated in this way are dried in the air for 1-2 days. Their further processing may be different. Sometimes the rhizomes, after drying, are cleaned of the cork layer and then dried, sometimes they are dried together with the cork layer. In our country, rhizomes that are unpeeled from cork are considered suitable, since they contain more active ingredients.\r

Dried rhizomes should be in warm, dry, well-ventilated areas. When using a dryer, the temperature in it must not exceed 30 °. Well-dried rhizomes break with a crack when you try to bend them.

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