Acorus gramineus

  • Latin Name:
  • English Name:Japanese Rush, Sweet Flag
  • Chinese Name:Chang pu (菖蒲)
  • Greek Name:Καλαμιά
  • Ayurveda: Name:Haimavati, Sveta Vacha   (White variety of Vachaa)
  • Korean Name:Seok-chang-po (석창포)
  • Japanese Name:
  • Unani Name:


It originated in East Asia

It is included in the “New Flora of the British Isles” , where it has been naturalised especially in Surrey. It is commonly found in marshy places and alongside rivers and lakes.



The main constituents of medicinal interest are:

  • Acoric acid
  • alpha-Asarone
  • beta-asarone
  • gamma-asarone
  • yellow bitter volatile oil
  • alpha-pinene
  • d-camphene
  • calamene
  • calamenol
  • calamenone
  • eusarone (1-allyl-2,4,5 trimethoxybenzene) which is actually a pheromone
  • bisasaricin (Lignan)




The main action in TCM is removing stagnant phlegm and opening the orifices. It pacifies Shen , and harmonizes the stomach.

Channels entered: Heart , Spleen , Stomach

Energy: Warm , pungent, aromatic

1. Mental disorders or coma due to turbid Phlegm blocking the Pericardium or accumulation of Damp-Heat Combine with: Bambusa Zhu Li, and Curcuma Yu Jin

2. Dampness in the Middle Burner (Zhong Jiao) Clinical signs: Bloat, distension and pain in the chest and abdomen Combine with: Citrus Chen Pi and Magnolia Huo Po

3. Insomnia or heart palpitations due to Heart Qi deficiency Combine with: Poria Fu Ling and Polygala Yuan Zhi Classical herbal formula: An Shen Ding Zhi Wan

TCM Formulas in which it is included:

It is included in the TCM formula known as DX-9386 . Another known formula that uses Acorus gramineus is similar to DX but also includes Praying Mantis egg sacks.

In Korea it is quite common in the Southern part of the country where it is warmer. Koreans use it for stomach ache, hysteria and neurasthenia. It is also considered useful for students because it helps the brain.


They use it for abdominal colic as antispasmodic



Other Cultures:



The rhizomes of Acorus gramineus Solander (Araceae) have been used for the improvement of learning and memory and is often included in the TEM prescriptions for stroke. Water extract or volatile oil from A. gramineus induced sedation, decreased spontaneous activity, potentiated pentobarbital-induced sleeping time, and antagonized pentylenetetrazole-induced convulsion in mice. The interactions of A. gramineus with the central dopamine (D1 and D2) receptors and the GABA binding site of GABA A receptors were thought to mediate these central inhibitory actions. The methanol extract and the essential oil from A. gramineus inhibited excitotoxic neuronal cell death in primary cultured rat cortical cells. One active principle was identified as asarone , a major essential-oil component in the rhizomes of A. gramineus.

Tests of the alpha- beta-, gamma-asarones isolated from the essential oil of A. gramineus conducted on Guinea pigs had a spasmolytic effect on isolated  trachea and ileum contractions induced by acetylcholine,histamine, serotonin, and barium chloride.Alpha-asarone exhibited the greatest efficacy.

Regarding it’s anti-convulsive properties :In fact a study conducted, by Korean scientists ,  on mice showed that prolonged inhalation was more effective on the central nervous systemthan oral administration. The action was attributed to the reduction of the activity of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) transaminase.

A. gramineus inhibited excitotoxic neuronal cell death in primary cultured rat cortical cells. One active principle was identified as asarone , a major essential-oil component in the rhizomes of A. gramineus.

Other Uses:




According to TCM pharmacology

Horses and Cattle: 20–45g, Camels: 30–60g, Llamas, Alpacas, Goats, and Pigs: 5–15g  Dogs: 3–5g Cats and Rabbits: 1–1.5g Birds: 0.1–1.5g

Pest management:

Eusarone is a pheromone used as a chemical communication agent for Bactocera Papayae. No commercial applications have been recorded though.



Safety Toxicity:



  1. Chinese and Related North American Herbs  Phytopharmacology and Therapeutic values 2nd ed. Thomas S.C. Li Ph D. CRC Press
  2. Herbal Drugs – Ethnomedicine to Modern Medicine K. G, Ramawat , Springer 2008
  3. Medicinal plants in the Republic of Korea – Information on 150 Commonly Used Medicinal Plants. World Health Organisation 1998
  4. Pherobase euasarone(web seen on 01/2017)
  5. Inhibitory Effects of the Fragrance Inhalation of Essential Oil from Acorus gramineus on central nervous system. Too et. al Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin ,Volume 26, Issue 7, July 2003, Pages 978-982
  6. American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Hand book 2nd ed. CRC Press 2013 pg 13-14
  7. Indian Medicinal Plants C. P. Khare Springer 2007 pg16
  8. Tie’s Chinese Veterinary Herbology Wiley-Blackwell 2010 pg. 287


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