Medicinal Herbs and ADHD


Scientific Name: Acorus calamus


  • Volatile oils (sequiterpenes and monoterpenes: acorenone, isocalamendiol, α-and β-asarone (content varies greatly with species and habitat), α-and β-pinenes, myrcene, p-cymene, phellandrene-β, terpinene-γ, terpinolene, thujane and limonene.
  • Saponins (steroidal glycosides)
  • Mucilage
  • Bitter principle (acorin, acoretin)
  • Lignans (epieudesmin, galgravin)
  • Tannins
  • Resins

Medicinal actions:

  • Analgesic
  • Anthelmintic (Antiparasitic)
  • Anti-lithic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial (Antifungal & Antibacterial)
  • Antispasmodic
  • Carminative
  • Diuretic
  • Emmenagogue
  • Euphoric
  • Expectorant (Bronchodilator)
  • Hypotensive
  • Immunosuppressant
  • Nervine stimulant

Mechanism of Action & Pharmacology:

  • Volatile oils affect the digestive, circulatory, nervous, and respiratory systems. Anticholinergic activity, calcium channel blockade, and phosphodiesterase inhibition (specifically PDE4) may provide possible pharmacological basis for use in the relaxation of airways and in conditions such as asthma.
  • Mucilage & saponins increase expectoration and are theorized to act as a relaxant and antispasmodic to the lungs from the digestive tract through the spinal reflex.


  • Powder
  • Decoction in water or milk, honey often added
  • Tincture
  • Topical: as paste or plaster

Safety & Toxicity Concerns:

  • Not for long-term use.
  • Large doses may cause nausea and/or vomiting and tachycardia.
  • Avoid during pregnancy due to possible emmenagogue effects.
  • Use caution in immunocompromised individuals.
  • Note: Much of research on the pharmacology of A. calamus centers on the VO asarone which is considered carcinogenic. However, the American variety of the species does not appear to include asarone in meaningful amounts, instead having sesquiterpenes as part of its volatile oil composition and is thus considered safer to use.


  • Theoretical additive effects with immunosuppressant, hypotensive or hypoglycemic agents.

Scientifically driven. Education focused. Healing Inspired.

Subscribe to Insights

Receive clinically driven nutrition insights you can trust.

Animated Newsletter WM

Join Our Community to Read Further

This is a premium article created for our Healthcare Practitioner readers. Create a free account to continue reading and gain full access.



WholisticMatters offers health care practitioners and nutrition enthusiasts alike the opportunity to create a free profile for access to site features like bookmarking. Enjoying an article you are reading or a video you are watching? Save it to come back to later! Sign up in seconds for continuous access to all that WholisticMatters has to offer.

WholisticMatters also offers health care practitioners who create a free user profile access to exclusive content and tools to utilize in clinical practice. Articles, tools, and downloads created specifically for practitioners to use in their office for better patient education in clinical nutrition and health. Sign up today with your email and credentials so we can confirm you as a health care practitioner, and you are free to peruse the resources unique to you and your colleagues in health.


Create Your Account:

show-pass Please use 8 or more characters with a mix of letters, numbers & symbols

Create a free account to use our great bookmarking tool

Once your account is created, you'll be able to save and organize what matters to you!

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.

Are you a Healthcare Professional? Sign Up For Free Access!

We'll verify your credentials and get you access to our great interactive tools.

Already have an Account? Login Here

Click 'Sign Up' above to accept Wholistic Matters's Terms of Service & Privacy Policy.