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Sweet Flag, Premium Whole (acorus americanus)


Harvested by Indigenous families in pristine locations in Canada.

ENGLISH COMMON NAME: Standard: Sweetflag Rat root, Wiikkaii, Weegas, Acore, Bitterroot

LATIN NAME: acorus americanus
Plant Family: Acoraceae


Sweet flag is found across southern Canada, in the Northeast and upper Midwest. Taxonomically speaking, this plant has caused much confusion in North America. Two separate species now grow here: Acorus calamus, an introduced sterile triploid, and Acorus americanus, a native fertile diploid. The species can be easily identified by the distinct ribs on the leaves. Acorus calamus has one midrib and Acorus americanus have several. Interestingly, the distribution of Indigenous tribes reported to use Acorus americanus corresponds to the range of the native species. Disjunct populations of Sweetflag have been noted to occur in areas that are often near old village sites and camping areas.

Some strains of Acorus calamus are thought to contain the carcinogenic chemical β-asarone. Recent work indicates the diploid strain Acorus americanus does not contain this chemical. Health Canada warns that any kind of use of Acorus without the supervision of an informed physician may be hazardous.

Sweetflag has a long history of use in all parts of the world where it can be found. The richly fragrant leaves were woven into baskets or strewn across the floors of common areas inside dwellings. The scent of Sweetflag is considered to be very uplifting and has been used in aromatherapy to help combat depression and anxiety.

Sweetflag is strongly antimicrobial. Traditionally it has been taken at the onset of a cold or flu, to either arrest the sickness or shorten the duration and reduce the severity of symptoms. It has a long tradition of use in the treatment of colds, sore throats, coughs, sinusitis, as an antihistamine, in small doses to treat nausea, motion sickness, gastrointestinal problems including ulcers, gastritis, flatulence, diarrhea, upset stomach, loss of appetite, headache, toothache, hangover, and diabetes. It has also been used to promote focus and clarity, treat exhaustion, induce sweating, to treat rheumatoid arthritis and stroke, pain from endometriosis, enhance libido in both sexes, treat laryngitis and to strengthen the vocal chords for singers and speakers. Some herbalists suggest chewing Sweetflag as a preventative when around other people who are sick.

“Stephen Buhner, in Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers, recounts the tale of a Penobscot Medicine Man who has a dream in which the muskrat shows him what plant he should use to cure the affliction killing his people; that plant being Bitterroot.  In one of those few exceptions in which western herbalism saw past the digestive tract, Salmon’s Herbal proclaims it “a peculiar thing against poison, the Plague and all contagious disease.” (ref. https://www.herbcraft.org/calamus.html)

Keep dry. Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard away from light. Will keep for many years. Can be cut and chewed, steeped for tea or used in a tincture.

PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS: Improper use can cause kidney damage, shaking, and seizures. Consult with a healthcare practitioner before use, especially if you have allergies, heart condition, low blood pressure, are on any medications for diabetes or other medical conditions, or before or after surgery

We recommend that you consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have allergies, or are on any medications. Although most herbs are generally safe, it is recommended that you avoid self-prescribing especially when there is an underlying ongoing medical condition.

This information is for educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by Health Canada, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.