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Plant Part Used


Active Constituents

Acolamone, acoradin, acoragermacrone, acoramone, acorenol, acoric acid, acorine, acorone, acoroxide, asaraldehyde, asaronaldehyde, asarone, b-asarone (isoasarone), azulene, calamene, calameone, calamenol, calamenone, calamol, camphene, camphor, choline, cineole, dextrin, dextrose, dimethylamine, eugenol, n-heptylic acid, isoacolamone, isoacarone, linaIol, methylamine, methyleugenol, palmitic acid, pasarone, pinene, trimethylamine, aristolene, asarones (2,4,5-trimethoxypropenylbenzenes), cis-asarone, trans-asarone, c-asarone, asaryllaldehyde, (-)-cadala-1,4,9-triene(sesquiterpenic hydrocarbon), d--cadinene, calacone, calacorene, calamine, (+)-calamusenone, calarene,(-)-b-curcumene, 2,3-dihydro-4,5,7-trimethoxy-1-ethyl-2-methyl-3-(2,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)indene, b-elemene, epishyobunone, epoxyisoacoragermacrone, galangin, guaiene, isocaespitol, isocalamenediol, isocalamusenone, isoshyobunone, preisocalamenediol, shyobunone, mixed fatty acids (arachidonic, linoleic, myristic, oleic, palmitic, palmitoleic, stearic), sesquiterpene, sitosteroI, sugars (fructose, glucose, maltose), thymol, 2,4,5--trimethoxybenzaldehyde, Z-3-(2,4,5-trimethoxyphenyl)-2-propenel, asarone, calamenol, calamene, calameone, methyleugenol, eugenol, acorin & acoretin, mucilage, resins, tannins. (1) , (2)


Jerangau is grass like and rhizome forming. This plant can grow up to two meters high and is an aromatic herb with a stout underground, with creeping and branching stems. The leaves are simple and bright green in color, with a sword shape, about 180 cm and 40 cm long and wide respectively. They are thickened at the middle, distichous and acute. The stalk is about 20-25 cm long, has a very narrow spathe with an unequal short-acuminate apex. The cylindrical shape spadix is 15-10 cm long and 1-2 cm across, blunt, green, slightly curved and densely clothed with numerous flowers. The fruits are small and berry like, containing 3 or more seeds, and are indehiscent. The roots spread horizontally below the surface of the soil.


Acorus calamus L is usually standardized to eugenols. Other standard profiles were documented in Malaysian Herbal Monograph. (3)

Toxicities & Precautions


No toxicity reports are available in Malaysia, however FDA studies have shown that calamus native to India contains the carcinogen Beta-asarone.

Other than to be used externally, this plant is not intended for human consumption according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

Not to be used during pregnancy or nursing mothers.

Age Limitations

Not to be used by infants or small children.


It was reported that the administration of a 50% ethanolic extract of the rhizomes of A. calamus demonstrated significant hypolipidemic activity. (4) The anti-cellular and immunomodulatory properties of ethanolic extract of A. calamus rhizomes were evaluated. The extract inhibited the proliferation of mitogen and antigen-stimulated human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). (5) Acarus also inhibited the growth of several cell lines of mouse and human origin. This study demonstrated anti-proliferative and immunosuppressive potential of the ethanolic extract of A. calamus rhizomes in vitro.

An ethanol extract of Acarus rhizomes was screened for CNS effects and exhibited a large number of actions similar to alpha-asarone. This plant is considered unsafe for human consumption due to the fact that massive doses given to rats over extended time periods has proven to be carcinogenic.

Reported Uses

Externally used as poultice/lotion for fevers, rheumatism pain, skin diseases, lumbago, sore eyes, after confinement, and malaria. It is internally used for coughs and sore throat.


  1. Duke JA. Hand book of Medicinal Herbs. USA: CRC Press Inc; 1988.
  2. Goh SH, Chuah CH, Mok JSL, Soepadmo E. Malaysian Medicinal Plants for the Treatment of Cardiovascular Diseases. Selangor; Pelanduk Publication Sdn Bhd: 1995.
  3. Malaysian Monograph Committee. Malaysian Herbal Monograph vol II. The Malaysian Ministry Of Health. Kuala Lumpur. 2003.
  4. Mehrotra S, Mishra KP, Maurya R, et al. Anticellular and immunosuppressive properties of ethanolic extract of Acarus calamus rhizome. Inter. Immunopharmacology. 2003;3(1):53-61.
  5. Parab RS, Mengi SA. Hypilipidernic activity of Acarus calamus L. in rats. Fitoterapia. 2002;73(6):451-455.

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