In 1968 the Food and Drug Administration banned acorus calamus from being used as a food additive and as a medicinalas a result of lab studies that involved supplementing the diets of lab animals over a prolonged period of time with massive doses of isolated chemicals (β-asarone) from the Indian Jammu strain of calamus. The plant was labeled procarcinogenic. Wichtl says “It is not clear whether the observed carcinogenic effects in rats are relevant to the human organism.” However, most sources advise caution in ingesting strains other than the diploid strain.
Like the diploid strains of calamus in parts of the Himalayas, Mongolia, and C Siberia, the Acorus Americanus diploid strain does not contain the procarcinogenic β-asarone. Research has consistently demonstrated that “β-asarone was not detectable in the North American spontaneous diploid Acorus ”.
It is believed by some that calamus is a hallucinogen. This urban legend is based solely on two pages of a book written by Hoffer and Osmund entitled The Hallucinogens. The information on these two pages came from anecdotal reports from two individuals (a husband and wife) who reported that they had ingested calamus on a few occasions. None of the components in calamus are converted to TMA (trimethoxyamphetamine) in the human organism. To date there is no solid evidence of any hallucinogenic substances in calamus.
Calamus shows neuroprotective effect against stroke and chemically induced neurodegeneration in rats. Specifically, it has a protective effect against acrylamide induced neurotoxicity.
Read more about this topic: Acorus Americanus
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