This aquatic plant grows by ponds, lakes, marshes and the banks of quiet waters.
The rhizomes out of which numerous sword shaped leaves shoot up to 1 metre high, creep horizontally through the mud at water's edge. The flat scape carries in its middle a cone-shaped, greenish to brownish yellow spadix. The root, the thickness of a thumb and up to 1 metre long, has a pungent, bitter taste when fresh.
When dried the taste is milder.
The roots are gathered in early spring or late autumn. Calamus roots are not only used, because of their strengthening effects, for overall weakness of the digestive system and flatulence as well as colic, but are also helpful for glandular disorders and gout. The roots stimulate a sluggish stomach and intestine and dissipate excess mucus.
As well one can recommend them for slow metabolism and underactivity of the intestine, anaemia and dropsy.
Extremely thin people, who have lost weight but not through lack of good food, should drink Calamus root tea and occasionally take a Calamus root full bath. Calamus improves the appetite, helps in kidney disorders and is a good remedy for cleansing the whole system.
The tea even helps children who suffer from indigestibility of grain, which occurs more and more in recent times.
The dried roots, chewed slowly, help smokers to break the habit.
Weak eyes are strengthened if the freshly pressed juice of the Calamus roots is brushed over the closed eyelids from time to time, the juice being left on the lids for a few minutes and rinsed off with cold water.
Repeatedly I have been able to help in cases of chilblains and other forms of frostbite, with warm Calamus baths. The roots are steeped overnight in cold water and next day brought to the boil. Infuse for five minutes. Then bathe the affected part for 20 minutes in the somewhat cooled (not too hot) infusion. It can be warmed and re-used up to four times. These baths also help those who suffer from cold hands and feet, but in these cases the infusion is used as hot as possible.
A 36 year old man could not regain his strength after a tumour on the liver had been removed. In intervals of 4 to 5 weeks, he had attacks of high fever, due to tubercles in the intestines. His deeply troubled mother-in-law told me of his hopeless illness. Here, too, Calamus has helped. It is understandable that in such serious cases the tea has to be drunk for weeks, if not for months.
On a mountain hike I met a couple, who, laden with heavy backpacks, were walking uphill. They wanted to spend a few relaxing days in a non-serviced hut. On a rest spot I joined them and I learned the following: A year ago the man, 1.85 metre tall, in his late fifties, had become a skeleton, without knowing the reason of his illness. Weighing only 45 kilo, he, in company of a nurse, stepped into the surgery of his doctor, who was telephoning another doctor, and heard: "I am sending you my most hopeless patient - cancer of the lungs." So, unwittingly, this man learned the diagnosis of his illness. Afterwards someone advised him to chew Calamus roots to break his smoking habit and to drink Yarrow tea, mornings and evenings. Slowly his weight increased and since he felt better, he did not return to the doctor. About half a year later he again went to the surgery of his doctor; who was most taken aback, since he had thought this man dead. "What did you do?" was all he could say. "Chewed Calamus roots and drank Yarrow tea", replied the man. "Calamus roots?, where do you find them?" "They are sold in herbal shops for a few shillings." The man at this time had reached his normal weight of 86 kilos and it was half a year later that he undertook a mountain hike, carrying a fully laden backpack, when I met him.
Every time I think of his story, mentioning it in my talks or noting it down, as for you now, it seems to me a Godly Providence and I am touched to my innermost.
Where there is too much or too little acid in the stomach, the Calamus roots even it out.
A woman from Vorarlberg, the western part of Austria, suffered from stomach pains for 2 years and could not be without pills. Following my advice, she took 6 sips of Calamus root tea a day and after 3 days the pain was gone; it has not recurred.
Another woman from Lower Austria, suffered from duodenal ulcers for years. To be able to cope with the pain, she relied very much on pills. She could not tolerate solid foods and had no appetite. Told about Calamus roots, she took the recommended 6 sips daily. The pain steadily subsided and, after 5 weeks, had gone completely, her appetite returned and she could join the other members of her family in a hearty meal.
An elderly priest suffering from diarrhoea for years, had resigned himself to the situation. Following my advice he began to take 6 sips of Calamus root tea daily. In a short time he was back to normal.
A small boy, who, despite a strict diet, suffered from diarrhoea (diarrhea) got well after taking 6 sips of Calamus root tea, his appetite returned and he gained a few pounds. His mother was overjoyed.
A man suffering from bloody diarrhoea for 10 years had turned, understandably, from a happy carefree person into a miserable one. Everything he had tried all these years was without success. He was pensioned off still fairly young. Before Easter he started, at first suspiciously, to take 6 sips of Calamus root tea daily and besides this he drank 2 cups of Calendula tea. My surprise was great when I received a letter from his wife telling me he had started work-again at the beginning of June.
Infusion: The Calamus root tea is only prepared as a cold-infusion. A level teaspoon of Calamus roots is soaked in 1/4 litre of cold water overnight, lightly warmed in the morning and strained. Before using, warm the tea in a waterbath.
Fresh juice: Fresh roots are cleaned thoroughly and, still wet, put in a juice extractor.
Full bath: About 200 gm. of Calamus roots are soaked in 5 litres of cold water overnight, brought to the boil the next day, allowed to infuse and added to the bath water (see General Information "full bath").
For more information on Maria Treben, her life's works and her healing experiences, go to: www.SwedishBitters.com