Comments: There are no known differences between the uses for Acorus calamus and A. americanus at this time. This plant has a long history of use by Native Americans, who have used it for a variety of cures. It is used widely by drum singers to help keep the throat moist (Robyn Klein pers. comm.). Small pieces of the plant were sucked while singing during powwows, and it was used as a cough remedy. Native Americans also spread the leaves in their lodgings to give a pleasing scent. Early settlers used the plant as a candy or a kind of throat lozenge (Mike Penskar pers. comm.). It is used by herbalists as a treatment for ailments of the throat and lungs, but only in small amounts as part of an herbal formula (Robyn Klein pers. comm.). It is recommended as a component of formulas for quitting tobacco and marijuana smoking (Tierra 1990). It was probably introduced in many parts of its range by settlers for medicinal use. See Tierra (1990) for a very detailed summary of medicinal applications for this plant.
Euell Gibbons has documented many uses for this plant in his popular books on eating and using plants.
Prices for this species were found as follows:
Unknown location: $4.50/lb (Ed Fletcher pers. comm.)
U.S., internet: $3.25/packet of seeds
U.S., internet: $1.16/oz
U.S., mail order: $8.50/lb of wild-harvested material, $9.50/lb of powdered root
U.S., mail order: $1.08/oz dried root, $8.65/lb (1-4 lbs), $8.20/lb (5-24 lbs), $7.20/lb (25 lbs) (plant material from Poland)
U.S., mail order: $13.49/one-third oz. root essential oil (wholesale), $22.49 (retail)