Last update Oct. 21, 2023

Sweet Flag, Calamus

High Risk

Poorly safe. Evaluate carefully. Use safer alternative or interrupt breastfeeding 3 to 7 T ½ (elimination half-lives). Read the Comment.

The rhizome of the plant is used in traditional medicine as an antispasmodic and antisecretory and nematocidal in dyspepsia and as an appetite stimulant. It contains essential oil with mono and sesquiterpenes, phenylpropanoids such as ß-asarone, starch, saponins, tannins, alkaloids and resin. There is no scientific evidence of its alleged properties. Because of the possible mutagenic and carcinogenic properties of ß-asarone, its commercialization is prohibited in many countries. (, EFSA 2012, MSC 2004)

At the time of the last update, we found no published data on its excretion in breast milk.

Given the scarce bibliographic references of this plant, its potential toxicity and its lack of proven therapeutic indications, its consumption is dispensable, especially during lactation.


Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Sweet Flag, Calamus is also known as

Sweet Flag, Calamus in other languages or writings:


Sweet Flag, Calamus belongs to this group or family:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Sweet Flag, Calamus in its composition:

  • Ayru (Аіру)
  • Bittner™. Contains other elements than Sweet Flag, Calamus in its composition
  • Elcarim
  • Pervivo™. Contains other elements than Sweet Flag, Calamus in its composition


  1. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992 - - Disponible en: Consulted on Dec. 21, 2023 Abstract
  2. Hernández-Moreno D, Soffers AE, Wiratno, Falke HE, Rietjens IM, Murk AJ. Consumer and farmer safety evaluation of application of botanical pesticides in black pepper crop protection. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Abstract
  3. Gholkar MS, Mulik MB, Laddha KS. Fate of β-asarone in Ayurvedic Sodhana process of Vacha. J Ayurveda Integr Med. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  4. EMA-EFSA. Compendium of botanicals reported to contain naturally occuring substances of possible concern for human health when used in food and food supplements. European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). 2012 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  5. Björnstad K, Helander A, Hultén P, Beck O. Bioanalytical investigation of asarone in connection with Acorus calamus oil intoxications. J Anal Toxicol. 2009 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  6. MSC - Ministerio de Sanidad y Consumo de España. ORDEN SCO/190/2004, de 28 de enero, por la que se establece la lista de plantas cuya venta al público queda prohibida o restringida por razón de su toxicidad. BOE 2004; 32:5061-6065 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Stahl E, Keller K. [To the classification of commercial Calamus drugs]. Planta Med. 1981 Abstract

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