Herb-Vacha

Vacha
(Acorus calamus)

Part Used: Rhizome

Habitat:

Introduction:

In Ayurvedic science the use of sweet flag is effective against wide varieties of illness. The word ‘acorus’ is originated from the Greek word ‘acoron’ used by the Dioscorids which in turn derived from the ‘coreon’ word means ‘pupil’ because it is used in the treatment of eyes diseases and its inflammation. Sweet flag has been known for its medicinal value. It originated in Europe, but extensively used in Ayurveda, particularly to enhance memory. Vacha powder mixed with ghee is given ritually in India to improve the intellect and speech development. In china it is used in a similar way, to improve speech and aid recovery from stroke.
Int J Pharm Bio Sci 2015 Jan; 6(1): (P) 605 - 621

Mechanism of Action:
The mechanism of action for producing antidepressant effect may be because of normalizing the overactivity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis system and due to its involvement with adrenergic and dopaminergic systems, thereby increasing the levels of biogenic amines.

Pharmacological Actions:

Anti-inflammatory – A. calamus inhibits the expression of the cytokines which shows it as immunomodulatory agent in the inflammatory diseases.

Antioxidant Activity – This plant is well known for its ability of scavenging free radical which shows antioxidant activity. A. calamus has been found to provide protection against Y-radiation induced oxidative stress.

Anticellular and immunosuppressive Activity – A. calamus inhibits the proliferation of various cell lines such as monocytic, lymphoblatoid, fibroblast, erythroleukemic which demonstrates that the effect is not cell specific. The inhibition of mitogen and antigen-stimulated lymphocyte proliferation of A.calamus prevents the cell activation that proved their anticellular and immunosuppressive effect.

Antidepressant Activity – Vacha produce antidepressant effect by normalizing the overactivity of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis system and due to its involvement with adrenergic and dopaminergic systems, thereby increasing the levels of biogenic amines.
Int J Pharm Bio Sci 2015 Jan; 6(1): (P) 605 – 621

Clinical Studies:

A clinical trial has been published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 2011, vacha or A. calamus reduces stress, attenuated anxiety, negated depression, enhanced adjustment and attention. This also helps in mental overwork in daily life. The study indicates that vacha has potential action in the regulation of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis especially, during stress related disorders.
Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, Vol. 10(4), Oct 2011, pp. 668-671

Conclusion:
Vacha consists of compounds like phenolics, flavonoids and free radical scavenging activity. This has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory effects and it affects the HPA axis. This includes the mechanism through which vacha helps in the conditions of depression and arthritic conditions of pain or swelling.