Calamus marsh, or calamus vulgaris
Among the huge number of aquatic plants growing along the shores of forest ponds and lakes, in swamps and elders almost throughout the whole territory of our country, a large perennial with a thick creeping rhizome and flower arrow with a powerful cob planted with small greenish flowers should be especially noted. Its scientific name is calamus swamp, and the people call this plant “Tatar potion”, since it is believed that it was brought to Russia during the era of the Tatar-Mongol invasion, when riders threw rhizomes into the water to clean the water and provide horses with reliable watering places.
Calamus marsh, or ordinary calamus, or cane calamus, or irin root (Acorus calamus) Is a species of perennial grasses of the genus Air (Acorus), a monotypic family Airy (Acoraceae). The genus Air consists of two (in separate sources of six) species. Air marsh - a typical species of the genus.
In Europe, they learned about calamus much later, and for several centuries the plant was considered "secret" and magical properties were attributed to it. Especially in great demand were candied rhizomes of calamus, candied in the form of candied fruit, which were considered an exquisite delicacy. And nowadays, such candied fruits are used for making fragrant fillings in sweets and other confectionery products.
Latin generic name - Acorus comes from the ancient Greek "ἄκορος", most likely in the sense of "ugly" - and is associated with the nondescriptness of inflorescences having a greenish-yellow color. The Russian name of the genus - Air comes from the Turkish name of this plant - ağir. Folk variants of the names of calamus: "yaver", "yer", "irish root", "ir", "gair", "calamus", "orcat", "flat cake", "saber", "Tatar saber" and "Tatar potion ".
Marsh calf grows in Southeast Asia, Europe, North America, and is found in Russia in the European part and from southern Siberia to the Far East.
Description of calamus swamp
Air marsh - perennial grass with an erect flower-bearing stalk. In the European part of Russia, adult plants have a height of 50 to 120 cm.
The rhizome is horizontal, sinuous, with a diameter of up to 3 cm, a length of 1.5 m, and from below it is planted with numerous cord-like roots up to 50 cm long, arranged in one row. Rhizomes are located almost at the surface of the soil. The taste of calamus rhizome is bitter, with a spicy and tart aftertaste. The smell is strong and spicy.
Calamus leaves are bright green, xiphoid, 2–5 wide and 60–120 cm long, located in separate bundles at the tops and lateral branches of rhizomes. The stem is erect, similar to leaves. The leaves grow together with each other, surrounding the main stem so that the inflorescence, as it were, leaves the middle of the leaf.
The flowers of calamus bog are bisexual, small, greenish-yellow. In the European part of Russia it blooms in June - July. Fruits - dry oblong berries of red or greenish color.
On the territory of Russia and Western Europe, calamus marshy propagates exclusively vegetatively - by pieces of brittle rhizomes that form during ice drift or river spills and float in the water until they come ashore and sprout. Our plant does not bear fruit, since it is unnatural for the region, and there are no insects that could pollinate it.
The use of calamus and beneficial properties
The airy (or irish) root is rich in many chemicals, but perhaps the most valuable of them is essential oil. This thick liquid with a pleasant smell and spicy-bitter taste is used to prepare essences, added to syrups, compotes, slices of calamus rhizomes, insisted on alcohol to prepare various vodkas and liquors, they are put in meat dishes to replace bitter pepper and ginger, and used in perfumery industry and home cosmetics. Infusion of irrigation root helps well with loss of appetite, and fine powder from rhizomes is recommended for heartburn.
The substances contained in the rhizomes of the plant, affecting the endings of the taste buds, increase appetite, improve digestion, and increase the secretion of gastric juice. Calamus rhizomes also have anti-inflammatory, wound healing, analgesic, soothing effects. Air tones the heart, strengthens the blood vessels of the brain and thereby improves memory, enhances vision.
Collection of irrigation root
The huge thickets of calamus swamp (in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Siberia, the Far East) and the simplicity of collecting raw materials (during the period of lowering the water level in the rivers, rhizomes can easily be pulled out of the water with a pitchfork) create favorable conditions for harvesting this plant. The collected rhizomes are washed in cold water, the roots and leaves are cut off, dried in the air for several days. After that, long rhizomes are cut into pieces with a length of 15-20 cm, thick ones are split along and dried under a canopy, decomposed in one layer. It should only be remembered that the irrigation root must be dried at a temperature not exceeding 30 degrees, otherwise the precious essential oil will quickly evaporate.
Well-dried pieces of rhizomes should not bend, but break. At the break, they have a whitish-pink color (occasionally with a yellow or greenish tint). The shelf life of raw materials is 2-3 years.