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Vacha Health Benefits, Uses, Dosage and Side Effects

By NS Desk | Herbs | Posted on :   23-Dec-2020

Acorus calamus, commonly known as sweet flag or Vacha in India, is a monocot species of a flowering plant. It originated from Eastern Asia and North America in 1300 BC; a certain variety of Vacha also originated from the Himalayan region. Vacha is a very ancient herb with various traditional uses in Ayurveda.
 
In Ayurveda, Vacha is famous for its effects on the nervous system and is also known as a rejuvenating herb. Taking Vacha with honey daily helps to manage speech problems (stammering) due to its Medhhya property. The consumption of Vacha also helps cough and cold, as it has muscle relaxant activity it helps to relax the air passage of lungs and remove cough. The antioxidant property of Vacha also provides neuroprotective effects because it protects nerves from free radical damage. Thus improved overall brain health and resolves behavioral problems, anxiety, memory loss, etc. Its diuretic effect helps in kidney stones and also prevents the formation of kidney stones.
 
Except for internal uses, Vacha can also be used externally. When applied to the skin, a paste of Vacha powder with water or honey gives beneficial results. It's Tikhta (bitter), and Tikshna (sharpness) property helps prevent skin infection, and Ropan quality provides healing effects. Vacha also is an anti-inflammatory agent; thus, it reduces swelling and manages pain.
 
Although some variety of Vacha is carcinogenic and excessive use can create negative health effects.
 
How did the ‘Vacha’ word originate?
'Vacha,' scientifically known as Acorus calamus, is an Indian word. To be specific, the word originated from the ancient language Sanskrit. In Sanskrit, the word "Vacha" means a clear speaker or who can speak clearly. This herb helps to stimulate intelligence and improves memory, which resolves stammering and makes speech clear. Because of this application, the herb got its name "Vacha."
 
Some other common names of Vacha are -  Sweet flag, Glass Myrtle, Vaj, Kalmus, Shataparva, etc.
 
Vacha Health Benefits: Benefits of using Vacha in Ayurvedic treatment
 
1. Vacha helps to stimulate the appetite

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Ayurveda

There is not enough scientific evidence to support this fact, but Vacha might help to improve appetite.

Vacha helps to improve appetite because it has Deepan or appetizer properties. This improves appetite by increasing Agni or digestive fire, which accelerates the digestion process.

 
2. Vacha is beneficial for stomach ulcers

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Ayurveda

Vacha helps to control stomach acidity, and it can also control gastric acid secretion; both of these activities can help manage stomach ulcer condition. Vacha can also protect the stomach's inner lining from the damage of Helicobacter pylori by preventing it.

A stomach ulcer is a product of a bad digestive system, which leads to the accumulation of Ama. Vacha helps manage or reduce the risk of ulcer formation in the stomach by improving the digestive system. Vacha, due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) property, helps to improve the digestion of food. It increases the Agni or digestive fire, which led to easy digestion of food. This can also control gastric juice's excessive secretion, which is beneficial for a stomach ulcer condition.

 
3. Vacha prevents the formation of gas in the stomach

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Ayurveda

There is not enough scientific evidence that can prove Vacha prevents the formation of gas. But it might be useful in managing digestive conditions and reducing gas formation in the stomach, which resolve problems like flatulence and bloating.

Indigestion can accumulate toxic food remains (Ama) in the stomach, which can create digestive problems like flatulence and bloating. Vacha helps strengthen the digestive system as it is a great Vata balancer and its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties help improve Pacak Agni or digestive fire. Improved Agni makes it easy to digest food and prevents the formation of excessive gas in the stomach.

Ground Vacha roots paste in its raw form or mixed with castor oil or coconut oil when applied externally on the children's stomach help to reduce the swelling due to the accumulation of gas. And this helps to resolve gas problems in children.

 
4. Vacha helps in diarrhea

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Ayurveda

Vacha can be used to manage diarrhea. Vacha's bioactive constituents like alkaloids, saponins, and tannins provide spasmolytic action, which relaxes the stomach's smooth muscles. This relaxing action helps in gastrointestinal disorders and gives relief to colic pain and diarrhea. Vacha also acts as anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, preventing bacterial growth and reducing inflammation, thereby managing diarrhea and providing relief.

Diarrhea is a diseased state which occurs due to improper digestion and food or bacterial infection. Weak digestive fire causes indigestion and produces Vata dosha imbalance. Accumulation of undigested food remains to lead to several problems, and diarrhea is one of them. Vacha is a great Vata balance, and its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties work well with indigestion-related problems. It improves Pachak Agni and resolves problems like indigestion, gastritis, and diarrhea.

1 pinch of Vata churna with water can manage diarrhea if taken twice a day after taking food.

 
5. Vacha for a skin disorder
Vacha can be used for different types of skin disorders. It fights against bacterial or fungal infection on the skin as it is Tikta (bitter) and Tikshna (sharp) natured. It also is an anti-inflammatory agent, and together with its Ropan (healing) ability, it helps in Wound healing and swelling.
 
6. Vacha for Arthritis 

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Ayurveda

There are different forms of arthritis, and they occur because of different problems. But a common symptom of all kinds of arthritis is swelling in the bone joints, which causes pain and impairs normal movement of the body. Vacha, due to its anti-inflammatory activity, might be useful in arthritis conditions. It helps to reduce the swelling when applied externally and thus gives relief from the pain.

Body joints are considered a pint of Vata dosha, and an imbalance in Vata (body energy) in these pints causes health problems like arthritis. Vacha helps fix the imbalance and reduces the pain and swelling associated with arthritis due to its Vata balancing property.

 
Different Ayurvedic forms of Vacha and their recommended doses
 
1. Vacha powder
It is the most predominant form of Vacha, which is generally used in Ayurveda. 1 – 2 pinch of Vacha mixed with honey is good for digestion if taken after meals. It is also good for skin if applied externally on the affected area.
 
2. Capsule
Commercially Vacha is available in capsule form. It is recommended to take 1 – 2 capsules twice a day if you have weak digestion, ulcer, or stone problem.   
 
3. Paste 
1 teaspoon of Vacha powder is mixed with some water to make it a paste. Apply this paste externally to the affected area to help with skin problems. It is anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and also antioxidant, which is very helpful for skin problems.
 
4. Vacha and Triphala powder mixture
The mixture of these two is great for reducing fat. Prepare a paste by mixing 1 teaspoon Vacha powder with Triphala powder and apply it on the belly and thighs area to reduce fat.
 
5. Vacha in the form of essential oil
Vacha essential oil is good for arthritis pain. Mix 2 drops of Vacha essential oil with Sesame oil and massage gently on the joints and affected area. The anti-inflammatory activity helps to reduce the swelling and thus get relief from the pain.
 
Side effects and precautionary guide while using Vacha
 
1. Causes sleep

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Ayurveda

Vacha is a neuro activity and stimulates the central nervous system. Combined with several other medicines, Vacha can induce too much sleepiness, especially with medicines used during and after surgery. So it is recommended to stop using Vacha a minimum of two weeks before any surgery.

The use of different Ayurvedic forms of Vacha showed to be under the doctor’s supervision.

 
2. Allergic reaction

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Ayurveda

Some people are allergic to Vacha or hypersensitive to it. So if a person is already hypersensitive or is not sure whether he or she has any allergy to Vacha or not, it is best to consult a doctor.

Ayurveda says that if your skin is hypersensitive, you can use Vacha root paste with honey or milk to reduce any allergic reaction.

 
3. Pregnancy-related precaution
Doctors recommend avoiding any use of Vacha during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Vacha can cause minor to severe problems in pregnancy condition.
 
4. If someone has heart disease
Vacha is anti-hypertensive as it shows vasodilation activity. So if someone already has low blood pressure or takes an anti-hypertensive drug, precautions should be taken while using Vacha. Consulting a doctor and monitoring blood pressure regularly is recommended.
 
5. Interaction with anti-depressant drugs
As Vacha shows CNS activity, it is recommended to consult a doctor before using it with any other neuroactive drug. It can increase the side effects of anti-depressant drugs, including sleepiness and drowsiness. So avoid using Vacha with other sedative drugs also.
 
6. Carcinogenic activity
A certain variety of Vacha have carcinogenic chemicals, and thus special precautions should be taken in case of cancer patients who are already taking antineoplastic agents. 
 
7. Constipation
Vacha can risk constipation problems as it increases the side effects of calcium channel blockers.
 
8. Other side effects 

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Ayurveda

  • The use of Vacha can cause an upset stomach as it is very potent.
  • CNS activity sometimes causes shaking and seizures.
  • Excessive use can produce kidney damage.

 

  • Ayurveda prohibits the long-term (more than 5-6 weeks) use of Vacha with a high dose.
  • If you already have excessive Pitta in your body, then avoid using Vacha.
  • It can cause a headache instead of reducing them if you have excessive pitta in your body.

 

FAQ’s about Vacha

● What is the essence of the Vacha flower essence?
Vacha flower essence is a completely different thing from Vacha. Vacha flower essence is also known as Vacha flower remedies. It is prepared using various flower dilutions mixed with brandy and water. This preparation is commercially used as a mood improver. 
 
● How many types of Vacha flowers are there?
There are numerous varieties of Vacha flowers, and every variety has its specific health benefit and essence. The commonly available varieties of Vacha flowers are Aspen, Chicory, Gorse, Willow, Holly, Mustard, Clematis, Gentian, Hornbeam, Olive, Elm, Larch, Pine, Cerato, Agrimony, Mimulus, Beech, and Heather.
● From where can I buy Vacha flower remedies?
Vacha flower remedies are Ayurvedic preparations that are commercially available. You can buy Vacha flower remedies or Vacha flower essence from any local or online Ayurvedic store.
 
● How could Vacha help in the stammering problem?
Stammering occurs due to head injury, stroke, or worsening neurological condition. Certain drugs and medicines or severe psychological/ emotional trauma can also cause a stammering problem in persons. Vacha shows positive results in managing speech disorders, its Vata balancing property, and Medhaya property helps in this process. Using Vacha as a remedy provides your body enough strength to control all sorts of nerve-related disorders, and as stammering is a nerve disorder, Vacha helps reduce this. For great results, 1 – 2 pinch of Vacha missed with 1 teaspoon of honey is preferred daily.
 
● How Vacha helps in anxiety?
Anxiety is a nerve disorder that can occur due to various reasons. Vacha is great for managing neurological disorders due to its Medhaya (enhances memory) property. It helps with anxiety, stress, and depression problems. 
 
Taking 1 – 2 pinch of Vacha churna with honey after 2 hours of eating twice a day helps with anxiety problems. It is recommended to use this remedy at least for a month for good results. 
 
● Can we mix Vacha with food?
It is not recommended to mix any variety of Vacha and its flower with food, but if you want to mix it with food, it is best to consult a doctor before doing so. This is because the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has prohibited the use of certain Vacha species as they are carcinogenic (contains cancer-causing chemicals), and consuming certain species of Vacha is not recommended. Commonly Vacha is used in its powdered or liquid form.
 
● How Vacha helps to manage Cough?

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Ayurveda

Accumulation of mucus in the air passage causes cough. Vacha is useful in coughing as it can act as an expectorant. The expectorant action helps to remove mucus from the air passage and provide relief from cough.

Vacha is used as an Ayurvedic treatment for cough. Cough is caused due to mucus accumulation in the respiratory tract, which is due to aggravated Kapha dosha. Vacha helps to balance Kapha, and its Ushna (hot) property helps manage the cough and its symptoms. The use of Vacha loosens the mucus and removes it from the respiratory tract and the body.

1 – 2 pinch of Vacha churna mixed with honey is best for coughing. Take this mixture twice a day before or after a meal to get relief from the symptoms.

 
● Can we use Vacha as a memory booster?

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Ayurveda

Yes, Vacha is good for memory because of its neuroprotective property. There are constituents present in Vacha which act as an antioxidant and prevent free radicals from damaging the neurons in brain cells. It is also anti-inflammatory and thus provides an overall protective action to the brain. This leads to improving behavioral changes, neural disorders, and also memory and mental performance.

According to Ayurveda, Vacha helps in memory-related issues mainly due to imbalance in Vata dosha. And Vacha helps to balance Vata as well as it has Medya (brain tonic) quality, which preserves proper brain function and health. A healthy brain also gives a boost to memory retention power.

 
● How can Vacha remove urinary stones?

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Ayurveda

Vacha might help to prevent urinary stone formation as it provides a diuretic action. It increases the formation of urine, which helps to flush out the stone. It also prevents the accumulation of crystals from forming new stones, so Vacha prevents renal stone formation.

Stones mainly form in your body due to the accumulation of toxins formed because of imbalance in Kapha and Vata dosha, and Vacha can help in this. Vacha helps to balance Vata and Kapha, and it also possesses Mutral (diuretic) property, which increases the production of urine and removes toxic accumulation and renal stones.

 
● What are the benefits of Vacha in flatulence?

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Ayurveda

Flatulence happens due to abdominal gas formation, and Vacha helps manage abdominal gas due to its carminative property. It helps to improve digestion and prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract. Vacha also helps in the gas expulsion, which provides relief from flatulence.

According to Ayurveda, abdominal gas occurs due to improper digestion of food and accumulation of undigested food. This happens due to the Vata-Pitta imbalance. Vacha manages to balance Vata and pitta dosha, and its Ushna (hot) property helps to digest food properly. An improved digestive system prevents the formation of abdominal gas and resolves flatulence problems.

 
● How can Vacha be helpful in asthma?

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Ayurveda

Vata can provide relief in asthmatic conditions as it helps to widen the lungs' airways, which helps more air to pass freely. Vacha is a muscle relaxant, and it also helps to clear out mucus accumulation in the lung's airways. These effects facilitate easy breathing and give relief from asthma symptoms.

According to Ayurveda, asthma happens due to an imbalance in Vata and Kapha dosha. This causes mucus formation and accumulation in the respiratory tract, causing cough and asthma in some cases. As Vacha is Ushna (hot) by nature and also balances Vata and Kapha dosha, it loosens the mucus and removes it from the respiratory tract. This frees the airways of the lungs and helps to breathe easily, and gives relief from asthma.

 
● Can we use Vacha on an ulcer?
Yes, Vacha has a gastroprotective property that helps in ulcer conditions. There are certain constituents in Vacha which provide anti-secretary action and prevent overproduction of gastric acid. Vacha also possesses antioxidants that can prevent free radical-mediated damage to the gastric cells. The decreased volume of gastric acid manages the ulcer condition in the stomach and prevents ulcer formation.  
 
● Can we use Vacha in Coryza?
Coryza is nothing but inflammation in the nasal mucosal membrane. Vacha can manage this condition as it provides anti-inflammatory activity. The use of Vacha reduces inflammation in the nasal mucosal membrane, which clears nasal and sinus passage. So we can use Vacha in coryza.
 
● Does Vacha help to clear speech?
There is not enough scientific research or evidence currently available, which can support the fact that Vacha helps to clear speech. But it might be helpful and can clear speech and voice quality.
 
● How is Vacha helpful in herpes?
Scientific research has proven the fact that Vacha is useful in herpes condition. Among the bioactive compounds of Vacha, there is one compound known as β-asarone. This β-asarone inhibits the replication and growth of HSV-1 and HSV-2 virus (herpes simplex virus), which helps cure herpes and prevents the infection from spreading.
 
● Can we use Vacha for dental problems?

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Ayurveda

Yes, we can use Vacha for dental problems. Vacha is anti-bacterial, which prevents bacterial growth in the oral cavity and lowers the risk of oral and dental problems. It also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, reduces swelling, and gives relief from pain; that's why it is commonly used for toothache.

Vacha is Tikta (bitter) and has Ropam or healing property. Both of these prevent any bacterial formation and facilitate the healing of oral wounds. So, Vacha is good for dental health.

Application of a mixture of 1 – 2 pinch of Vata and honey on the affected area gives beneficial dental and oral problems.

 
● Is Vacha useful for the headache?

Science

Ayurveda

Vacha might be useful in managing headaches, but there is no scientific evidence to support this fact.

Headache that occurs due to cough and cold is manageable with the use of Vacha. Vacha is ushna and balances Vata and Kapha of our body. This helps to loosen the mucus and remove it from the body, which manages cough and cold symptoms. Thereby it also gives relief to headache.  Massaging your head with Vacha essence oil also helps.

 
● Is Vacha powder good for the skin?
Vacha powder can be very useful in treating skin problems. It is anti-bacterial, which prevents any bacterial infections, and it is also anti-inflammatory, so it also reduces swelling and thus reduces pain. Vacha also promotes the healing of wounds as it has Ropan (healing) property.

NS Desk

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