Vacha is a powerful medicinal herb imbued with immense therapeutic qualities, used extensively in the holistic science of Ayurvedic medicine since the times of Chakara and Sushruta. It goes with the botanical name Acorus calamus, also known as sweet flag or Vacha in India. It is a monocot species of a flowering plant that is native to Eastern Asia and North America. Certain types of Vacha have also been found in the Himalayas and have been used widely in traditional medicines for their umpteen health benefitting properties.

The name “Vacha” originated from Sanskrit, which means speaking clearly, as this herb works incredibly well to stimulate intelligence and expression. In Ayurveda, Vacha is valued as a rejuvenating herb owing to its positive impact on the nervous system. As per Ayurveda, taking Vacha along with honey on a regular basis supports regulating speech problems due to its Vata pacifying and Medhya actions. The intake of Vacha also offers respite to cough and cold, and muscle relaxant activity of it helps to relax air passage of the lungs and remove phlegm. The potent antioxidant trait offers neuroprotective effects, as it safeguards the nerves from free radical damage. This herbal supplement augments brain health and eases behavioural issues, anxiety, memory loss etc.

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Vacha ayurvedic indications

Vacha Plant

Vacha is a semi-aquatic perennial monocotyledonous plant, which grows near water bodies like streams and rivers. The leaves are long, narrow that can grow to a length of 2-4 feet. Vacha bears small, whitish florals and its leaves and roots emit a nice aroma. The stronger the fragrance of the florals the better the quality of the plant. The fruits are enclosed with numerous seeds and are pulpy.

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Vacha Synonyms

According to the Ayurvedic manuscript, the word Vacha means speaking clearly. This herbal plant is known by different names in different vernacular languages including:

  • English - Sweet flag, Calamus, Myrtle grass
  • Hindi- Bach, Ghorbach, Safed bach
  • Kannada - Baje
  • Telugu- Vasa
  • Tamil - Vasambu, Pullai-valathi
  • Gujarati- Gandhilovaj, Godavaj
  • Kashmiri - Vachi, Vaigandar
  • Sanskrit- Sataparviak, Shadgrandha, Lomasha, Jatila, Haimavati

Chemical Components

This medicinal plant is a powerhouse of beneficial chemicals including beta-asarone, beta-gurjunene, (Z)-asarone, aristolene, (E)-asarone, sequesterpenes-norsequesterpine, calamusin A-H and beta-daucosterol.

Uses of Vacha

Vacha powder is mixed with water and applied topically on the skin to offer you glowing and blemish-free skin, while it is also beneficial in curing several skin infections owing to its Tikhta (bitter) and Tikshna (sharpness) traits. Vacha essential oil is laden with an anti-inflammatory action that mitigates pain and inflammation when applied to the affected region. Additionally, external application of Vacha powder blended with Triphala powder helps in diminishing belly fat and fat in the thigh.

Ayurvedic Indications

Dried root powder and rhizomes of Vacha have been mentioned in several ayurvedic scriptures for numerous ayurvedic indications, which include:

  • Pachana- digestive stimulant
  • Vahnikrut- eases Ama dosha
  • Deepana- promotes digestion effect
  • Vamani- induces vomiting
  • Medhya- uplifts intelligence
  • Jeevani- enlightening
  • Vak prada- improves speech
  • Swarprada- enhances voice
  • Unmadahara- treats schizophrenia
  • Apasmarahara - treats epilepsy
  • Jantuhara- positive antimicrobial effect
  • Shoolahara- alleviates colic pain
  • Vibandhahara- remedies constipation
  • Adhmanahara- eases bloating gaseous, distension of tummy
  • Shakrut, Mutra Vishodhini- eliminates faces and urine
  • Kantya- enhances voice tone and quality, useful in treating throat problems
  • Anilhara -beneficial in curing Vata dosha imbalance such as neuralgia, paralysis
  • Phirangahara -eases syphilis
  • Rakshoghna, Bhutaghna- relieves psychological issues and disorders
  • Vatajwarahara -beneficial in curing fever, with body pain

Health Benefits

Appetite Stimulant

The natural deepan (appetizer) activity of Vacha aids to enhance appetite by increasing the digestive fire and promoting smooth digestion process. Aside from this, this herbal supplement eases to lessen the formation of gas in the stomach owing to its Vata pacifying nature and digestive actions. Thereby helping to digest food easily and avert flatulence and other digestive woes.

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Remedies Stomach Ulcer

Stomach ulcer is mainly caused due to bad gut health, which eventually leads to the build-up of Ama. Vacha helps to lower the risk of stomach ulcers and other digestive woes by promoting digestion. This is attributed to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive)actions. Further, taking this herbal medicine increases Agni (digestive fire) controls the secretion of gastric juice and facilitates digestion of food.

Treats Hair Lice

Natural insecticide activity of Vacha essential oil is potential in killing hair lice. It is very gentle on the skin, thus applying it on the scalp does not cause any irritation and it is extremely safe for use.

Augments Brain Health

Vacha is a well-known herb that soothes nerves and improves memory power. It works like a nerve tonic that supports relaxing the mind and fights depression and anxiety. Grounded Vacha root infusion when taken regularly helps to treat epilepsy and enhance brain function.

Reduces Inflammation

Vacha oil imbued with potent anti-inflammatory properties helps in averting skin infections. While it also potential in curing arthritis pain and swelling. Moreover, inhaling Vacha oil helps in soothing the mind and cures headaches.

Effects on Doshas

This magical herb has Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter) Rasa (taste). Vacha is endowed with laghu (lightness), and Teekshna (strong, piercing) Gunas (qualities). While it has Vipaka-katu (which undergoes pungent taste changes after digestion), Veerayan (ushna) hot properties. It helps in balancing Kapha and Vata doshas, while prabhava - the special nature of this herb is Medhya (improves intelligence).

Dosage

Vacha is readily available in the form of powder, capsule, paste and essential oil. The effective dosage of Vacha may vary from person to person depending upon the age, effects on doshas, appetite, body strength, and severity of the disease. It is strongly recommended to consult an ayurvedic practitioner before taking this herbal medicine as he or she would thoroughly evaluate the patient's medical conditions and prescribe the right dose for a specific period.

Side Effects

Vacha should be taken in a recommended dose and period under an ayurvedic doctor’s supervision. When taken in excess amount it is likely to cause side effects. Also, owing to its hot nature, people with Pitta bodies should avoid it, as it can cause severe headaches. Other side effects if taken for a longer duration include shaking, seizures, stomach upset and kidney damage.

Precautions

Vacha can act on the nervous system and can cause sleepiness when taken with other allopathic medications used during or after surgery, thus it is advised to avoid Vacha 2 to 3 weeks before planned surgery. Vacha should be avoided by pregnant and breastfeeding women. People with heart ailments should monitor blood pressure regularly while taking Vacha along with other antihypertensive drugs as it can lower blood pressure.