During antiquity in the Orient and Egypt, the rhizome was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac. In Europe Acorus calamus was often added to wine, and the root is also one of the possible ingredients of absinthe.
Among the northern Native Americans, it is used both medicinally and as a stimulant; in addition, the root is thought to have been used as an entheogen among the northern Native Americans.
In high doses, it is an hallucinogenic.
The plant's roots are often eaten for its effects, which are not very pronounced. Hence, acorus calamas is not seen as a party drug.