A comparative analysis of Acorus Americanus and Acorus Calamus and their Application in Traditional Aboriginal Medicine

Regions: South Slave Region

Tags: plants, traditional medicine

Principal Investigator: Labine, Nicole K (2)
Licence Number: 15478
Organization: University of British Columbia Okanagan
Licenced Year(s): 2015 2014
Issued: May 30, 2014
Project Team: Earl Evans (Field Guide/Traditional Knowledge Holder, Fort Smith Metis Association)

Objective(s): To identify the bioactive constituents within the rhizome of collected samples of Acorus Americanus.

Project Description: Through this research the bioactive constituents within the rhizome of collected samples of Acorus Americanus will be identified. The primary hypothesis of this research is that both A. americanus and A. calamus contain the same bioactive constituents due to their similar history of ailment treatment. Using the identified chemical profile of A. calamus and a comparison of purchased samples of A. americanus the identity of the species in the Northwest Territories will be determined. It is hypothesized that both Acorus species are present in the Northwest Territories.

Initially samples of A. americanus and the putative A. calamus will need to be harvested from the region surrounding Fort Smith, NWT. This plant produces flowers during May and June and therefore the samples will be collected during this time. Samples will be collected in accordance with traditional harvesting periods and during the flowering period for the plant, which is the easiest time in the perennial cycle to correctly identify the species. At least nine plants from each species will be collected. Each sample will be prepared using traditional elder knowledge that is specific to the area of collection. The entire plant will be collected to examine the species however only the rhizome will be examined for bioactive constituents. Herbarium voucher specimens will also be collected for species validation. Each sample will be examined using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometry. The data from these samples will be analyzed using multivariate statistical analysis. The multivariate statistical analysis software packages that will be used are R, SIMCA and Solo.

The collection of field samples will be performed under the guidance of traditional knowledge holder. The collection process will also be an opportunity for other members or students from the community of Fort Smith to experience collection process and gain exposure to traditional knowledge.

Following the completion of this research a thesis will be completed as part of University of British Columbia Undergraduate Honors program. A thesis and research poster will be completed following the conclusion of the research. A presentation within the community of Fort Smith will be completed for the residents of the community and staff and students of the Aurora College. A copy of the research poster and thesis will be made available as well.


The fieldwork for this study will be conducted from June 1, 2014 to August 29, 2014.