Common Name Carolina allspice
Origin North America
Light sun to part
Edible bark spice
The bark has a strong camphor smell that is released when stems are scraped. The smell remains strong on twigs that have been stored several years in a dry environment. Calycanthus oil, distilled from the flowers, is an essential oil used in some quality perfumes. The aromatic bark is dried and used as a substitute for cinnamon. Some caution is advised, see reports above on toxicity.
Ruminants are reported to have a toxic reaction from grazing this plant. Calycanthus contains calycanthine, an alkaloid similar to strychnine, and it is toxic to humans and livestock.
Herbally, the plant is Antispasmodic & disinfectant. The plant contains an alkaloid that has a powerfully depressant action on the heart. A fluid extract has been used as an antiperiodic. A tea made from the root or bark has been used as a strong emetic and diuretic for kidney and bladder ailments. A cold tea has been used as eye drops in the treatment of failing eyesight.