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Monkshood

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  • Botanical: Aconitum napellus
  • Family: Ranunculaceae
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Monkshood

Botanical

Aconitum napellus

Family

Ranunculaceae

Known as

aconite, wolfsbane, fuzi, monk's blood

Old Use

In Chinese medicine processed aconite was used to treat heart failure and other heart diseases.

Collection Times

summer

Parts Used

roots

Medicinal

bruises, fever, neuralgia

Heart & Circulation

angina

Infection & Inflammation

fever

Muscle & Joints

gout

Mind & Nerves

sciatica

Respiratory System

bronchitis, colds

Properties

analgesic, antirheumatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative

Description

It is an herbaceous perennial plant growing to 1 m tall, with hairless stems and leaves. The leaves are rounded, 5–10 cm diameter, palmately divided into five to seven deeply lobed segments. The flowers are dark purple to bluish-purple, narrow oblong helmet-shaped, 1–2 cm tall.

Properties & Uses

Aconite has been used since ancient times, especially as an antidote to poisoning. Since the entire plant is itself very toxic, however, any use should be under the guidance of a skilled practitioner. All parts of the plant are used medicinally. The root is the most important and this is harvested as soon as the plant dies down in the autumn and is dried before use. The other parts of the plant are less important and are used fresh, being harvested when the plant is coming into flower. The root is analgesic, anodyne, antirheumatic, diaphoretic, diuretic, irritant and sedative. Due to its poisonous nature, it is not normally used internally though it has been used in the treatment of fevers. Externally, it is applied to unbroken skin in the treatment of rheumatism, painful bruises, neuralgia etc. All parts of the plant, except the root, are harvested when the plant is in flower and used to make a homeopathic medicine. This is analgesic and sedative and is used especially in the treatment of fevers, inflammation, bronchitis, neuralgia etc

Cautions

The whole plant is highly toxic, acting especially on the nerve centres. At first it stimulates the central and peripheral nervous system and then paralyzes it. Other symptoms of poisoning include a burning sensation on the tongue, vomiting, stomach pain and diarrhoea. Simple skin contact with the plant has caused numbness in some people. The root contains 90% more poison than the leaves

Distribution

Most of Europe, including Britain, east to N. W. Asia and the Himalayas

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.