Facts and benefits of Aconite

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Aconite Quick Facts
Name: Aconite
Scientific Name: Aconitum napellus
Origin Western and central Europe from England to the Carpathian Mountains and from Portugal to Sweden
Shapes Arching, glabrous, terminated by a short bristle, approx. 17 mm (0.68 in.) long follicle
Taste Sweet, spicy taste
Health benefits Fever Reducer, Anxiety and Tension Reliever, Immune System Function, Heart Palpitations, Anti-inflammatory Effects, Headache Relief, Nervous System Disorders, Sleep Aid, Pain Reliever, Detoxifies the Body, Labor Pains, Respiratory infections, Eye and ear infections
Widely known as “Queen of poisons” Aconitum napellus or Aconite is, on the contrary, a very effective medicine for multiple acute problems. It is a species of flowering plant in the genus Aconitum of the family Ranunculaceae. The plant is native throughout western and central Europe from England to the Carpathian Mountains and from Portugal to Sweden.  Apart from aconite it is popularly known as Venus’ chariot, Wolfsbane Garden, Monk’s Hood Garden, Monkshood, Blue Rocket, Friar’s Cap, Auld Wife’s Huid, thung, leopard’s bane monkshood, women’s bane, Devil’s helmet, Common Monk’s Hood, Aconite, Fuzi and Monk’s Blood. Also occasionally called wolfsbane because this plant was once used as an arrow poison and in poison bait for killing wolves.

Genus name is the Latin name from the Greek akoniton used for these poisonous herbs. The specific name, Napellus, signifies a little turnip, in reference to the shape of the roots. The upper sepal of each flower develops into a large, helmet-like structure that somewhat look like the hood worn by medieval monks, hence the common names of monkshood and helmet flower. Aconitine is a highly poisonous alkaloid derived from various aconite species. The plant is extremely poisonous in both ingestion and skin contact. All parts of the plant (especially the roots and seeds) are extremely poisonous. The drug aconite is made from the leaves and roots of this species and was once prescribed as a cardiac and respiratory sedative.

Aconite Facts

Name Aconite
Scientific Name Aconitum napellus
Native Throughout western and central Europe from England to the Carpathian Mountains and from Portugal to Sweden
Common Names Venus’ chariot, Wolfsbane Garden, Monk’s Hood Garden, Monkshood, Blue Rocket, Friar’s Cap, Auld Wife’s Huid, thung, leopard’s bane monkshood, women’s bane, Devil’s helmet, Common Monk’s Hood, Aconite, Fuzi, Monk’s Blood
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Akoniet
Albanian: Aconite, Spineri, bar dhelpre, lulë vathi            
Amharic: Aconite-ˈakə
Arabic: Albaysh (البيش)             
Armenian: Akonit (ակոնիտ)
Azerbaijani: Akonit, Turpabənzər kəpənəkçiçəyi
Basque: Irabelar
Bengali: Kucilā (কুচিলা)
Bokmal: Storhjelm
Bulgarian: Samakitka (самакитка), relovidna sanakitka (реловидна санакитка)
Burmese: Aconite (akəˌnīt)        
Catalan: Acònit blau, Matallops blau, Tora blava, acònit blau
Chinese: Fùzǐ (附子)
Croatian: Jedićev otrov, Modri jedić
Czech: Aconite, oměj šalamounek, oměj             
Danish: Aconite, Ægte Stormhat, ægte stormhat
Dutch: Monnikskap, Blauwe monnikskap, gewone akoniet
English: Aconite, Turk’s-cap, Venus’ chariot, Bear’s-foot, Blue rocket, Friar’s-cap, Garden monkshood, Garden wolfsbane, Helmet-flower, Monkshood, Queen’s fettle, Soldier’s-cap, wolf’s bane, Turk’s-cap, aconite monkshood, English monkshood, common monkshood,
Esperanto: Akonito
Estonian: Akoniit, Sinine käoking
Filipino: Aconite
Finnish: Ukonhattu, Aitoukonhattu, huppu-ukonhattu
French: Aconite, Aconit napel, Aconit casque-de-Jupiter, Capuce de moine, Casque de Jupiter, Char de Vénus, Acinitum napellus, gueule de loup, aconit de Bauhin, aconit du Portugal, aconit pyramidal, aconit vulgaire, aconit à inflorescence compacte, capuchin, capuchon des moines, casque, char de Vénus, coqueluchon, madriette, napel, pistolet, sabot
Georgian: Ak’onit’I (აკონიტი)
German: Aconitum, Blauer Eisenhut, Blauer Sturmhut, Sturmhut, dichtblättriger Eisenhut, echter Eisenhut, gewöhnlicher blauer Eisenhut, Pyramiden-Eisenhut, Venuswagen
Greek: Akoníto (ακονίτο)
Gujarati: Ēkōnā iṭa (એકોનાઇટ)
Hausa: Aconite
Hebrew: Akunit (אקוניט)
Hindi: Kuchala (कुचला), Mitha zaher, bachang, mithavis, vachnag
Hungarian: Sisakvirág, Havasi sisakvirág
Icelandic: Aconite, venusvagn  
Indonesian: Aconite
Irish: Aconite    
Italian: Aconito, Aconito napello, Napello, Strozzalupo, erba luparia, aconito a piramide,
Japanese: Torikabuto (トリカブト)
Javanese: Aconite          
Kannada: Akōnaiṭ (ಅಕೋನೈಟ್)
Kazakh: аконит
Korean: Subanhada (수반하다)
Kurdish: Aconite             
Lao: Aconite (akəˌnīt)    
Latin: Aconitum               
Latvian: Akonīts, Zil, Zilā kurpīte
Limburgish: Blawwe paterskap
Lithuanian: Akonitas, Mėlynoji kurpelė
Macedonian: Akonit (аконит)
Malagasy: Aconite
Malay: Aconite
Malayalam: Akkēāṇaiṟṟ (അക്കോണൈറ്റ്), vatsanābhi (വത്സനാഭി)
Maltese: Naconite         
Marathi: Badāma (बदाम)
Mongolian: Akonit (аконит)
Nepali: Ēkōnā iṭa (एकोनाइट)
Netherlands: Gewone akoniet, monnikskap, blauwe
Norwegian: Aconitum, Storhjelm, venusvogn
Oriya: ଆକୋନାଇଟ୍ |
Pashto: اکونایټ
Persian: آکونیت, اقونیطون
polish: Tojad, tojad mocny
Portuguese: Aconite, aconítico, capacete-de-júpiter, capuz-de-frade, carro-de-venus, mata-lobos, capuz
Punjabi: Aikōnā īṭa (ਐਕੋਨਾਈਟ)
Pushto: آکونیټوم ناپېللوس
Romanian: Aconit, omag, trei cumnate supărate
Russian: Akonit (аконит), Borets klobuchkovyy (Борец клобучковый), akonit klobučkovyj (аконит клобучковый), akonit sbornyy (аконит сборный), akonit siniy (аконит синий), borets repovidnyy (борец реповидный), volkoboy (волкобой), volchiy koren (волчий корень), tsar’-zel’ye (царь-зелье)
Serbian: Akonit (аконит)
Sindhi: ايڪسائيٽ
Sinhala: Aconite (akəˌnīt)
Slovak: Prilbica modrá
Slovenian: Akonit, repičasta preobjeda
Spanish: Aconite, Acónito común, Matalobos, aconito-matalobos, acónito vulgar, acónito-napelo, anapelo de flor azul, anapelo, casco de Júpiter, hierba-matalobos, hábito del Diablo, matalobos de flor azul, nabieyo, nabillo del Diablo, napelo, naviesu tora blava, vedegambre azul, vedegambre, yerba del lobado, Aconito, alva lupine, anapelo, capucha de monje, matalobos de flor azul, nabillo del Diablo,
Sundanese: Aconite, Wortel
Swedish: Gäck, Äkta stormhatt, Stormhatt
Tajik: Akonit (аконит)
Tamil: Aconite (akəˌnīt)
Telugu: Ekōnaiṭ (ఎకోనైట్)
Thai: Aconite (akəˌnīt)  
Turkish: Kurtboğan
Ukranian: Akonit (аконіт)
Upper Sorbian: Módre črijki, Módre hołbiki, Módre šišaki, Swjateje marcyne črijki, Swjateje marcyne kapički, Swjateje marcyne stupnički,
Urdu: اکونائٹ, آکونیٹوم ناپيللوس
Uzbek: Akonit
Vietnamese: Aconit
Welsh: Aconite, Cwcwll y mynach           
Zulu: Aconite
Plant Growth Habit Hardy, fast-growing, herbaceous perennial plant
Growing Climates Damp shady places and moist rich meadows, calcareous soils, mountainous areas, in damp forests, grazing pastures and waste dumps
Soil Prefers rich, moist, and over-fertilized soils
Plant Size 1.1 to 1.5 meters tall and 10 to 30 centimeters wide
Root Fleshy, spindle-shaped root, pale colored when young, but subsequently acquiring a dark brown skin
Stem Upright, round, smooth, slightly hairy above
In Leaf February to October
Leaf Alternate leaves are rounded, 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) diameter, palmately divided into five to seven deeply lobed segments, each of which is 3-lobed with coarse sharp teeth
Flowering season July to August
Flower Flowers are dark purple to bluish-purple, narrow oblong helmet-shaped, 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) tall.
Fruit Shape & Size Arching, glabrous, terminated by a short bristle, approx. 17 mm (0.68 in.) long follicle, of which usually 3 united. In each follicle 10–15 seeds with winged edges
Propagation By sowing or by division
Plant Parts Used The whole herb – except the root
Available Forms Tea, Liniment, Ointment, powder, tablets or capsules, extracts and topical tinctures
Taste Sweet, spicy taste
Season June to July
Health Benefits
  • Fever Reducer
  • Anxiety and Tension Reliever
  • Immune System Function
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Anti-inflammatory Effects
  • Headache Relief
  • Nervous System Disorders
  • Sleep Aid
  • Pain Reliever
  • Detoxifies the Body
  • Labor Pains
  • Respiratory infections
  • Eye and ear infections
Other Facts
  • It is a cut flower crop used for fresh cutting material and sometimes used as dried material.
  • Aconite root was used in the past as a homicidal weapon.

Plant Description

Aconite is a hardy, fast-growing, herbaceous perennial plant that normally grows about 1.1 to 1.5 meters tall and 10 to 30 centimeters wide with hairless stems and leaves. The plant is found growing in damp shady places, moist rich meadows, and calcareous soils, mountainous areas, in damp forests, grazing pastures and in waste dumps. The plant prefers rich, moist, and over-fertilized soils. The plant has fleshy, spindle-shaped root, pale colored when young, but subsequently acquiring a dark brown skin. Stem is upright, round, smooth and slightly hairy above.

Leaves

Dark green leaves lack stipules. These alternate leaves are rounded, 5–10 cm (2.0–3.9 in) diameter, palmately divided into five to seven deeply lobed segments, each of which is 3-lobed with coarse sharp teeth. Leaves are spirally arranged, and the lower leaves possess long petioles. Leaves are hairy on the under surface.

Flowers

The tall, erect stem is crowned by racemes of large blue, purple, dark purple to bluish-purple, white, yellow or pink zygomorphic narrow oblong flowers 1–2 cm (0.39–0.79 in) tall with numerous stamens. Sepals and petals of the flowers are similarly colored, with the upper sepal developing into a large, helmet-like structure that somewhat look like the hood worn by medieval monks. There are 2-10 petals in the form of nectaries. Flowering normally takes place from July to August.

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by arching, glabrous, terminated by a short bristle, approx. 17 mm (0.68 in.) long follicle, of which usually 3 united. In each follicle 10–15 seeds are present with winged edges.

Health Benefits of Aconite

Health benefits of aconite include its ability to defeat pain, lower sensitivity, ease labor stress, reduce inflammation, calm anxiety, and tension and combat fever. Let’s take a detailed look at the health benefits of aconite.

1. Fever Reducer

If you are suffering from a fever, aconite is a perfect choice for an alternative treatment, as it can encourage sweating, effectively breaking the fever and getting you back on the road to recovery. It works as a complete cure for the common cold and the flu bug that appears to come around each year. (1)

2. Anxiety and Tension Reliever

Slight doses of aconite have been proven effective for relieving stress and anxiety. While those conditions are often related with psychological issues or mental pressures, the soothing and anti-inflammatory nature of aconite help your body and mind relax, lowering the stress hormones in the body, mostly if you suffer from chronic anxiety or tension.(2)

3. Immune System Function

Though the direct pathway for this treatment is not completely assumed, there has been a substantial connection between the use of aconite and improved immune function. For this reason, people often turn to aconite when they first feel the onset of the cold and flu, as it can rapidly eradicate those symptoms before they become a full-blown illness.(3)

4. Heart Palpitations

Aconite has been shown to be quite beneficial for those suffering from heart conditions that cause irregular heartbeats or high blood pressure. Its capability to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure allows the heart time to control itself and not suffer from the effects of inflammation in the arteries and blood vessels, thus allowing a smooth flow of blood and suitable function of the heart.(4)

5. Anti-inflammatory Effects

The plant has the ability to numb particular areas of the body that may have become inflamed and the active ingredients and compounds can rapidly relieve swelling and stress in aching joints and bones. This makes aconite a very popular treatment for gout, arthritis, and other chronic inflammatory conditions.(5)

6. Headache Relief

If you are suffering from long-lasting headaches or severe migraines, aconite might be the remedy you’ve been looking for. Whether applied externally or consumed, it can rapidly relieve tension and pain, just as modern pain relievers promise to do. (6)

7. Nervous System Disorders

There are numerous nervous system disorders for which treatment is still rather vague and unsuccessful. Compounds found in aconite directly influence the central nervous system, numbing nerve pathways and removing inflammation that can cause these disorders. (7)

8. Sleep Aid

Due to its soothing, numbing, and analgesic properties, combined with its ability to relieve mental and physical stress, aconite has been recommended as a sleep aid for generations. If you suffer from insomnia or restlessness, small doses of aconite can help to ensure that you get high-quality, restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free. (8)

9. Pain Reliever

Due to the strong anesthetic properties of the organic compounds in the petals, consuming its supplements or herbal remedies can relieve pain throughout the body, both internally and externally. This has made aconite a popular alternative cure for people suffering from chronic conditions and long-term pain. It has been found to be more effective in certain cases than morphine, particularly once morphine sensitivity has developed, and can provide a welcome relief to those patients. (9)

10. Detoxifies the Body

Aconite’s active ingredients and organic compounds influence the frequency with which we urinate, encouraging the release of toxins, excess fats, water, and salt from our body, lowering the stress on our kidneys and helping us improve our overall health by eliminating those unnecessary substances. (10)

11. Labor Pains

For women who choose not to use epidurals or other pharmaceutical pain relievers during the often painful birthing process, small amounts of aconite have been used throughout history to relieve labor pains and reduce inflammation, easing the birthing process and increasing chances of ending up with a healthy mother and infant. (11)

12. Respiratory infections

Homeopathic remedy Aconite is effective in treating respiratory infections, particularly when the symptoms occur very aggressively and fast, mostly when the patient comes in contact with cold, dry winds. In some cases, the patients may also tolerate phlegm or catarrh and a tender throat, perhaps owing to a fever which results in the skin becoming hot and dry. Very often, the patients suffer from restless sleep and have an agitated sensation and during these situations, they may have a hot, reddened and swollen face, while the face may appear to be pale when they wake up in the morning.

13. Eye and ear infections

Aconite is often suggested for people suffering from eye and ear infections. People suffering from such eye infections usually have inflamed eyes accompanied by a scorching pain, something similar to what is experienced when one suffers from eye problems caused by an injury or conjunctivitis. In the case of ear infections, the problems develop very fast resulting in extreme pain, intensely flushed ears and extreme aversion to noise. Often, these symptoms may occur together with restiveness, high fever and an anxious agitation. Using Aconite in such situations helps to ease the symptoms as well as treat the infections completely.

Traditional uses and benefits of Aconite

  • 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.
  • Root is analgesic, anodyne, anti-rheumatic, 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.
  • It is used especially in the treatment of fevers, inflammation, bronchitis, neuralgia etc.
  • The herb is useful in treating Croup (a respiratory infection that is usually caused by a virus) and symptoms related to it.
  • It prevents from heart attacks as it keeps the heart healthy.
  • It is used to lessen the impact of fever associated with cold.
  • It prevents hair loss and promotes hair growth.
  • It alleviates the inflammation in laryngitis.
  • It cures asthma.
  • It cures pneumonia.
  • It destroys inflammation within the body.
  • It controls high blood pressure.
  • It is helpful in healing wounds as it contains disinfectant property.
  • It decreases inflammation and pain in Cornea.
  • It helps in improving bradycardia.
  • It is efficient in reducing the pain in the nerves.
  • It reduces pain in angina condition.
  • It balances the metabolism to treat Gout.
  • This herb has proven to be effective in treating skin diseases.
  • It helps to alleviate phobia and anxiety.
  • It is applied on the skin in the form of tincture to cure neuralgia, rheumatism and sciatica.
  • It alleviates numbness and cold extremities.
  • It is a good herbal remedy to cure paralysis.
  • It is used to cure pleurisy.
  • It promotes sweating within the body.
  • It is useful in reducing joint pain.
  • It is useful to cure excessive retention of urine.
  • It has diuretic property to promote the flow rate of urine.
  • Aconite is traditionally used to treat various problems related to eyes and ears.
  • It is also believed to promote fertility in men and women.
  • It is effective in treating severe infections, for instance colds and coughs, especially when they are just beginning.
  • Aconite is also recommended for treating conditions of anxiety as well as for mothers as well as babies during or soon after childbirth.

Precautions

  • Whole plant is highly toxic, acting particularly on the nerve centers.
  • At first it encourages 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 diarrhea.
  • Simple skin contact with the plant has caused numbness in some people.
  • Root consists of 90% more poison than the leaves.
  • Plant is extremely poisonous in both ingestion and skin contact.
  • Initial signs of poisoning are gastrointestinal including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
  • It may cause numbness or tingling, faint, dizziness.
  • Large doses of Aconite for long period can cause sneezing, cough and swollen throat.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=18419#null

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Aconitum+napellus

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/aconi007.html

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=ACNA

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2619110

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/1783

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=1347

https://www.wikidata.org/wiki/Q159218

https://en.hortipedia.com/Aconitum_napellus

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconitum_napellus

http://www.hplism.nic.in/sites/default/files/ACONITUM_NAPELLUS.pdf

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/AAONA

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=286162

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The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are taking any medication, do not take any vitamin, mineral, herb, or other supplement without consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times, authors, publisher and its representatives disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from information contained in this website www.healthbenefitstimes.com