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Aconitum napellus

Aconitum napellus               Common name: Monkshood, Wolfsbane

Family: Ranunculaceae

Parts used:  root, but alkaloid is present in all parts of the plant.

Constituents: Terpenoid alkaloids (1.2%): aconitine, aconine, hypaconitine, neopelline, picraconitine, napelline, benzoylaconine, traces of ephedrine and sparteine; Acids:  aconitic, itaconic; Sugars; Starch

Medicinal  actions:  Sedative, anodyne, febrifuge, anti-neuralgic.


Medicinal use: Aconite is considered to be a poweful poison not now used internally. Topical application of aconite will cause localized anodyne and anti-inflammatory effects. Used in facial neuralgia, especially trigeminal neuralgia, otitis, herpes zoster, and other nerve related pain.


  • Terpenoid Alkaloids reduce permeability of nerve cells to sodium, reduce ability to transmit nerve impulses thus acting as a sedative and painkiller.


  • Liniment: 1:10 tincture diluted in 1:9 parts witch hazel applied as needed

Toxicity:  VERY TOXIC PLANT. Overdose is potentially lethal. Toxic effects may be seen with greater than 10 drops of the tincture.  Fatal doses are: 1 gm of plant (3-6 mg aconitine), 5 ml of tincture, 2 mg of aconitine. Toxicity symptoms are: Nausea and vomiting, tingling or burning followed by numbness of the mouth, throat, and hands; dizziness, restlessness, loss of speech control; intense headache; pinpoint pupils, blurred vision; slow and weak pulse; hypotension; irregular heartbeat and breathing; chest pain; ventricular fibrillation in about 2 hours (1-6 hours); sweating and hypthermia; patient is cold and cannot stand; face is pale, extreme anxiety; diarrhea, muscular weakness, convulsion and death due to respiratory failure.


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