Aconitum Napellus is an herb that has been used for centuries. Besides being a beautiful flower, it is useful for the practitioner of homeopathic medicines. There are many variations and types of Aconitum Napellus. This herb can be found in the northeastern United States, the United Kingdom and parts of Europe. The origins of the herb are not known, but it has been speculated that it originated from Asia.
Common names for Aconitum Napellus are monkshood or wolfsbane. Aconitum is not a flower but an herb. It grows perennially, sometimes as high as 8 feet tall. Aconitum grows lobe-shaped leaves that are purple, blue, yellow or white in color and bears a small fruit pod. There are 109 species and seven hybrids of Aconitum. It is grown widely in the Swiss Alps.
Aconitum Napellus, or Aconite, is poisonous. Reported symptoms of Aconite poisoning are crawling skin, vomiting and coldness. As late as 2004, a Canadian actor named Andre Noble died by eating it accidentally during a camping trip. Aconite contains not just one but many different dangerous chemicals and there is no antidote. The effectiveness of this herb to treat some ailments isn’t disputed, but the effectiveness level is so close to fatal toxicity that it would be easy to overdose.
Aconitum Napellus has found its place in mythological history. As wolfsbane, it was believed to repel the werewolf and protect anyone who wore it from the wolf’s attack. Ancient Romans used Aconitum to fulfill the death penalty on their convicted criminals. Later the Roman government made the use of the herb illegal and punished citizens who grew it. Murders have been committed using Aconitum because of its dangerous chemicals like aconitine. When villages were attacked in Medieval times, sometimes the villagers would poison the water supply with Aconitum before fleeing for safety.
All 109 species of Aconitum contain the poison aconitine. The poison permeates the plant but is in large supply found in the root. Eating a leaf or snacking on a tiny portion of the root would cause almost immediate numbness and tingling in the mouth. Children and pets should be kept away from it. Aconitum should never be grown with other herbs you intend to consume.
Applying Aconitum as an ointment to the skin will create a pain-relieving numbing sensation. It’s used for treating joint pains from rheumatism, lumbago and neuralgia. When Aconitum is processed into a tincture it can be used to slow down the heart rate in cardiac patients. As it slows down the pulse it can also be used to treat nervous ailments. Because of its cooling effect on the internal system it has been used to reduce fevers and treat colds and pneumonia.