Friday, February 4, 2011

Aconitum Napellus - Monkshood, the Deadly Poison

Aconitum Napellus - Monkshood, also called Blue Rocket, Friar's Cap, Aconite, Wolf's Bane, Leopard's Bane, Women's Bane, and Devil's Helmet .     It is a deadly poison.  It is also a very popular garden plant.  Aconitine is one of the most formidable poisons which has ever been discovered. ALL parts of the plant are poisonous, especially the root.

Yes, this is me telling you to respect Mother Nature and Don't. Be. Stupid.  Cause I'm not gonna feel sorry for you if you hurt yourself.  But I will nominate you for a Darwin Award, if you qualify and if they still exist. 

Aconitum Napellus contains several poisonous alkaloids, including a deadly cardiac poison that was used on spears and arrows for hunting and battle in ancient times. The principal alkaloid in Monkshood is aconitine. Ingestion of even a small amount results in severe gastrointestinal upset but it is the effect on the heart, slowing it down until it stops, which is often the cause of death.

Aconitum Napellus has a long history of use as a poison, with cases going back thousands of years. Sources suggest the name came from the Greek word ‘akónitos’ formed from ‘ak’, ‘pointed’ and kônos, ‘cone’. The name refers to the pointed leaves and to its use as a poison on arrows.  It was used in ancient Rome and China where it was applied not just to the tips of arrows but also on the shafts. It was smeared on as a paste in the hope that anyone attempting to remove an arrow from a wounded soldier would also absorb the poison.  Nice, huh?

Aconitum Napellus is grown in gardens for its attractive showy spiked blue flowers.  It is a cut flower crop, used for fresh and sometimes dried material.  It's a hardy perennial, the stem is about 3 feet high, dark green, glossy leaves, and flowers in erect clusters of dark blue. Aconite likes a slightly retentive soil, such as moist loam, and loves the shade. To prep for it, dig up the dirt really well after the last frost (check the Weather Channel, I don't know...), and dig in the rotted leaves from last fall, and if ya can find some, fresh maure would be heaven.  I'd suggest you get a seedling cause these babies take 2-3 years to come to flower from seed. 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the fact that this plant is one of the strongest poisons known to man, and it is commonly used as an ornamental plant in North America. It boggles.  

Yes, I know I've mentioned it before, but Monkshood is a deadly poisonous plant.  I'm going to say it several times in this article, just to make sure the point gets across. It can poison you by being absorbed through your skin or open wounds and there are reports of people being unwell after smelling the flowers.

(Psst...Monkshood is a deadly poison.)

Symptoms of Monkshood Poisoning and Antidotes (Disclaimer: I don't know if this is true or correct, I got this info on the web and share it with you for entertainment purposes only.  I have not confirmed if any of this information is correct. You should do your own research on this before you get any funny ideas. )  - symptons of poisoning are tingling and numbness of tongue and mouth, a sensation of ants crawling over the body, nausea and vomiting with epigastric pain, laboured breathing, a weak, irregular pulse, cold and clammy skin, giddiness, staggering, but all with a clear mind. (In other words, you're dying a painful death and you're fully aware of what's going on.)

A stomach tube or emetic should be used at once, 20 minims of Tincture of Digitalis given if available, stimulants should be given and if not retained diluted brandy injected per rectum, artificial respiration and friction, patient to be kept lying down.

All children should be warned against Aconite in gardens.

DO NOT PLANT IT ANYWHERE NEAR YOUR KITCHEN HERB GARDEN.
You don't want to accidentally mix it's leaves with salad greens. Every part of this plant is poisonous.   The root has occasionally been mistaken for horse-radish, with fatal results.



7 comments:

Unknown said...

This information was very helpful! I heard about "wolfsbane" off of a t.v show called "Teen Wolf" I got very interested and thanks for sharing this information:)

mike said...

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once visit this
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mike said...

your post is really have good content i have some blogs about this flower it is use in homeopathy and other medicine in India or other country also

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Aconitum napellus

Star Mike said...

is it right content about aconitum napelus

Aconite is one of the main remedy that most of the Homeopathy doctors are using for immediate reaction and cure. This is mainly used for sudden fever occurred without any prior symptoms, and pains.
Aconitum napellus

thiru satya said...

about homeopathy and other medicine in india or other countries you have given very informative information thanks for giving such information sir
Aconitum Napellus

thiru satya said...

please give me some information about aconitum Napellus for my project is it only useful for homeopathy or other medicine
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Anonymous said...

All should know that there is NO KNOWN ANTIDOTE for aconite poisoning.