aconite is Aconite napellus , one of the most poisonous plants of the terrestrial flora. Originally from Europe, it is also the ornament par excellence, given its beauty. An interesting plant in many ways. To encounter!
Also known by the popular names Jupiter’s Helmet, Friar’s Hood, Jupiter’s Helmet, Napello, Anapelo, and Aconite, Aconite has been known since ancient times and used as a poison.
ACONITE STORIES AND MEANINGS
And that is exactly where its meaning comes from. Its name derives from the Greek akòniton (= poisonous plant).
This Greek name was also used in the mythology of the Mediterranean peoples as a synonym for “maleficence” or “revenge”. It was used to bathe the tips of darts and lances with aconite in combat or hunting.
In popular belief, Wolfsbane is believed to hunt vampires;
Some believe that Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, was poisoned with a cocktail made from aconite rather than die from the bite of a viper;
In history, there are not a few reports of aconite poisoning from authorities, politicians and priests. In mythology, Medea attempted to poison Theseus with aconite, and also in various television series, comics, and films, the plant is associated with poisoning, murder, and magic;
In ancient times, aconite was used to poison arrowheads and darts in battle. It was also used as a poison to annihilate enemies.
WHAT IS ACONITE USED FOR?
Its medicinal use, in homeopathy and in allopathy is used as:
- used in the treatment of anxiety
- panic syndrome
- in episodes of restlessness
- nervous palpitations
- to calm people down before and after surgery, operative
- but also to cure the flu
- sports injuries
- inflammatory diseases
- spasmodic cough
- ear and throat pain
For homeopathic use, the medicine is obtained by subjecting the mother tincture obtained from the homonymous plant in the fresh state, to the usual dilution process and collected before the end of flowering.
Its use should be restricted and only under the constant supervision of the doctor who prescribed it.
The parts of the plant used are the leaves and mainly the roots, the tuber, where most of its active principles are concentrated.
The toxicity of the plant is due to the presence of aconitine (its main active ingredient). Due to the potency of the alkaloid substance, attention should also be paid to the skin contact through which the substance can penetrate.
If ingested, it can lead to fatal consequences for the body within a few hours.
Accidental ingestion of the plant can cause serious damage to health:
- feeling of anxiety
- loss of meaning
- slow breathing
- heart weakness
- tingling in the face
- Ringing in the ears
- blurry vision
- contraction in the throat that can even lead to death by suffocation.
Its toxicity is so high that a very small amount of aconitine would be enough to cause the death of an adult man.
SYMPTOMS OF POISONING
The intoxication is very rapid, after a latency period of between 10 and 90 minutes from ingestion until the appearance of the first symptoms, the person develops a series of symptoms:
- palpitations, shortness of breath, hypotension, bradycardia, tachycardia, ventricular arrhythmia, pulmonary edema;
- nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea; in addition to sensory and motor disorders;
- Itching and tingling extending from the mouth to the whole face and after the fingertips progressing along the extremities with a tendency to spread throughout the body until complete anesthesia.
Watch out for these signs that represent serious poisoning:
- shortness of breath, bradycardia, weak pulse, hypotension;
- high fever;
- rapid pulse and breathing:
- psychomotor agitation.
Within 2 to 6 hours, poisoning can cause a feeling of cold, a drop in body temperature, sweating, nausea, vomiting and heart rhythm disturbances. The pulse weakens and the person may become immobilized due to generalized paralysis of skeletal muscles, and death may occur from respiratory paralysis.
WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF POISONING
In mild cases, it is advisable to induce vomiting or perform gastric lavage a few minutes after ingestion.
If the person who took part in the plant is rushed to the hospital, the chances of recovery are high, proportional to the amount ingested.
After absorption of low doses, with no antidote available, treatment can only be symptomatic, maintaining regular temperature, heart rate and breathing.
For very high doses, death can be almost instantaneous.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE ACONITE PLANT
As this is a very dangerous plant, it is important not to touch anything that you see. Aconite is beautiful, so some unsuspecting people may touch it without knowing the danger.
The plant grows spontaneously in areas characterized by climates ranging from cold to temperate. It is easily found in the Alps and in mountain forests, in various places in Europe.
It can measure up to 1 meter in height and is characterized by its beautiful blue or purple flowers (rarely white) in the shape of an elongated cluster that curves like a cap.
The leaves are rounded with a diameter of about 5-7 centimeters, and the root has a tuberous appearance.
Due to its appearance, it can be confused with other edible tubers.
WHERE TO BUY ACONITE PLANT
As it is an ornamental plant, very beautiful with its dark purple and bluish flowers, you may have thought of buying a seedling of this plant.
They can be found on the internet and in nurseries, seedlings and seeds for planting, but beware of their toxicity and their danger to pets and children.
We recommend the use of gloves when handling flowers and leaves. Contact with the skin can cause itching, sensory disturbances and even possible motor disturbances.
As for homeopathic or herbal medicines based on aconitine, only a doctor can prescribe them and indicate their purchase.
By RedMe GreenMe. Article in Portuguese