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Pronunciation: a-kon-ee-tum, na-pel-lus
Etymology: Acontinum, the Latin name from Greek akoniton, perhaps from akonitos, "dustless," i.e., an unconquerable poison. Napellus: a small turnip, referring to the roots
English: Monkshood, wolfsbane, fuzi, monks blood
German: Blauer Eisenhut
Homeopathic preparation: The Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia (Quin) orders the expressed juice of the recent plant to be mixed with equal quantity of spirits of wine. [Hamilton's Flora]
Mother tincture from the entire plant except the root, and dilutions. U. S.P., Extractum Aconiti. Fluid extractum . [Blackwood's Manual]
N.O. Ranunculaceae. Buttercup Family. Family which also includes such remedies as Cimicifuga, Helleborus, Hydrastis, and Ranunculus
see gun powder
Provings: first proved by Stoerck in 1761. A proving of it was published by Hahnemann in the "Materia Medica Pura," vol. II.[Dunham's Materia Medica] During the years from 1805 to 1811, when the first edition of the Materia Medica Pura was issued by Arnold, Hahnemann and his provers were busy. Aconite was proven by Provers G. A. Ahner, Wilhelm Gross, Friedrich Hahnemann, C. G. Hornburn, Ferd. Rueckert, Ernst Stapf, Wilhelm Wahle.
Experiments were made by Christison and Pereira. In 1845 the inaugural thesis of Fleming was issued. About 1840 the Austrian Homeopathic Society made some provings of Aconite. These were published in the first volume of the Oester. Zeitschrift fur Homeopathie, and a translation was published in the Homeopathic Examiner, new ser, Vol. 2 (Aug, 1846). The first drug tried by these provers was Aconite and the provers were Dr. F. H. Arneth and Adolph Gerstel. [Homeopathic Recorder]
Description of the substance
Botanical Description: It is usually known by its characteristic, benumbing taste, due to its alkaloid Aconitine; this is, however, less noticeable in the tincture prepared from the fresh green plant than in that prepared from the dried root. Perennial, flower May, June, and July. Flowers purple, glabrous. Upper petal helmet - shaped. Leaves palmated, in five wedge shaped segments, deeply cut and toothed, standing alternately on channelled footstalks; the upper leaves not so deeply as the lower. Stem erect, from two to three feet high. . [Blackwood's Manual]
This is a very striking plant, its tall, upright, 4 to 5 foot stem is resplendent at the top with a thick cluster of deep blue sombre-hued flowers arranged in a spike. The root, a dark conical tuber, is whitish on section and has bitter taste, associated with tingling and numbness in the mouth if eaten. The root has on occasion been mistaken for horseradish and eaten with disastrous results [Gibson's Study of Remedies]
The plant is a hardy perennial, with a fleshy, spindle-shaped root, palecoloured when young, but subsequently acquiring a dark brown skin. The stem is about 3 feet high, with dark green, glossy leaves, deeply divided in palmate manner and flowers in erect clusters of a dark blue colour. The shape of the flower is specially designed to attract and utilize bee visitors, especially the humble bee. The sepals are purple - purple being specially attractive to bees - and are fancifully shaped, one of them being in the form of a hood. The petals are only represented by the two very curious nectaries within the hood, somewhat in the form of a hammer; the stamens are numerous and lie depressed in a bunch at the mouth of the flower. They are pendulous at first, but rise in succession and place their anthers forward in such a way that a bee visiting the flower for nectar is dusted with the pollen, which he then carries to the next flower he visits and thereby fertilizes the undeveloped fruits, which are in a tuft in the centre of the stamens, each carpel containing a single seed.
Habitat: Moist pastures and waste places in mountainous districts, Central and Southern Europe, Russia, Scandinavia, and Central Asia. It is also found in mountainous ranges of the Pacific coast of America. [Pharmacopea] Aconite prefers a soil slightly retentive of moisture, such as a moist loam, and flourishes best in shade. It would probably grow luxuriantly in a moist, open wood, and would yield returns with little further trouble than weeding, digging up and drying.[A Modern Herbal; Mrs. M. Grieve].