An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.

 

Aconite - Aconitum napellus - family: Ranunculaceae (Crowfoot Family) (Buttercup Family).

This perennial plant grows to about five feet high. It has deeply cut fringed glossy dark green leaves. It produces spikes (racemes) of hooded blue flowers in the summer. Following the flowers are fruits which contain glossy black triangular-shaped seeds. It is one of the ancient herbs. Traditional use of roots as one of the ingredients of witches' brews in Europe in the Middle Ages. Traditional European folk use of dried roots as a poultice for bruises, rheumatism and snake bites. Note: contains aconitine, a highly toxic alkaloid. Note: too toxic to take internally. Note: all parts of this plant are very toxic when ingested: death may result. Note: POISONOUS. Note: if this plant is growing in your garden, be sure to wash your hands after handling it. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias from 1820 to 1930. Native to the mountainous regions of Europe. Cultivated as an ornamental in North America. At least three cultivars exist.

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Web page last updated on 18 May 2003.