Materia Medica


Kulwant Singh
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History & Introduction

It is an extremely powerful and potentially toxic herb with a long history of use. In traditional Chinese medicine, this is considered an effective stimulant for the Spleen and Kidneys, and is a favorite treatment for Malaise, General Weakness, Poor Circulation, Cancer and Heart Disease. Around the turn of the 19th Century, Finley Ellingword M.D. declared that , “Aconite has become the greatest of the agents used by the profession in control of Fever.” Dr Ellingword also found that it could be extremely useful in the relief of acute pain and suggests, “Perhaps the most immediate influence obtainable in acute pain is to put 10 drops each of Chloroform and Aconite into the palm of the hand and hold it over the seat of pain for 2-3 minutes. The effect is instantaneous and marvelous.”

This herb can be used to treat either Hypertension or Hypotension depending upon the preparation. According to Potter’s New Cyclopedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, “Aconite has a transient hypertensive activity whereas the herb after heat treatment, has a transient presser activity.” Recent studies have discovered that various Monkshood species have anti-tumor, anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity. The contemporary German Medical Herbalist, Rudolf Fritz Coeirs, M.D., states that “Aconite is still a valuable remedy for genuine Facial Neuralgia. Neurologists continue to say that this is the drug to be tried first. ”

Aconite is a genus of plants belonging to natural order Ranunculacae, the Buttercup family, commonly known as Monkshood or Wolfs Bane. Ranunculacae is embracing about 60 species, chiefly natives of the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere. They are distinguished by having one of the five blue or yellow colored sepals (the posterior one) in the form of a helmet; hence the English name Monkshood. Monks hood has been mentioned in herbals and plant lists since the 10th century. In the past it was often used as an antidote to snake bites. The poison is mainly in the root, although the other plant parts are poisonous too. The scientific name Aconite is derived from the word AKONTION, meaning dart, as arrows or darts were frequently dipped into its poison. According to Maude Grieve “1/50th grain of aconitine will kill a rabbit in few minutes “. The lethal dose for human is only 3 to 6 mg. The name Wolf’s Bane came about in a similar manner. It was believed that arrows dipped in the poison or baits anointed with it would effectively kill wolves. Aconite and Belladonna were said to be the ingredients in the Witch’s “Flying Ointments”. Aconite causes irregular action of heart, and Belladonna produces delirium. These combined symptoms might give a sensation of ‘flying’.

The specific name “Napellus” signifies a little turnip, in allusion to the shape of the roots. The plant is a hardy perennial, with a fleshy, spindle shaped root, pale colored 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 brown color. 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.

Aconite is one of the deadliest and most rapidly acting poisons, yet through Hahnemann’s discoveries it has been transformed into a very useful medicine. Hahnemann published its pathogenesis in 1805, and to him the world is indebted for the knowledge of its therapeutic values. Hughes says that the allopaths have caught a glimpse of its virtues from its use by the homoeopaths. Aconite is a short acting remedy. There is hardly any acute disease in which it is not more or less called for. It is one of Clarke’s A,B,C, Nurseries, others being Belladonna and Chamomilla. Aconite causes “turmoil in circulation”, Belladonna “turmoil in brain” and Chamomilla causes “turmoil in temperament”.






Stimulates the inhibitory
centre of vagus — later vagus becomes exhausted and paralyzed
Reduces heart rate; lessens B.P.


Vasomotor paralysis
leading to arteriolar dilatation
Tachycardia, Palpitation, Cardiac

Nervous System

At first stimulates
and later paralyses the nerves of pain, touch and temperature,
if applied to the skin, broken or unbroken, or to a mucous
Initially numbness and tingling
in extremities followed by long continued anesthetic action


Initially depressedChilliness down the
spine and sides
Later on general constant
High rise of temperature
Followed by diaphoresisCopious perspiration
with lowering of temperature


Respiratory tractInfluenza, cough and
G I TractDysentery


Adhesive InflammationPleurisy, Pericarditis,


Depression of Respiratory
Respiration becomes
slower and deeper
Congestion and inflammation
of lung


Congestion and inflammation
of gastric mucosa
Vomiting and Pain
NeuralgiaPain in abdomen

& Fibrous Tissues

Rheumatoid inflammationPain and swelling of joints


Increases the irritability
of voluntary muscle




Physical:Strong robust people with rigid fibers; dark hair and eyes; young person especially girls of a full, plethoric habit who lead a sedentary life; rosy; chubby and plethoric babies; persons who are easily affected by atmospheric changes
Mental:Nervous, Fearful and Sanguine temperament
Thermal:Aconite seems to be a warm blooded patient
Diathesis:Scrofulous diathesis
Miasm:Psora is in the background


1.       Exposure to dry cold air, dry north or west winds. (Bry; Hepar Sulph)

2.       Exposure to draughts of cold air while in perspiration

3.       Bad effects of checked perspiration (Bry)

4.       From fear or excitement

5.       Effects of fright either immediate or remote (Opium – remoter effects of fright)

6.       Heat of sun

7.       From injury or surgical operations


1. Sudden and Violent:
Acute, sudden and violent invasion calls for it. All the acute cases occur suddenly and with great intensity e.g. influenza, cholera, fevers, acute inflammations and even sudden blindness.

2. Especially suited to congestive stage of inflammation before localization takes place.

3. Tension: According to Dr Hughes, “Tension” is the word which gives the best idea of the action and sphere of Aconite. Emotional and mental tension as shown in fright or fear and its consequences , anxiety and fear of death. Muscular tension, as in tetanus, convulsions; tension of involuntary muscles, as in cardiac spasm; tension of the semi-involuntary muscle of respiration as in asthma.

4. Fear: Fear is etched upon one’s countenance: Fear of dark, Fear of crowds, Fear to cross the streets, Fear of Death during pregnancy.

Fear of Death: Predicts the day and hour of his death.



Fear of death during first stage of disease, patient thinks that unless proper medicine is taken, he is going to die and therefore wants
doctor to be called immediately. Restlessness and Anxiety.


Fear of death during later stages of disease. Patient does not predict the time of death but feels that his disease is fatal and incurable,
therefore there is no use of taking the medicines hence no doctor is to be called. Restlessness, Prostration.


Fear of being poisoned.
Fear of death due to intensity of pain.

5. Fright: Threatened abortion from fright or anger, amenorrhea after fright; vertigo after fright.

6. Mental anxiety, worry and fear accompany the most trivial ailment.

7. Restlessness: “Anxious restlessness”, i.e. restlessness accompanied by anxiety; does everything in great haste must change position often; during fever intense nervous restlessness with tossing about in agony.

About the author

Kulwant Singh

Kulwant Singh

Dr. Kulwant Singh is Dean-Faculty of Homoeopathy, Vinoba Bhave University. Principal- S H Medical college and Hospital, Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, India

Leave a Comment


  • Dear Sir,
    Your article is very massive. You are requested to please help me about availability of aconite Powder 99% OR preparation of this as I have to process the same for a medicine. In this respect your an act of kindness would highly be appreciated.
    Thanks and best regards.
    Hakeem Munir Ahmed Qamar

    • Dear Munir,

      Potentized Aconite is available from any homeopathic pharmacy. There is no need to make it yourself.

  • Hi, we suffered a horrific crash in which we survived, my son’s skin since then has exploded with inflammation, his mental state has never been the same, irritable, selfish, moody, always saying ‘i love you’ like we’re going to go somewhere out of his life it makes me sad to see him go from a confident 3yr old to this state and me and my wife although we’ve suffered minor psychological issues which we are working through we both tear looking at the state of our son and how is going on his skin inflammation all over his body as well as his psychological position at this time of his life, we visited a homeopath who prescribed us aconite 1m to take first dose which we done, that stopped the itching for a couple days then it started to resurface again, which then the homeopath said to start taking sulphur 30c which is where his skin exploded again, we’ve given him back on aconite for now to settle it down could you please share any help for my family thanks.

  • I had a similar skin situation, like Ariki, with my son, who was 22 then. He would also keep repeating, ‘I love you’.
    Any explanation, anyone. Is it a case of aconite only?

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