Aconite 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”.
PHYSIO-PATHOLOGICAL ACTION of ACONITE
|Stimulates the inhibitory|
centre of vagus — later vagus becomes exhausted and paralyzed
|Reduces heart rate; lessens B.P.|
leading to arteriolar dilatation
|Tachycardia, Palpitation, Cardiac|
|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 depressed||Chilliness down the|
spine and sides
|Later on general constant|
|High rise of temperature|
|Followed by diaphoresis||Copious perspiration|
with lowering of temperature
|Respiratory tract||Influenza, cough and|
|G I Tract||Dysentery|
|Adhesive Inflammation||Pleurisy, Pericarditis,|
|Depression of Respiratory|
slower and deeper
|Congestion and inflammation|
|Congestion and inflammation|
of gastric mucosa
|Vomiting and Pain|
|Neuralgia||Pain in abdomen|
|Rheumatoid inflammation||Pain 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|
|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
GUIDING SYMPTOMS of ACONITE
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.
TRIO OF FEAR OF 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.
TRIO OF RESTLESSNESS
|ACONITE||Mentally and Physically restless. As he is full of energy and vigor, he moves from one place to another place frequently|
|ARSENICUM||Mentally restless but physically prostrated.|
|RHUS TOX||Very restless; can not remain in bed, must change position often to obtain relief from pain.|
8. Hypersensitivity: To pain, touch, sound, smell
|:||Pains are intolerable, drives him crazy, patient screams with pain; pains are always attended with restlessness and numbness; worse at night|
|:||Can not bear to be touched or to be covered|
|:||Least noise, even music is intolerable, makes her sad; it goes through every nerve .Sabina: Music is intolerable; produces nervousness, goes through bone and marrow.|
Thuja: Music causes weeping (Ambra Griesea)
Nat. Carb: Attacks of anxiety and restlessness during a thunderstorm
|:||Hypersensitivity to smell; especially for unpleasant odors.|
Burning runs all through the remedy. Burning heat in fever, burning in head, as if there were burning water in brain; burning in spine; burning during micturition with scanty urination; burning thirst.
10. Numbness and tingling:
Pains are accompanied by numbness and tingling; paralysis accompanied by coldness, numbness and tingling, neuralgia especially of left side with numbness, tingling and restlessness.
11. Unquenchable burning
thirst for large quantities of cold water. (Ars: Thirst for small quantities of cold water at short intervals; Bry: Thirst for large quantities of cold water at long intervals)
12. Skin dry and hot:
during fever face red , or pale and red alternately; sweat scanty, only on uncovered parts (covered parts – Belladonna)
Profuse; bright red, from nose, lungs, stomach; bleeding piles with heat and sharp stitches, sudden severe pain in stomach with gagging, retching and vomiting of blood.
Aggravation: evening, night, warm room, lying on affected side; from music, tobacco smoke, when rising from bed, dry cold air.