History – Aconitum ferox or Indian Aconite or Aconitum virosum is a well known Indian poison known locally as Bikh, Bish, Nabhee or Ativisha. It contains large quantities of the alkaloid pseudaconitine, which is a deadly poison.
Species – Monkshood, Family Ranunculaceae. It is abundant at Sandakphu, the highest point of Darjeeling Hills in West Bengal state of India and other sub Himalayan terrains. These are the most poisonous species known and contain the greatest proportion of Aconitine. The Tincture of the root is used as the medicine. A deciduous perennial plant, it grows up to 1m tall and is favored by many soil types. They are handsome plants with the tall and erect stem crowned by racemes of large eye-catching blue, purple, white, yellow or pink zygomorphic flowers with numerous stamens. They are distinguished by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood. There are 2-10 petals, in the form of nectaries. The two upper petals are large. They are placed under the hood of the calyx and are supported on long stalks.
Poisoning– The symptoms of poisoning are usually seen within 45-60 minutes, starting with numbness of the oral cavity and throat and vomiting after an hour, if a sufficient dose has been ingested. Then the respiration slows and the blood pressure falls simultaneously up to 30- 40 beats per minute. Consciousness stays till the end and usually death is by asphyxiation, occurring before the arrest of the heart. It is considered the most poisonous plant in the world. The plant was first proved by Dr. Dworzack who also proved Aconitine. The following is the symptomatology of the proving.
Project – The Reproving of the drug Aconitum Ferox was conducted at The National Academy of India’s Shaad homoeopathic Hospital Complex & Research Centre, Nagpur. The project directors were Drs. Aadil and fatema Chimthanawala. It commenced at 11.10 am on 22nd December and ended on 24th December 2010. Eighteen provers actively participated in the Reproving of the drug Aconitum Ferox and eleven other qualified homoeopaths were the controls. The representation was wide as regards age (21- 29 years) and geography.
Dr. Pratibha Dangre conducted a detailed case taking, physical examination, laboratory investigations (Complete Blood Count, Haemoglobin, ESR, Blood Sugar, Renal profile, Liver profile and Lipid profile) including ECG of all the provers & the controls prior to the start of the project. Those who were suffering from chronic disorders or were already under homoeopathic treatment or had addictions (tobacco, cigarettes, Betel Nuts, Nus, perfumes, etc.) were not included.
After taking an oath of honest reporting by the provers and controls alike, 6 globules of Aconite ferox of Number 20 in 30C potency were administered per orally on 22/12/2010 at 11.10 am by Prof. Dr. Sagira Chimthanawala in presence of the distinguished Director of the School Prof. Dr. Kasim Chimthanawala. The temperature at Nagpur was 8.1 degrees Celsius. Then, began the tedious task of systemic and meticulous noting of the evolution of drug effects and the comparison of day books of all the provers to determine the true characters of the drug disease.
Mind and Disposition: Cheerful and felt like laughing (1, 6), Irritability < noise (2), Homesickness (2)
Head: Vertigo on standing up that lasted for 1-2 minutes (19). Pain left temple to occiput, continued for 10 hours -2 days (1, 3, 8, 11, and 14), tearing left forehead that started 2 hours after drug ingestion for 20 minutes (12, 4 and 5)
Eyes: Burning & Irritation in Left Eye (1, 5, 12) > pressing eyeball (1)
Ears: Hot Sensation in left ear lasting for 2 days (3, 16, 17); burning sensation (10); itching in the left auditory meatus (13, 17, 18)
Nose: Initially profuse sneezing but then decreased (2) followed by thin watery discharge from the left Nostril < evening (11). It lasted for 2 days. Next day, posterior nasal discharge, thick white sputum became thin again in the evening. (2, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 17).
Mouth: Bitter taste in the mouth started 25 minutes after drug intake for 3-4 hours (2). This was repeated after the 2nd dose (2). Tooth ache left side < chewing (3).
Throat: discomfort lasting for 3 hours (6).
Stomach and Abdomen: Craving for Rice for which she was averse to (2). Stool unsatisfactory (13); had to strain (3, 14, 17). Dark brown stool (13, 16) Discomfort after eating food (13)
Male Sexual Organs: No symptoms noticed
Female Sexual Organs: menses began with average flow that lasted for 3 days (15, 7).
Chest: Pain in left side after passing stool (3). Pain left chest, an area that could be covered with the tip of the finger (9) Dry cough started in 2 hours and lasted for 7 days (3, 7, 9, 15,). Hypertension with systolic BP increasing by 10-14 mm Hg and Diastolic BP increasing by 10mm Hg over previous states. (1,5,6,7,8,9,13,14,17). ECG – Partial RBBB (3,6,9,12,14)
Sleep: Great sleepiness during the day even in the morning, with late going to sleep at night. Restless, disturbed sleep at night and sleepiness in the morning (3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 18)
Skin: Boil at the tip of the nose (11). Itching in between fingers of the left hand that started after 3 hours and lasted for 4 hours (13)
Fever: Great Chilliness (2, 6, 7, 12, 13). Feverishness just after the first dose (9, 14) Running nose with sneezing (10)
Extremities: Crackling sensation in the upper limbs (11).
Conclusion – We agree with Dr. T.F. Allen who pens in the preface of his Handbook of Materia Medica – “Much might be said concerning the reliability of our symptomatology, the errors that have been perpetuated from year to year in old material and in new material obtained by faulty methods are well known. There is no doubt that some of even Hahnemann’s symptoms were observed in the sick both as apparent results of drug action and as probable cures, it is also true that most provers have allowed themselves to record as effects of drugs taken for experiment, symptoms which would have arisen spontaneously or which were suggestions of a mind watching for such effects. There is no doubt that many if not most symptoms have been observed in only one or two persons as the effect of the drug and that many of these would fail confirmation by repeated experiment. But after all these allowances have been made there remains a good and true pathogenesis sufficient for a working Materia Medica and capable of justifying itself by unfailing results when put to the test of homoeopathic therapeutics. Numerous provings each consisting of but a single observation even the result of but a single dose appeal to our knowledge of the effects of analogous drugs as genuine; they must be utilized, their symptoms guide us unerringly to the saving of life and they cannot be discarded.”
In the short reproving of Aconite Ferox, few symptoms that have already been proved by previous provings have been found in our provings too. Many new symptoms include sustained hypertensive state lasting for 3 days in provers who previously were not hypertensives and Partial Right Bundle Branch Block which reverted back to normalcy in a week’s time. (All 3 sets of ECG’s, that is, before the commencement of proving, during the proving and after the normalization of the RBBB are available)
This has given a new confidence in all our provers who could themselves experience the pathogenetic powers of the administered potentized drug.
Hail Hahnemann!! Hail Homoeopathy!!!