Aconitum napellus is a plant. The remedy prepared from it belongs to the acute miasm and is, in fact, the most acute of all our remedies.The main feeling of Aconitum is of a sudden, intense threat from outside that comes suddenly and goes suddenly. For that moment the person, who is otherwise calm becomes intensely restless, panicky and nervous. This feeling of a sudden threat is seen in the fear of walking across a busy street, fear of accidents, of suffocation, in presentiment of death and in the delusion that he is about to die. Mentally this is expressed as a fear of death, anxiety and restlessness etc., while in the physical sphere, we find a racing pulse, palpitation and flushing of face alternating with paleness, etc.Aconitum is excitable. The patient can flare up suddenly, can get frightened very easily. Pain can drive him beside himself and again this excitement will be manifested suddenly and violently, with great restlessness – an acute panic reaction.
Great nervous excitability is the most important component of Aconitum. We must look for an excitable person and not a calm one, if we are to prescribe Aconitum – one who cannot take anything easy; everything excites him. Here it comes close to Nux vomica, Chamomilla, Staphysagria, Coffea and Graphites. But Aconitum is also very, very restless. There is anxious restlessness. Pierre Schmidt feels it is the most important remedy for anxious restlessness. Nux vomica, Staphysagria, Coffea or Ignatia are not so restless. Aconitum just can’t sit still. He tosses about. This is similar to Arsenicum and Rhustoxicodendro, only much more intense, vigorous, sudden and acute. It is a sudden burst of excitement, fear or anxiety with great restlessness. He doesn’t know where to go or what to do, his mind is ruled over by tremendous anxiety and fear. Then this whole state disappears as suddenly as it had come without leaving a trace.
Aconitum avoids crowds, crossing the street, indeed any other situation that would cause excitement of mind. The proving reads: “Fear to go where there is any excitement”. Sudden, intense fear from trivial causes is characteristic. It is not the insecure feeling of Calcarea or the terror of Stramonium nor the anxiety about health of Arsenicum, Nitric acid or Kali arsenicosum. It is an intense, sudden, panic state – something severe – the end, death! The rubric “Predicts the time of death” is a combination of “Clairvoyance” with “Intense fear of death”. But as I said earlier, this is not the permanent state of Aconitum. Soon the excited state passes off and the normal state re-emerges.But even in his normal state, Aconitum is hurried. As the proving reads: “He does everything in a hurry, runs about the house”. His speech is hasty, jerky and excited: “Great impatience”, “Wants things at once”, “On attempting to think of one thing, another thought intrudes, this is soon supplanted by another one and so on”.
Excitability can also make him cheerful, laughing, singing, dancing. But here too, the slightest trifle can change his cheerfulness to anxiety: “Alternate attacks of opposite states of humour”; “Fitful moods”. It is this cheerfulness of Aconitum that differentiates it from Argentum nitricum and Arsenicum. These phases of excitable cheerfulness are not seen in the latter remedies.
He can at times become very irritable, violent, intolerant of contradiction, shrieking, censorious but will cool down soon. It is this sudden excitability that brings on such a state. There can also be episodes of intense sadness which pass off soon, accompanied by the anguish, restless, moaning and groaning of Aconitum.
There are also sleep symptoms: somnambulism and talking in sleep. Dreams are anxious and clairvoyant. Sleep is anxious, restless, with constant tossing and turning, and starting in sleep.Aconitum is complementary to Sulphur.
Physical concomitants are:
- Face expression, anxious, frightened.
- Thirsty, burning.
- Heat, palms.
- Discolouration- red cheeks.
- Perspiration, uncovered parts, on.
- Desires: beer, bitter drinks, acids.
- Sleeps on back with hands under the head or sleeps in a sitting posture
with head inclined forward, can’t lie on sides.
- Palpitation with great anxiety.
- Face, red-hot.
- Respiration oppressed.
- Limbs feel weak.
- Moaning, groaning, howling, loud whining or weeping;
- Easily startled by noise.
- Heat and discolouration, red, of face, in anxiety and excitement.
- Beside oneself, being.
- Beside oneself, anxiety from.
- Death, dying, feels as if.
- Excitement, nervous.
- Mood, changeable.
- Speech, hasty.
- Besides himself, frantic, madness from pain.
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To read about the philosophical approach to developing these remedy pictures, see Dr. Sankaran’s introduction to Soul of Remedies: