Quiz 16: Can you name this medicinal herb?

I feel it necessary to follow up my previous post with the true Aconite or “wolfsbane” or “queen of the poisons”. This plant is the one better known in folklore commonly associated with witches, warlocks, and werewolves as previously noted:

… this herb is ”wolfbane” referring to the use of lacing meat with bits of its tuber in order to rid the countryside of those fearsome beasts. As though this practical application was not enough, legend also tells us it has mystical powers to repel werewolves if carried in one’s purse. Better still! The bearer could wrap a tuber in lizard skin and not be seen at all!

Most of the plant can be used to prepare an extract of Aconitum: leaves, stem, flowering tops and root (the leaves and tops fresh, the root dried). Less a.i. (active ingredient) in new leaves and flowers and for this purpose are cut when the flowers are just breaking into blossom and the leaves are in their best condition, which is in June.  Beautiful (yet deadly) cut flower. Our Nature Interpretive Centre (Royal Botanical Gardens) has some in the children’s play area just outside the side door. Find me and I will point it out. 

Aconite is used more so in modern medicine and is ranked as one of our most useful drugs. It is the original external anaesthetic  and internally acts on the circulation, the respiration, and the nervous system to slow the pulse. On account of its very poisonous nature, all medicines obtained from it come, however, under Table 1 of the poison schedule: Aconite is a deadly poison. All species of Aconite are poisonous. Last year I experimented, and not wearing gloves, rolled a single flower between my fingers – sat on the toilet for a while that evening. POISONOUS!!

S/x: tingling and numbness of tongue and mouth and a sensation of ants crawling over the body, nausea and vomiting with epigastric pain, laboured breathing, pulse irregular and weak, skin cold and clammy, features bloodless, giddiness, staggering, mind remains clear. R/x: A stomach tube or emetic should be used at once, go to the hospital. Stimulants should be given and if not retained injected per rectum, artificial respiration and keep the patient quiet and lying down.

Just don’t eat this, it’s poisonous.

This is another Ranunculaceae and has a third common name which stems from the historical administrators or cultivators of this herb. It is symbolic of their habit and the flowers. Bonus points for Latin name or common name!

#aconitum #Poisonous #wolfsbane



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