ACONITE

OTHER NAME(S):

Aconit, Aconiti Tuber, Acónito, Aconitum, Aconitum Angustifolium, Aconitum napellus, Aconitum carmichaeli, Aconitum kusnezoffi, Atis, Ativisha, Autumn Monkshood, Bachnag, Bikhma, Blue Monkshood Root, Caowu, Chuanwu, Chuan-wu, Fu Zi, Futzu, Helmet Flower, Monkshood, Monkshood Tuber, Prativisha, Radix Aconiti, Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii, Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata, Vachnag, Vatsnabh, Visha, Wild Aconitum, Wolfsbane, Wutou.<br/><br/>

Overview

Overview Information

Aconite is a plant. The root is used as medicine. However, aconite contains some poisonous chemicals. In Hong Kong, aconite is the most common cause of severe poisoning from herbs. In Asia, toxicity is usually related to the use of aconite in traditional medicines. In western countries, aconite poisoning is usually associated with consuming the plant.

Despite serious concerns about safety, some people take aconite by mouth for facial paralysis, joint pain, gout, finger numbness, cold hands and feet, inflammation, painful breathing and fluid in the space surrounding the lungs (pleurisy), certain heart problems (pericarditis sicca), fever, skin diseases, and hair loss. Aconite is also used as a disinfectant, to treat wounds, and to promote sweating.

Some people apply aconite to the skin in liniment as a “counterirritant” for treating facial pain, joint pain, and leg pain (sciatica).

How does it work?

Aconite root contains chemicals that may improve circulation, but it also contains chemicals that can seriously harm the heart, muscles, and nerves.

Uses

Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Heart failture. Early research suggests that taking 1000 mg of aconite daily for up to 7 months might improve heart and kidney function in people with heart failure.
  • Feeling of coldness. Early research shows that taking aconite together with other herbs might improve feelings of coldness in the hands and feet.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Facial paralysis.
  • Joint pain.
  • Gout.
  • Inflammation.
  • Wounds.
  • Heart problems.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of aconite for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

Do not use aconite. Aconite root is UNSAFE when taken by mouth. All species of the plant are dangerous, and so are processed products. Aconite contains a strong, fast-acting poison that causes severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, weakness or inability to move, sweating, breathing problems, heart problems, and death.

Some people use aconite in a cream or lotion that is applied to the skin. This practice is also dangerous. The poisons in aconite can be absorbed through the skin, causing severe side effects.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not take aconite by mouth or apply it to your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is UNSAFE and can cause serious side effects, including death.

Interactions

Interactions?

We currently have no information for ACONITE Interactions.

Dosing

Dosing

The appropriate dose of aconite depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for aconite. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References

REFERENCES:

  • Agarwal, B. L., Agarwal, R. K., and Misra, D. N. Malignant Arrhythmias Induced by Accidental Aconite Poisoning. Indian Heart J 1977;29(5):246-248. View abstract.
  • Alibeu, J. P. and Jobert, J. [Aconite in homeopathic relief of post-operative pain and agitation in children]. Pediatrie. 1990;45(7-8):465-466. View abstract.
  • Beals-Becker L. Aconite - Arnica for the eyes. Alt-Health Watch 1996;16(1):19.
  • Bisset, N. G. Arrow poisons in China. Part II. Aconitum--botany, chemistry, and pharmacology. J Ethnopharmacol. 1981;4(3):247-336. View abstract.
  • Bisset, N. G. One man's poison, another man's medicine? J.Ethnopharmacol. 1991;32(1-3):71-81. View abstract.
  • Chan, T. Y. and Critchley, J. A. Usage and adverse effects of Chinese herbal medicines. Hum.Exp.Toxicol. 1996;15(1):5-12. View abstract.
  • Chan, T. Y. Incidence of herb-induced aconitine poisoning in Hong Kong: impact of publicity measures to promote awareness among the herbalists and the public. Drug Saf 2002;25(11):823-828. View abstract.
  • Chan, T. Y., Tomlinson, B., Chan, W. W., Yeung, V. T., and Tse, L. K. A case of acute aconitine poisoning caused by chuanwu and caowu. J Trop.Med Hyg. 1993;96(1):62-63. View abstract.
  • Chan, T. Y., Tomlinson, B., Critchley, J. A., and Cockram, C. S. Herb-induced aconitine poisoning presenting as tetraplegia. Vet.Hum.Toxicol. 1994;36(2):133-134. View abstract.
  • Chan, W. Y., Ng, T. B., Lu, J. L., Cao, Y. X., Wang, M. Z., and Liu, W. K. Effects of decoctions prepared from Aconitum carmichaeli, Aconitum kusnezoffii and Tripterygium wilfordii on serum lactate dehydrogenase activity and histology of liver, kidney, heart and gonad in mice. Hum.Exp.Toxicol. 1995;14(6):489-493. View abstract.
  • Chen, H. C., Hsieh, M. T., Chang, S. S., and Liu, S. L. Long-term reno-cardiovascular effects of orally administered aconiti tuber in humans. Am J Chin Med 1990;18(1-2):25-33. View abstract.
  • Dickens, P., Tai, Y. T., But, P. P., Tomlinson, B., Ng, H. K., and Yan, K. W. Fatal accidental aconitine poisoning following ingestion of Chinese herbal medicine: a report of two cases. Forensic Sci Int 6-28-1994;67(1):55-58. View abstract.
  • Ernst, E. Cardiovascular adverse effects of herbal medicines: a systematic review of the recent literature. Can.J.Cardiol. 2003;19(7):818-827. View abstract.
  • FFRENCH, G. Aconitine-induced cardiac arrhythmia. Br Heart J 1958;20(1):140-142. View abstract.
  • FIDDES, F. S. Poisoning by aconitine; report of two cases. Br Med J 9-27-1958;46(5099):779-780. View abstract.
  • Fitzpatrick, A. J., Crawford, M., Allan, R. M., and Wolfenden, H. Aconite poisoning managed with a ventricular assist device. Anaesth.Intensive Care 1994;22(6):714-717. View abstract.
  • Gaibazzi, N., Gelmini, G. P., Montresor, G., Canel, D., Comini, T., Fracalossi, C., Martinetti, C., Poeta, M. L., and Ziacchi, V. [Long QRS tachycardia secondary to Aconitum napellus alkaloid ingestion]. Ital.Heart J.Suppl 2002;3(8):874-877. View abstract.
  • Gizamullin, KhG, Tubin, A. I., Erem'iants, A. M., Pukach, L. P., and Khokhon'ko, E. A. [Clinical course and treatment of aconite tincture poisoning]. Klin.Med.(Mosk) 1976;54(10):124-127. View abstract.
  • GOTO, M., TAMAI, T., and YANAGA, T. Studies on the appearance and termination of aconitine-induced atrial fibrillation with microelectrodes. Jpn.J.Physiol 4-15-1963;13:196-207. View abstract.
  • Guha, S., Dawn, B., Dutta, G., Chakraborty, T., and Pain, S. Bradycardia, reversible panconduction defect and syncope following self-medication with a homeopathic medicine. Cardiology 1999;91(4):268-271. View abstract.
  • Hartung EF. A case of aconitine poisoning causing cardiac collapse. JAMA 1930;95:1265.
  • Hikino, H., Konno, C., Takata, H., Yamada, Y., Yamada, C., Ohizumi, Y., Sugio, K., and Fujimura, H. Antiinflammatory principles of Aconitum roots. J Pharmacobiodyn. 1980;3(10):514-525. View abstract.
  • Hikino, H., Takata, H., Fujiwara, M., Konno, C., and Ohuchi, K. Mechanism of inhibitory action of mesaconitine in acute inflammations. Eur.J Pharmacol. 8-13-1982;82(1-2):65-71. View abstract.
  • Imazio, M., Belli, R., Pomari, F., Cecchi, E., Chinaglia, A., Gaschino, G., Ghisio, A., Trinchero, R., and Brusca, A. Malignant ventricular arrhythmias due to Aconitum napellus seeds. Circulation 12-5-2000;102(23):2907-2908. View abstract.
  • Kapoor, S. C. and Sen, A. K. Cardiovascular aspects of aconite poisoning in human beings. Indian Heart J. 1969;21(3):329-338. View abstract.
  • Kelly, S. P. Aconite poisoning. Med.J.Aust. 10-15-1990;153(8):499. View abstract.
  • Kim, S. H., Kim, S. D., Kim, S. Y., and Kwak, J. S. Myelo-optic neuropathy caused by aconitine in rabbit model. Jpn.J Ophthalmol. 1991;35(4):417-427. View abstract.
  • Kimura, I., Chui, L. H., Fujitani, K., Kikuchi, T., and Kimura, M. Inotropic effects of (+/-)-higenamine and its chemically related components, (+)-R-coclaurine and (+)-S-reticuline, contained in the traditional sino-Japanese medicines "bushi" and "shin-i" in isolated guinea pig papillary muscle. Jpn.J Pharmacol. 1989;50(1):75-78. View abstract.
  • Kimura, I., Makino, M., Honda, R., Ma, J., and Kimura, M. Expression of major histocompatibility complex in mouse peritoneal macrophages increasingly depends on plasma corticosterone levels: stimulation by aconitine. Biol.Pharm.Bull. 1995;18(11):1504-1508. View abstract.
  • Kimura, I., Takada, M., and Nojima, H. Aconitine induces bradycardia through a transmission pathway including the anterior hypothalamus in conscious mice. Biol.Pharm Bull. 1997;20(8):856-860. View abstract.
  • Kimura, M., Muroi, M., Kimura, I., Sakai, S., and Kitagawa, I. Hypaconitine, the dominant constituent responsible for the neuromuscular blocking action of the Japanese-sino medicine "bushi" (aconite root). Jpn.J.Pharmacol. 1988;48(2):290-293. View abstract.
  • Konno, C., Murayama, M., Sugiyama, K., Arai, M., Murakami, M., Takahashi, M., and Hikino, H. Isolation and hypoglycemic activity of aconitans A, B, C and D, glycans of Aconitum carmichaeli roots. Planta Med 1985;(2):160-161. View abstract.
  • Kuropov, A. I., Konnova, M. P., Moskovskaia, T. M., and Krasovskaia, S. N. [Case of poisoning with aconite tincture]. Klin.Med.(Mosk) 1983;61(6):90-92. View abstract.
  • Leshchenko, M. I. and Lopamin, A. I. [2 cases of acute peroral poisoning with aconite]. Klin.Med.(Mosk) 1975;53(9):119-121. View abstract.
  • Lin, C. C., Chou, H. L., and Lin, J. L. Acute aconitine poisoned patients with ventricular arrhythmias successfully reversed by charcoal hemoperfusion. Am J Emerg.Med 2002;20(1):66-67. View abstract.
  • Liu, X. J., Wagner, H. N., Jr., and Tao, S. Measurement of effects of the Chinese herbal medicine higenamine on left ventricular function using a cardiac probe. Eur.J Nucl.Med 1983;8(6):233-236. View abstract.
  • Lowe, L., Matteucci, M. J., and Schneir, A. B. Herbal aconite tea and refractory ventricular tachycardia. N.Engl.J Med 10-6-2005;353(14):1532. View abstract.
  • Mack, R. B. Play it again, Voltaire--aconite (Monkshood) poisoning. N.C.Med.J. 1985;46(10):518-519. View abstract.
  • Martens, P. R. and Vandevelde, K. A near lethal case of combined strychnine and aconitine poisoning. J Toxicol.Clin Toxicol. 1993;31(1):133-138. View abstract.
  • Matsuda K, Hoshi T, and Kameyama S. Effects of aconitine on the cardiac membrane potential of the dog. JapanJ Physiol 1959;9:419-429.
  • MERCHANT, H. C., CHOKSI, N. D., RAMAMOORTHY, K., PARIHAR, L. M., and SHIKARIPURKAR, N. K. ACONITE POISONING AND CARDIAC ARRHYTHMIAS: REPORT OF 3 CASES. Indian J.Med.Sci. 1963;17:857-865. View abstract.
  • Mizugaki, M., Ito, K., Ohyama, Y., Konishi, Y., Tanaka, S., and Kurasawa, K. Quantitative analysis of Aconitum alkaloids in the urine and serum of a male attempting suicide by oral intake of aconite extract. J.Anal.Toxicol. 1998;22(4):336-340. View abstract.
  • Mori, A., Mukaida, M., Ishiyama, I., Hori, J., Okada, Y., Sasaki, M., Mii, K., and Mizugaki, M. [Homicidal poisoning by aconite: report of a case from the viewpoint of clinical forensic medicine]. Nippon Hoigaku Zasshi 1990;44(4):352-357. View abstract.
  • Murayama, M. and Hikino, H. Stimulating actions on ribonucleic acid biosynthesis of aconitines, diterpenic alkaloids of Aconitum roots. J Ethnopharmacol. 1984;12(1):25-33. View abstract.
  • Nicolas, G., Desjars, P. H., Godin, J. F., and Rozo, L. [Accidental intoxication with aconitine (author's transl)]. Toxicol.Eur.Res 1978;1(1):45-49. View abstract.
  • Perlman, R. and Guideri, G. Cardiovascular changes produced by the injection of aconitine at the area of the locus coeruleus in unanesthetized rats. Arch Int Pharmacodyn.Ther. 1984;268(2):202-215. View abstract.
  • Saito, H., Ueyama, T., Naka, N., Yagi, J., and Okamoto, T. Pharmacological studies of ignavine, an aconitum alkaloid. Chem.Pharm Bull.(Tokyo) 1982;30(5):1844-1850. View abstract.
  • Smith, S. W., Shah, R. R., Hunt, J. L., and Herzog, C. A. Bidirectional ventricular tachycardia resulting from herbal aconite poisoning. Ann.Emerg.Med. 2005;45(1):100-101. View abstract.
  • Sorensen, B. [Poisoning with Aconitum napellus (monkshood)]. Ugeskr.Laeger 5-12-2003;165(20):2109-2110. View abstract.
  • Suk, K. D., Yoon, K. C., Shin, J. P., and Kim, S. H. Aconite induced myelo-optic neuropathy in a rabbit model. Korean J Ophthalmol. 1994;8(2):77-82. View abstract.
  • Tai, Y. T., Lau, C. P., But, P. P., Fong, P. C., and Li, J. P. Bidirectional tachycardia induced by herbal aconite poisoning. Pacing Clin.Electrophysiol. 1992;15(5):831-839. View abstract.
  • Telang, B. V. and Ng'ang'a, J. N. Involvement of Central adrenergic mechanisms in the induction of cardiac arrhythmias by aconitine nitrate administered intraventricularly. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1975;19(1):1-10. View abstract.
  • Toibaeva GM, Birtanov YA, and Birtanov AB. Acute aconite poisonings: a review of 219 cases. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 2001;39(3):302.
  • Yoshioka, N., Gonmori, K., Tagashira, A., Boonhooi, O., Hayashi, M., Saito, Y., and Mizugaki, M. A case of aconitine poisoning with analysis of aconitine alkaloids by GC/SIM. Forensic Sci.Int. 8-15-1996;81(2-3):117-123. View abstract.
  • Zheng, P. and Yang, Y. R. [Site of analgesic action of aconitine and the relation between its action and the central noradrenergic system]. Zhongguo Yao Li Xue.Bao. 1988;9(6):481-485. View abstract.
  • Zhou, Y. P., Liu, W. H., Zeng, G. Y., Chen, D. H., Li, H. Y., and Song, W. L. [The toxicity of aconitine and its analogs and their effects on cardiac contractile function]. Yao Xue.Xue.Bao. 1984;19(9):641-646. View abstract.
  • Bao YX, Yu GR, Xu JM, et al. Effect of acute higenamine administration on bradyarrhythmias and HIS bundle. A clinical study of 14 cases and animal experiment on dogs. Chin Med J 1982;95:781-4. View abstract.
  • But PP, Tai YT, Young K. Three fatal cases of herbal aconite poisoning. Vet Hum Toxicol 1994;36:212-5. View abstract.
  • Chan TY, Tomlinson B, Critchley JA. Aconitine poisoning following the ingestion of Chinese herbal medicines: a report of eight cases. Aust N Z J Med 1993;23:268-71. View abstract.
  • Fatovich DM. Aconite: a lethal Chinese herb. Ann Emerg Med 1992;21:309-11. View abstract.
  • Feldkamp A, Koster B, Weber HP. [Fatal poisoning caused by aconite monk's hood]. Monatsschr Kinderheilkd 1991;139:366-7. View abstract.
  • Lin CC, Chan TY, Deng JF. Clinical features and management of herb-induced aconitine poisoning. Ann Emerg Med 2004;43:574-9. View abstract.
  • Lininger S. The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Health. Rocklin, CA: 1998.
  • Poon WT, Lai CK, Ching CK, et al. Aconite poisoning in camouflage. Hong Kong Med J 2006;12:456-9. View abstract.
  • Tai YT, But PP, Young K, et al. Cardiotoxicity after accidental herb-induced aconite poisoning. Lancet 1992;340:1254-6. View abstract.
  • Tai YT. Adverse effects from traditional Chinese medicine. Lancet 1993;341:892.
  • Tomlinson B, Chan TY, Chan JC, Critchley JA. Herb-induced aconite poisoning. Lancet 1993;341:370-1. . View abstract.
  • Yamada K, Suzuki E, Nakaki T, et al. Aconiti tuber increases plasma nitrite and nitrate levels in humans. J Ethnopharmacol. 2005;96:165-9. View abstract.
  • Yeih DF, Chiang FT, Huang SKS. Successful treatment of aconitine induced life threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmia with amiodarone. Heart 2000;84:E8. View abstract.
  • Yoshioka N, Gonmori K, Tagashira A, et al. A case of aconitine poisoning with analysis of aconitine alkaloids by GC/SIM. Forensic Sci Int. 1996 Aug 15;81(2-3):117-23. View abstract.

More Resources for ACONITE

CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.