Herb: Japanese Aconite


Latin name: Aconitum carmichaelii


Synonyms: Aconitum carmichaeli, Aconitum fischeri


Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



Medicinal use of Japanese Aconite:

A widely used herbal remedy in China, where it is cultivated for its root. This is harvested in the autumn as the plant dies down and is then dried before being used. The root is anaesthetic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, cardiotonic, stimulant and vasodilator. It is used in the treatment of shock and collapse, chronic diseases with symptoms of cold, gastralgia and rheumatic arthralgia, oedema and diarrhoea due to hypofunction of the spleen and kidney. Use with great caution, the plant is very poisonous and should not be used internally unless under the direction of a qualified practitioner. Overdoses lead to numbness of the tongue, lips and extremities, nausea, vomiting, irritability and coma.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Forest margins, scrub, grassy slopes and mountains at elevations of 100 - 2200 metres.

Propagation of Japanese Aconite:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division - best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year.

Cultivation of the herb:

Forest margins, scrub, grassy slopes and mountains at elevations of 100 - 2200 metres.

Known hazards of Aconitum carmichaelii:

The whole plant is highly toxic - simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.