Herb latin name: Aconitum heterophyllum


Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



Medicinal use of Aconitum heterophyllum:

The dried root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhoea and coughs. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines. The root is best harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down and is dried for later use. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in forests, 2300 - 2900 metres.

Edible parts of Aconitum heterophyllum:

Leaves and root - cooked. This report should be treated with great distrust due to the poisonous nature of the genus, but see the notes above on known hazards.

Propagation of the herb:

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 Aconitum heterophyllum:

Usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones, and in forests, 2300 - 2900 metres.

Known hazards of Aconitum heterophyllum:

The whole plant is highly toxic - simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people. One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.