Common Name of Aconite
Aconite is also known as Mitha zahar, Bish, Nikh, Monkshood, wolf’s-bane, leopard’s bane, mousebane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, or blue rocket,
- Among Indian species Aconitum chasmanthum is the chief source of aconite.
- It is largely used as medicine.
- It is Perennial plant with deeply cut leaves and long spikes of deep blue color flowers, with on upright downy stalks.
- The upper sepal of flower resembles a hood or helmet or cowl, hence the common name monkshood.
- The root is stout and dark, conical and shows scars of broken rootlets, shriveled with longitudinal wrinkles.
- The root is about 5 to 10 cm long and 1.5 to 2 cm thick at upper end.
- The root may resemble horseradish root. However, horseradish root is cylindrical and pungent.
Toxic Parts of Aconite
- Root (more toxic)
- Seeds and Foliage
Toxic Principles of Aconite
- 1 to 2 gm of root
- 3 to 5 mg of aconitine
2 to 6 hours
Mode of Action
- Aconitine acts on nerve axons by opening sodiumchannels. It also inhibits complete repolarization of the membrane of myocardial tissue causing repetitive firing.
- It stimulates vagal medullary center.
- Metabolism of aconitum alkaloids is mainly carried out by the enzyme esterase.
- Aconitine is converted into benzoyaconine through hydrolysis in C-8 position and into aconine.
Sign and Symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Tingling and numbness in mouth and lips
- Ventricular ectopics
- Blurring of vision, hippus, mydriasis, xanthopsia
- Gastric lavage with activated charcoal
- Benzodiazepines for convulsions
- Symptomatic treatment.
- No specific findings
- Organs are congested.
- Aconite is considered as near ideal homicidal poison, as it is sweet in taste and can easily be given with pan or other foodstuff.
- Suicide cases poisoning.
- Accidental poisoning may occur due to mistaken with horseradish. On cut section, aconite appears pink whereas horseradish appears white.
- Root used to procure abortion.
- Arrow poison
- Cattle poison
- Aconite gets easily destroyed by decomposition and may not be detected in chemical analysis.