(Aconitum heterophyllum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Aconitum heterophyllum
Ranunculaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The dried root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, febrifuge and tonic[4, 240]. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhoea and coughs[240, 243]. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency[241]. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines[241].

    The root is best harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down and is dried for later use[4]. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.

  • Edible Use

    Leaves and root – cooked[177]. This report should be treated with great distrust due to the poisonous nature of the genus, but see the notes above on known hazards[K].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The whole plant is highly toxic - simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people[1]. One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous[4]. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid[4].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[111]. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate[133]. 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[1, 111]. 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[233].
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade[200]. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands[1, 4]. The roots of this plant are extensively collected from the wild for medicinal use and the species is becoming much rarer in many areas of its range[272]. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer[233]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes[54].
E. Asia – W. Himalayas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.