Aconite - Toxic or Medicinal?

Greek legends tell of aconite being grown on the hills where the three headed dog that guarded the entrance to Hades stood. The same hill that Hercules fought the famous mythical battle with Cerberus. The plant grew toxic by the saliva falling from the raging dog's mouth. It is also been called a love poison that according to legend, women who were given aconite from birth could poison others from mere sexual contact. During the Middle Ages it was thought that witches mixed potions with aconite and belladonna to help them fly.

The legend holds some truth. The plant is highly toxic and does have a definite psychological effect. So the answer is toxic.

But if the herb aconite is toxic and poisonous why do so many modern herbalist and homeopathic physicians use the herb?

Despite being poisonous the herb does have medicinal value. But because of the toxicity which can actually make a person suffocate from external application, only a specialized and trained homeopathic physician should use aconite in any form.

The plant is only originally from the mountains of France, Switzerland, and Germany. Today it is cultivated in many gardens as people do not realize the danger of the herb. It is a pretty flower that comes in violet-blue to white and mauve varieties. The petals are shaped in the form of helmet and can grow as long as 6 inches making the up to four foot high plant interesting in a flower garden.

Aconite slows the heart down and decreases blood pressure even in tiny amounts. The juice derived from the plant applied to an open wound or scratch can not only cause pain in the limb it is touched against but can cause syncope. Homeopathic physicians have found that the root of the plant used in liniments can relieve rheumatic and neuralgic pains. However since the therapeutic dose is so close to the toxic dose, only a trained physician should prepare.

There lies a danger with this plant as the leaves can be mistaken for wild parsley. Unless you are positive of the plant, it is safer to either grow your own parsley or buy it at a natural food store.

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