The word Aconitum comes from the word "akone," meaning "rocky," which is the type of area where the aconite plant grows. Cured aconite preparations have a long history of use in Chinese medicine. Processed aconite was used to treat heart failure and other heart diseases. However, aconite has been repeatedly associated with cardiovascular (heart) adverse events. For this reason, the German Commission E does not recommend its use.
Aconite is well known for its extreme toxicity. The tuberous root is used in traditional medicine, although all parts of the plant are considered to be toxic. Aconite also has a near worldwide historical usage as an arrow poison and as a poison in executions, homicides, and suicides. Aconite is also said to be an ingredient of "flying ointments" used by witches to imitate the sensation of flying.
Aconite has been used in very low doses to treat neuralgia (nerve pain), sciatica, and rheumatism. Aconite is also an ingredient in homeopathic preparations used for cold and flu symptoms, heart palpitations with anxiety, acute inflammatory illness, and peripheral nerve pain. Overall, the efficacy has not been established.
Acetylbenzoylaconin, aconite root, aconiti frus, Aconiti Herba, aconiti lateralis preparata, aconiti tuber, aconitine, aconitknollen, aconito, Aconitum angustius, Aconitum anthoroideum, Aconitumartemisiifolium, Aconitum austroyunnanense, Aconitum balfourii, Aconitum barbatum, Aconitumbrachypodum, Aconitum brunneum, Aconitum carmichaelii, Aconitum chasmanthum, Aconitumchilienshanicum, Aconitum columbianum, Aconitum coreanum, Aconitum episcopale, Aconitumferox, Aconitum flavum, Aconitum gymnandrum, Aconitum hemsleyanum, Aconitum japonicum, Aconitum karakolicum, Aconitum kongboense, Aconitum kusnezoffii, Aconitum longilobum, Aconitum moldavicum, Aconitum nagarum, Aconitum napellus, Aconitum naviculare, Aconitum ouvrardianum, Aconitum paniculigerum, Aconitum pendulum, Aconitum polyschistum, Aconitum pomeense, Aconitum pterocaule, Aconitum racemulosum, Aconitum richardsonianum, Aconitum rotundifolium, Aconitum scaposum, Aconitum sczukinii, Aconitum sessiliflorum, Aconitum sinomantanum Nakai, Aconitum soongaricum, Aconitum spicatum, Aconitum stylosum, Aconitum sungpanense, Aconitum taipeicum, Aconitum tanguticum, Aconitum transectum, Aconitum uncinatum, Aconitum vilmorinianum, Aconitum vulparia, autumn monkshood, bachnag, bear's foot, bikh, bikhroot, bish, bishma, blauer eisenhut, blue monkshood, blue monkshood herb, blue monkshood root, blue rocket, brute killer, bushi, cao wu (Chinese), chan-wu (Chinese), ch'uan wu (Chinese), cuanwu (Chinese), dudhia bish (Indian), eisenhutknollen (German), friar's cap, friar's cowl, fuchswurz (German), fu-tzu (Chinese), fu zi (Chinese), garden monkshood, garden wolfsbane (German), giftwurzel (German), helmet flower, higenamine, house bane, hsüeh shang i chih hao (Chinese), Indian aconite, kako-bushi (Japanese), kuan pai fu (Chinese), lang tu (Chinese), leopard killer, mithazahar (Indian), moenchswurz (German), monkshood, monkshood herb, monkshood root, monkshood tuber, monnikskap, monsebane, mouse-bane, mousebane, old wife's hood, pao-fuzi (Japanese), racine d'aconit (French), soldier's cap, storkjelm (German), sturmhutknollen (German), teufelswurz (German), Turk's cap, ts'ao wu (Chinese), venusvogn (Danish), visha, wolfbane, wolf's bane, wolfsbane, wolfshbone, wolfswurzel (German), wu hui (Chinese), wu t'ou (Chinese).
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
The toxic effects associated with aconite limit its ability to be used to treat heart failure, including reno-cardiovascular disease and left ventricular function. Further study is needed to confirm these results.
Post-operative pain (in infants)
There is limited data on the use of aconite or any of its derivatives in treating pain. Homeopathic aconite may help relieve postoperative agitation, but further information is needed to confirm these results.
Arrhythmia (abnormal heart rhythms)
The toxic effects associated with aconitine (a poisonous alkaloid and the active principle of aconite) limit its ability to be used to treat bradycardia (slow heartbeat). Additional study is needed in this area to make a strong recommendation.