Very common in the mountain areas of Europe, North America and Asia, theaconite for a long time it was the protagonist of some practices used and suggested by the various folk medicines. It was used, and perhaps still is, in some religious and shamanic rites. To tell the truth, there was a period in which this plant was also used by traditional medicine, in particular for treatment of pains of neuralgic origin. Then he stopped, we will see shortly why.
The correct, complete and scientific name is "Aconitum napellus" but they all call it aconito napello or directly aconite. It is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Ranuncolaceae family. Its features are pleasant and you would not think it is one toxic plant, it undoubtedly has a deceptive aspect, no doubt about it. Here, however, it is immediately explained why this plant has no longer been used by traditional medicine, considering that the benefits brought were not worthwhile. risk intoxication. Today we find aconite used only in the homeopathic field, with not one but several applications.
The toxic effects on the level of the heart and nervous system they are mainly due to aconitine, mesaconitin and ipaconitine, but it seems that all the aconite alkaloids are toxic.
In particular, aconitine is an alkaloid that increases the permeability of cell membranes for sodium ions and thus delays their repolarization. This is why in the first place there is a stimulating effect which is then followed by paralysis both of the peripheral nerve endings and of the central nervous system. As for the toxic effects on the heart, we can divide them into those for low doses and those for higher doses. In the first case they have bradycardia problems and hypotension, in the second case, with high doses, it begins with tachycardia and ends with cardiac arrest.
Aconitine is considered extremely toxic, the lethal dose for humans it is just 3-6 mg, corresponding to about 3-4 grams of fresh tuber. Very few, that's why you can't mess with the aconitus and it's better to stay away. Do you think that the second most active plant poison in the world is considered a plant, the first if you really want to know it, would be the nepalina. It is an alkaloid contained in another species of aconite, the Ferox of Nepal, but not in Napello.
Herbaceous and perennial plant, theaconite it also reaches considerable heights, we can find specimens one and a half meters high even if much more often it remains one meter or a little less tall. Its stems sprout broad palmate leaves, alternating and variously engraved. In the summer, or in late spring, flowers are also sprouting, pedunculated and blue-purple in the case of the napel while in other species the color may vary, turning also towards yellow. The part of the stem that we do not see is a fusiform tuberous rhizome and the roots are secondary to rhizome.
Aconite: traditional medicine
Today it is not used in the traditional medicine but in the past it was, let's see in what contexts. It was used topically, for example for treatment of rheumatic pains, but the most frequent cases of use concern trigeminal neuralgia. It seems that the aconitus was able to relieve painful stimuli by giving a burning and tingling sensation, caused by the initial stimulating action exerted by the same aconitine.
When it was found that this plant had gods toxic principles which could be absorbed transcutaneously, it was decided to ban aconite preparations unless they were left on the skin for only a short time. But woe to apply them on injured skin. In the end, with the passing of the years it was decided to definitively and completely abandon the use of this plant despite its effects. It was decided that it was not worth the risk. It remained in use only in the homeopathic field.
As is known, when it comes to homeopathy we talk about preparations in which theactive ingredient it is present but in an extremely diluted way. There are therefore remedies obtained from the mother tincture, non-poisonous, in our case from the mother tincture of fresh napello aconito, harvested at the end of the flowering period.
Today we can find on the market homeopathic preparations based on aconite, they can be advised to us if we have pains of nervous origin, acute inflammatory diseases and heart palpitations associated with anxiety. As we have mentioned, aconite was also used in folk medicine, primarily for the treatment of neuralgic pains but also for muscular ones, as well as for skin inflammations.
And in the shamanic rites? Also in this case it was used in abundance, in various ointments and potions such as the elixir of youth and the truth serum. For those who believe in it ...
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