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NEW! Aconite (aconite napellus)


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The seeds are dormant and do not germinate readily. Seeds dormancy is a survival mechanism common to many wild plants. that ensures germination occurs only when the conditions are favourable.

A deadly poison that epitomises the homeopathic principle, writes Keith Souter

Aconite is one of our oldest remedies, having been one of the substances proved by Samuel Hahnemann and described in the first volume of his landmark text, the Materia Medica Pura. The homeopathic remedy is prepared from the whole fresh plant as it comes into flower. Hahnemann saw it as being a short-acting remedy that was very valuable in acute inflammatory and sometimes life-threatening conditions. James Tyler Kent also took this view and said that it is “a short-acting remedy. Its symptoms do not last long… There are no chronic diseases following it.” Since then many homeopathic texts have boldly stated that it is only an acute remedy. Well, I believe that it is indeed a great acute remedy, but it may also have a place in chronic cases, when patients have sustained, and never recovered from a major shock. Essentially, I would describe it as a great acute remedy, but also as a “blocked shock” remedy.

A distinctly shady and poisonous plant
Aconitum napellus is a member of the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. This very important family of plants also gives us the remedies Cimicifuga, Helleborus, Hydrastis, Paeonia, Pulsa­tilla, Ranunculus and Staphysagria.

The plant grows in damp and shady areas, to a height of about three or four feet. It has a spindle-shaped root that has a superficial resemblance to the root of the horseradish. The stem grows straight with glossy, dark green leaves which are deeply cleft in a palmate man­ner. The clusters of dark blue flowers with purple sepals give it some of its common names – monkshood, friar’s cap, mourning bride and auld wife’s huid. Impressive though the hood-like flowers are, there is something vaguely sinister about them, as if they mask or hood a deadly secret. That secret, quite simply, is that it is Britain’s most poisonous plant. Death hovers about it.

There are in the region of 100 species of aconitum, which grow in shady mountainous grassland or scrub in the northern hemisphere. Another species, Aconitum lycotonum also has an extreme­ly shady reputation. This is the plant known as wolfsbane, which was in days gone by used to kill wolves by baiting meat with it. It was also associated in folk legends with werewolves and lycan­thropy.

 British Homeopathic Society.