- Aconite (Aconitum Napellus):
- translation: cliff or rocky, or Aconae, its supposed place of origin; little turnip, in allusion to the shape of the roots.
synonyms: Wolfsbane, Monkshood, Helmet Flower, Mourning Bride, Blue Rocket, Thor's Hat, Soldier's Cap, Friar's Cap, Auld Wife's Huid.
definition: misanthropy; treachery; deciet; a deadly foe is near; chivalry; knight-errantry.
First called thung, a general name for a poisonous plant, in Anglo-Saxon vocabularies, later it gained the name Aconite. It was given the name Wolf's Bane because of the idea that arrows tipped with the juice, or baits annointed with it, would kill wolves. In the Middle Ages it became known as Monkshood and Helmet Flower, from the shape of the flower, Monkshood was the ordinary name in Shakespeare's time. Aconite is applied topically on the skin to diminish the pain of neuralgia, lumbago and rheumatism. Internally, Aconite diminishes the rate and force of the pulse in the early stages of fever and slight local inflammations. It relieves the pain of neuralgia, pleurisy and aneurism. It has been used with success in cardiac failure and its prevention, and is also a treatment for acute tonsillitis. Symptoms of poisoning include tingling, a sensation of ants crawling over the body, a numbness of tongue and mouth, nausea and vomiting, laboured breathing, irregular and weak pulse, and cold and clammy skin. The juice applied to a wounded finger affects the whole system, not only causing pains in the limbs, but a sense of suffocation and syncope. Aconite is said to be the invention of Hecate from the foam of Cerberus. Aconite is also supposed to have been the poison Medea prepared for Theseus. Aconite and Belladonna were said to be the ingredients in the witches' “Flying ointments,” Aconite causing irregular activity to the heart, and Belladonna producing delirium, to combine to give a sensation of flying. Aconite is one of the four classic poisons, along with Deadly Nightshade, Hemlock, and Hellebore.
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