Aconite Uses

Overview

Aconite, also known as devil's helmet, wolf's bane, monkshood or blue rocket, is an herb perennial found wild in mostly mountainous areas. Characterized by its blue triangular-shaped flowers, aconite grows best in soil that retains water while still draining, such as the banks of moving creeks. Aconite is highly poisonous. While once used in many homeopathic and medicinal purposes, today it is advised to never ingest it or touch it without your skin covered. Still, many gardeners covet it for its striking beauty, and even more authors refer to its deadly properties in their work.

Growing Aconite

Step 1

Aconite can grow up to four feet tall, so placement in garden spaces must be in the back of garden beds or along borders like fences or walls. Soil must stay cool and moist, and some shade will work best. As this plant is highly poisonous, make sure it is kept out of the path of pets and children.

Step 2

Dig your hole twice the size of the root structure of your plant, making sure that your hole is full of loose dirt and organic materials such as leaves. It is extremely important to wear gloves when handling the plant or the roots. Even the leaves are highly toxic, and the poison can absorb through your skin.

Step 3

Stake your plants, as they grow quickly and need support in the wet soil conditions.

Tips and Warnings

  • In centuries past, aconite was used to treat everything from heart problems and pain to diarrhea and toothaches. Simply touching the root to the skin leaves it numb and tingly. It was also used as a topical cream ingredient for itchiness and as a poison tip for darts. Today, it may be found in very small doses in ancient Chinese medicinal practices but is highly discouraged from use. If you are growing aconite, it is imperative that you wear gloves. The sap from just a few leaves absorbed into your skin is enough to cause cardiac symptoms in only a few hours. Aconite exposure causes extreme numbness that travels up the limb to the heart. Ingesting the poison will lead to numbness, dizziness, and burning and tingling in the mouth and face. As recently as 2004, actor Andre Noble died from accidentally consuming aconite on a camping trip.

Things You'll Need

  • Moist, shady location
  • Spade
  • Gloves
  • stakes

References

  • How to Grow Aconite
  • Aconite
  • Andre Noble Biography

Who Can Help

  • Aconite Poisoning
Keywords: aconite, wolf's bane, monkshood, how to grow aconite

About this Author

Bobbi Keffer attended Kent State University to study education but soon found her true love to be in the garden. She prides herself on her frugal skills reusing, recycling and reinventing her whimsical style in her home and garden.