Aconite Monkshood (Aconitum napellus), also known as Wolfsbane is a herbaceous perennial plant that is chiefly native to the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere, growing in moisture-retentive but well-draining soils on mountain meadows. It is one of the more significant drugs of antiquity," bright purple, with hood-shaped flowers protecting profusely productive nectaries.
This plant, while beautiful, must be used with caution in practice. It is known to be used in spells for protection and invisibility. One source shares that the leaves or root can be used to make an infusion to banish prior energy from athames and to infuse it with protection. This practice can be refreshed by gathering fresh flowers and making a tincture with them.
Toxicity: The entire plant, including root, herb, and seed, is toxic if taken in sufficient dosage. Marked symptoms may appear almost immediately, usually not later than one hour, and "with death occurring instantly with a large enough dose." Death usually, otherwise, occurs within 2 to 6 hours in fatal poisoning (20 to 40 mL of tincture may prove fatal). The initial signs are gastrointestinal, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen. In severe poisonings, pronounced motor weakness occurs, and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. The leading causes of death usually are paralysis of the heart or the respiratory center. The only post-mortem signs are those of asphyxia. Treatment of poisoning is mainly supportive. All patients require close monitoring of blood pressure and cardiac rhythm. Poisoning may occur following picking the leaves without wearing gloves; the aconitine toxin is absorbed easily through the skin. In this event, there will be no gastrointestinal effects. Tingling will start at the point of absorption and extend up the arm to the shoulder, after which the heart will begin to be affected. The tingling will be followed by unpleasant numbness. Treatment is similar to poisoning caused by oral ingestion.
Cultivation: Plant prefers part to full shade and evenly moist soils. Sow the seeds in the fall for germination in the spring. Sow in outdoor conditions in the shade, in deep flats, well-screened against birds and mice. In one of our trials, seed sown in August gave partial germination in October, with the remaining seeds germinating in May.
Packet of 50 seeds Open-Pollinated and non-GMO