Monkshood (Aconiti tuber, herba)

Published October 15, 1987.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)

Blauer Eisenhut

Name of Drug

Aconiti tuber, monkshood tuber, blue monkshood root, aconite root.
Aconiti herba, monkshood herb, blue monkshood herb, aconite.

Composition of Drug

Monkshood tuber consists of fresh or dried tubers and roots of Aconitum napellus L. [Fam. Ranunculaceae] harvested in autumn after flowering, as well as their preparations.

Monkshood herb consists of the dried herb of A. napellus L. collected at the beginning of the flowering season, as well as their preparations.

The herb contains alkaloids. The principal alkaloid is aconitine.

Uses

Preparations of Monkshood are used for pain, facial paralysis, ailments of the joints, arthritis, gout, rheumatic complaints, inflammation, pleurisy, pericarditis sicca, fever, skin and mucosal diseases, and for disinfection and wound treatment.

In combinations, preparations of Monkshood are also used as prophylaxis for diseases of the respiratory tract, cardiac and circulatory system and gastrointestinal tract, for loss of appetite, allergic disorders, strengthening of the immune system, for conditions of nervous excitement, sleep disorders, depression, spasms, eclampsia, epilepsy, mood changes, as a remedy to increase circulation after frostbite, for contractions, treatment of scar tissue, insertion into the tooth root canal, anesthesia of mucous membranes, prophylaxis of caries, hair loss and dandruff.

The effectiveness of Monkshood for most of the claimed applications has not been documented. However, Monkshood has been indicated as effective for neuralgia.

Risks

Because of the limited therapeutic range, intoxications can occur within the range of therapeutic dosage. Manifestations of intoxication include paresthesia, vomiting, dizziness, muscle spasms, hypothermia, bradycardia and rhythmic disorders of the heart, and paralysis of the respiratory system.

Evaluation

Because of the existing risks within the therapeutic range of Monkshood, its administration cannot be justified.