Everything you need to know about aconite, the poisonous plant

Just as flowers can be incalculable beauty, they can also be just as dangerous because of their toxicity. It is the case of aconite. It is one of the most striking but at the same time poisonous plants that exist. The flowers have a great ornamental value and are used for decoration. However, it is dangerous to handle them without knowledge since they can become intoxicated. Consuming this plant can be very dangerous, so you have to be careful with dogs.

It belongs to the Aconitum genus and the Ranunculaceae family and is native to Europe. We are going to explain everything about aconite in great detail.

Key features

Aconite flowers

Among their common names we find the wolf slayer, devil’s helmet, blue flower, Jupiter’s helmet or great green. As you can see, they are names related to the toxicity of its flowers. And the reason why aconite is toxic is because it contains a series of alkaloids inside. If consumed, it is capable of completely collapsing the nervous and cardiac systems.

It usually grows in high mountain pastures and places where temperatures are cool with shade. It can also be found near rivers and streams where humidity is somewhat higher. It is a perennial herb with a fairly straight stem that can grow to just over a meter in height if conditions are favorable. Although it is a poisonous plant, do not be afraid of it if you know how to treat it. Given its strong colors, It has a great ornamental value that should be exploited if possible.

If we have a garden without pets and we know how to handle it, putting on gloves and not letting children come near it, it is not a dangerous plant. On the contrary, you can enjoy and combine it with a wide variety of flowers that will make your garden more colorful.

The flowers are elongated in shape and have between 2 and 10 petals. In autumn they drop their leaves and then take them out again in spring. The leaves are green and of an alternating type. They are between 5 and 7 cm long. Aconite bears capsule-shaped fruits that have lots of seeds inside. However, as is obvious, it is not an edible fruit.

Aconite toxicity

Characteristics of aconite

Wolfsbane toxicity It is due to the fact that it has between 0,2 and 1,2% alkaloids in its interior. It has some parts of the leaf and its flowers where it has a substance called aconitine. This substance, from which it derives its name, can be lethal. There are many studies on aconite that claim that it is capable of causing serious problems in the heart system due to a decrease in blood pressure and poor circulation. Depending on the person and their condition, it can affect one way or another, but it usually causes many problems.

Due to the high degree of danger that this plant has, the World Health Organization does not recommend that it be used. Despite this, in the Asian continent this plant is used to treat some pathologies as a medicinal plant and is even included in gastronomy. This fact causes so many deaths. The ideal is to know how to treat them. The plant is not toxic if you do not touch it or if you handle it with gloves and then discard or wash them thoroughly. If you know how to treat the plant, you can use its ornamental power without fear, since the plant will not kill us just by looking at it. We tend to be afraid of everything instead of learning to use our heads.

Toxic effects


We are going to describe the symptoms we feel if we have been intoxicated by aconite. Since the symptoms are not instantaneous, it may take us by surprise (or not). It is obvious that if we have mishandled the aconite or we have ingested it, we must go immediately to the hospital.

Symptoms appear after half an hour. It usually begins with an itchy tongue and excess salivation. Next, you feel a tingling in the face, arms and legs. That’s where you already know something bad happens. You may also feel like vomiting, shortness of breath, low body temperature and numbness in your mouth and may cause diarrhea. Depending on the amount ingested and the time elapsed without any treatment, the poison can kill the person.

If handled without gloves and rubbed against the skin, it affects nerve endings because aconitine is absorbed by the skin. If swallowed, affects the internal nervous system causing neurotropism.

To treat it, you have to perform a stomach wash if it has been consumed. At all times, it is best to induce vomiting so that the stomach does not have to deal with the poison inside. To improve the condition to the cardiac system, an antiarrhythmic drug and lidocaine should be given to stabilize it. None of these actions should be performed without the supervision of a specialist.

Aconite uses

Growth place

Even though it has these toxic effects, the wolfsbane is widely used in some regions for medicinal purposes. It can be used to decongest the airways and as a diuretic. If applied externally, it can relieve pain caused by low back pain.

Among the most important species we find:

Garlic onion

Garlic onion

It is the most beautiful species of the genus. Although it is toxic, Garlic onion It has a lot of ornamental power and if you treat it carefully and knowingly, you shouldn’t be afraid of it.

Aconite vulparia

Aconite vulparia

This plant also has toxicity like the rest of the plants of the genus but it is used in ornamentation. They are collected between the autumn and summer months and left to dry in the sun. They are kept very carefully to later make some medicinal products.

As you can see, in nature you can make plants that really look beautiful, but are poisonous. However, do not be afraid of them if you know how to treat yourself wisely, let’s learn to value plants and use them rather than reject them from the first moment.

Everything you need to know about aconite, the poisonous plant

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top
%d bloggers like this: