ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Healt Benefits of Aconitum Napellus

Updated on April 12, 2011

Aconitum Napellus

The napello Monkshood (Aconitum napellus L. scientific name, 1753) is a herbaceous plant of the family Ranunculaceae with the top of the flower resembles a vaguely old helmet. It is one of the most toxic plants of the Italian flora widespread in the mountainous areas of the Alps



The genus name ("Aconite") derives from the greek akòniton (= poisonous plant). The plant is in fact known for its high toxicity since the days of ancient Homeric. This name probably was given a poisonous plant endemic whose habitat was common among the steep cliffs in some areas of Greece. There are two roots that are attributed to the name: Akon (= stone) in reference to its habitat, Kone (= kill), making reference of course to its toxicity. This name was also used as a negative symbol (curse or vengeance) in the mythology of the Mediterranean peoples.

The genus name seems to derive from the use even if it was at war with peaks poisoned arrows and spears. Pliny tells us that the name derives from "Aconae", a town linked to the descent into hell of Hercules (probably near Eraclea).

The pronunciation of the name should be (in the footsteps of the Latin) / ako'nito /, but is often used to say "the Greek" / a'kɔnito / (compare, for example, D'Annunzio, Undulna (vv. 125-128): "Blue are the shadows of the beach as Sparta aconite flowers. / The shake their rattles / Infinity to my astonished gaze '). The danger of the plant was in mind even if the ancient Pliny mentions it as "arsenic plant." It is said that the island of Ceos, the elderly were deleted useless with this poison. In the Middle Ages aconite was called by various names: monaco hood or helmet or Helm of Jupiter blue, always in reference to the top of the flower. In the '500 was known for his alleged ability against the sting of scorpions

The name of the species (napellus) is derived from the Latin for turnip in reference to the particular shape of the rhizome.

The common name derives from the fact that some Strozzalupo ancient peoples used it to poison wolves and foxes.

The currently accepted scientific binomial (Aconitum napellus) has been proposed by Carl von Linné (1707 - 1778) Swedish biologist and writer, considered the father of modern scientific classification of living organisms in the publication "Species Plantarum" in 1753.


They are herbaceous, perennial which can reach heights from 5 to 20 dm. The organic form is defined as rhizomatous geophytes (G rhiz), which are plants that bring the buds in place underground. During the season, no adverse air bodies and the gems are found in underground organs such as rhizomes, an underground stem from which, every year, branching stems and roots aircraft. The plant is at the top glandulosa.




The roots are secondary to the rhizome.




·         Part underground: the underground part of the stem is a rhizome tuberous taproot conical type. Initially pale and then eventually buy a brown film and branches in many side rootlets. This part of the stem is connected directly to the flowering stalk through the aboveground part.


·         Aboveground part: the part above ground is built, sturdy, green, and little ramosa (normally undivided). It is very high for a plant where the stem can pass the meter and a half, while the size can reach 50 to 60 cm.





·         Basal leaves: the lower leaves, dark green (slightly brighter) on the upper side and whitish on the bottom, and with obvious veins, are stalked. The lamina (leaf 2 to 3 games or palmate-palmatosette), usually glabrous, is pentagonal and is divided into 5 (or more - up to 7) segments lanceolate but sometimes they are also very linear. These segments may also be serrated. Final length of the segments: 10 mm. Size of the leaves more: width 8 cm, length 12 cm.


·         Cauline leaves: cauline leaves are progressively smaller, sessile, with more deeply incised leaf lobes and narrower. The arrangement of leaves along the stem is an alternative and are often near the inflorescence pubescent.




The inflorescence is a spike-like panicle terminal, the base is more dense. At the junction of the branches are the leaves of type bratteale. The flowers are stalked and the stalk of the helmet is longer, while the bracts are smaller stalk. The inflorescence axis shows slightly curved hairs simple, but it can also be hairless. Height of inflorescence: 10 to 30 cm.




These flowers are flowers considered archaic, or at least derived from flowers by the archaic structure acyclic. The perianth consists of two whorls: the external elements have a protective function and are called tepals or sepals (the distinction of the two terms in this case is ambiguous, and thus subjective), the internal is the nectar (in this flower is the corolla virtually absent). The flowers are pentamerous (five elements) zigomorfa symmetry (or bilateral). The color of the perianth is dark blue - dark violet. The overall shape of a flower is protected and closed, but suited to attract bees. The flowers are not fragrant like the majority of the rest of the flowers of the species of the family Ranunculaceae. Size of flowers: 20 to 30 mm.


Formula flower: This plant is suitable for the following floral formula:


x K 5, C 2, A many, G 5 (Superior)

Chalice: the cup has five sepals (or tepals) petaloideo type, very different, the upper one is shaped like a helmet or helmet with a hemispherical geometry underlying prolonged beak-shaped, the surface of the helmet can be pubescent. Of the other two were placed lateral sepals oval, and the two lower are more linear / lanceolate and canals. The sepals are not persistent in fruit production. Helmet size: height 60 to 10 mm, width 15 to 20 mm. Lateral size of the petals: width from 9 to 15 mm, length 10 to 20 mm.


Corolla: The Corolla is virtually absent, petals (the inner part of the flower) are 8, two of which turned into nectar cylindrical curved forward, ending with a hook in order to better retain the various insect pollinators, the others are reduced to mere tabs.


Androecium: stamens (dark) are available in many spiral, collected at the bottom of the flower. Length of nectars: 90 to 10 mm.


Gynoecium: the carpels (sessile and spiral) are 5 (rarely less). The pistils, stamens positioned at the center, containing 10 to 20 eggs.


Flowering: From June to August. The family of the Ranunculaceae Aconitum napellus is among the last species to bloom in midsummer.




The fruit is an aggregate of 3 (rarely 5) capsules or follicles glabrous, sessile and polispermi (dry fruit with longitudinal development of the cracks to the spillage of seeds). Each follicle ends with a beak law. Inside the follicle contains tiny seeds of tetrahedral, but dishes of brown polished and rough surface. Follicle size: 5 mm width: length from 15 to 20 mm. Seed size: 4 mm.




Pollination: pollination is ensured mainly by different insects such as bees and wasps are nectar plants (pollination entomophilous).


Reproduction: fertilization takes place both through the pollination of flowers (see above), but also for division of the foot (typically vegetable propagation). In particular, the first generation through the seeds in the spring (it takes up to three years for a plant from seed start to bloom), and thereafter through the division of the tubers during flowering. Often close to the old tuber buds are formed with tubercles arranged to produce new plants the following year. Each year, the main tuber, giving rise to new stem dies.


Distribution And Habitat


Geoelemento: type chorological (source region) is European.


Distribution: not only in Italy (in the Alps is common) is present in the mountainous areas of Central Europe: the Carpathian Mountains, Balkan Mountains, Corsica, Pyrenees, Great Britain, Scandinavia, etc.. Some varieties have been reported in the Urals and the Caucasus.


Habitat: in Italy the typical habitat of these plants are the areas with partial shade in pastures and on the banks of streams. Frequent is the presence near the huts because of the fertilization of livestock (this plant can be considered synanthropic). These are plants that grow almost always in large groups and prefer clay soils - acidic. The preferred substrate is limestone that is acidic at neutral pH, high nutritional value of the land must be moist.


Altitudinal distribution: these plants on the hills you can find up from 500 up to 2600 m above sea level, and then attend the following plans vegetation: hilly, mountainous and subalpine.




The genus includes 250 species Aconitum (a dozen of them are of spontaneous Italian territories) were distributed mainly in temperate regions. The family of Ranunculaceae instead includes over 2000 species distributed in about 47 genera (2500 species and 58 kinds according to other sources).


From a systematic point of view (and practice) the species of this genus are classified by color and shape of the flower. In this case the flower "Aconitum napellus" belongs to the group of plants with velvety cap more or less as wide as high and blue flowers.


The taxonomic structure of this more than aconite has been revised and modified in recent decades. Sandro Pignatti in the "Flora of Italy" for example, describes four subspecies (vulgare - neomontanum - corsicum - tauricum). Currently, the most recent texts tend to collect many varieties identified for this plant in a single taxon with the following name: Aconitum napellus L. emend. Skalickı (while assigned to a species, the self subsp. Tauricum).


The Aconitum napellus is also head of Group A. napellus whose general description (Aconitum napellus sl) is given in "Description". It is a polymorphic group with a tetraploid set of chromosomes and therefore variable. The variability of this species occurs mainly in leaf shape and size and shape of the helmet (still elements that do not allow the secure identification of the various taxa). Frequently form groups with intermediate characters probably ibridogena origin, but can also occur strictly geo-forms. The most difficult from a systematic point of view you have as the boundaries between species and species (or subspecies and between subspecies) are sometimes very small and no variables.


The chromosome number of A. napellus is: 2n = 24, 32.


Health Benefits




Chemical compounds present in the plant: aconitine, mesaconitina, neopellina, delfinina, ipaconitina, indaconitina, aconitic acid, malic acid and acetic acid. Most of these substances are harmful to humans. Therefore, it must be used under the constant supervision of your doctor or pharmacist.


In herbal medicine is used for its significant property antineuralgic, sedative, analgesic. In homeopathy is shown against panic attacks, states of shock, sore throat, earache


The parts used are the leaves and root, the latter is the main drug plan with a greater degree dell'aconitina, the active healing.


Harvest: the leaves during the summer, the tubers in the fall. But be warned: it is a protected species! Moreover, the young shoots can be confused with the radicchio Mountain (Alpine sow-thistle).




Accidental ingestion of Aconite causes many serious problems: a sense of anguish, loss of sensitivity, slowed breathing, heart weakness, tingling of the face, feeling the skin of the face retreats, ringing in the ears, visual disturbances, contraction of throat which may cause death by asphyxiation. Are sufficient quantities of less than 6 mg aconitine also to cause the death of a grown man.


The action is dell'aconitina locates the core, increasing at first but motility resulting in a sudden and often fatal, paralysis of motor nerves, sensory and secretory. For this reason, this plant was often used, especially by the Gauls and Germans, for military reasons. In fact it is poisoned with the tips of arrows and spears before the fight.


Have been reported local irritation (with the principle of intoxication) just taking a bunch of this plant in the hands as they can be absorbed through the skin the active ingredients of the poison aconitine. However, it is noteworthy that the venom of the leaves is lower than that of the tubercles.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • susannah42 profile image


      7 years ago from Florida

      Natural health benefits are always of interest. Thanks for the information.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)