Wolf’s bane (Indian aconite)

Botanical Name: Aconitum ferox Wall
Family: Ranunculaceae
Genus: Aconitum
Species:A. ferox
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Syn: Aconitum virosum Don., A. napellus var. rigidum Hook, f & T.

English names: Wolf’s bane, Indian aconite.

Sanskrit names: Vatsanabha, Visa.

Vernacular names: Hin: Bish, Mahoor; Guj and Mar: Vachang; Kas: Mohra; Tam: Vasnumbi; Tel: Vasnabhi.

Trade name: Bish.

Habitat : Wolf’s bane  is  abundant at Sandakphu, which is the highest point of the Darjeeling Hills in the Indian State of West Bengal.
Alpine Himalaya including Nepal; endemic.

Descriptions: 

Wolf’s bane is  a deciduous perennial plant  . It is an erect herb growing up to 2 m in height; roots look like the navel of children; leaves alternate, simple, rounded or oval, may be palmately 5-lobed; flowers borne on branched racemes, bracts and bracteoles present, large helmet-type, helmet vaulted with short sharp beak, pale dirty blue in colour, zygomorphic, floral parts arranged spirally on an elongated receptacle; follicles erect, usually densely villose-sometimes glabrous.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: July-November.
Ecology and cultivation: Temperate to alpine regions of the Himalaya in the altitude of 3300-5000 m…..CLICK & SEE

Cultivation:-
Thrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees[1]. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Grows well in open woodlands. If the flower stems are removed after flowering the plant will normally flower again later in the season. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes. A polymorphic species. The nomenclature is very confused for this species, A. lycoctonum. L. is treated as A. septentrionale by many botanists whilst A. lycoctonum. Auct. is A. vulparia.

Propagation:-
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division – best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year

Chemical contents: Root: pseudoaconitine (a toxic alkaloid), indactonitine, chasmaconitine, bikhaconitine.
Medicinal Actions &  Uses:

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Alterative; Anaesthetic; Antiarthritic; Antitussive; Deobstruent; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Sedative; Stimulant.

The root is alterative, anaesthetic, antiarthritic, antitussive, deobstruent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative and stimulant. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner

Traditional use: AYURVEDA : Root: used in the mrityunjaya rasa (used to treat the fever supposed to be caused by deranged vayu, i.e., wind, sannipatika jvara, i.e., remittent fever, hingulesware-rasa, anandabhairav agnitundi vati, etc.

Vatsanabha has been used in medicine from a very remote period. It is regarded as healing and stimulant. It is used in a great variety of affections, but is specially recommended in fever, cephalagia, affections of throat, dyspepsia and rheumatism. HOMOEOPATHY: remedy for clotting of blood in heart or in lungs, pneumonia, Iymptisis, pleurisy, eye trouble, earache, toothache and urinary trouble.

Modern use: Extremely poisonous; used in leprosy, fever, cholera, nasal catarrah, tonsillitis, sore throat, gastric disorders, debility, etc., also used as a sedative and diaphoretic; applied in the form of paste in cases of neuralgia and rheumatism.

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Adulterants: Indian aconite root is known as ‘bikh’ or ‘bish’, the name which is applied to aconite from more than one species, and different authors have ascribed it to different species.

Remarks: Vulnerable due to excessive collection for medicinal uses. Collection in wild state should be banned and measures for cultivation should be initiated.

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Reources:

http://www.bsienvis.org/medi.htm#Aconitum%20ferox

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aconitum_ferox

http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Aconitum+lycoctonum

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