Herbs & Plants

Aconitum balfourii

Botanical Name :Aconitum balfourii
Family :Ranunculaceae
Subfamily :Trollioideae
Genus :Aconitum
Tribe :Delphinieae
Order :Ranunculales
Synonyms :A.atrox
Common Name :Vatsnabha, Monk’s hood, Midhavis, Meetha-tellia, Banwa.

Habitat: E. Asia – Himalayas from Nepal to Tibet at an elevation of 2200 – 4000 metres. Found in the upper subalpine areas in open positions on rocky slopes.This species has a restricted global distribution occuring in the Himalayan region across India and Nepal between an altitude range of 3000-4000 m. Within India, it has been recorded in Uttar Pradesh (Garhwal and Kumaon range).

click to see the map of it’s availability


Herbs perennial or annual , sometimes subshrubs or herbaceous or woody vines . Leaves basal and cauline, alternate, rarely opposite or whorled , simple or variously compound , palmately nerved, rarely penninerved , with or without stipules. Inflorescence a simple or compound monochasium, dichasium, simple or compound raceme, or flowers solitary. Flowers bisexual , sometimes unisexual , actinomorphic , rarely zygomorphic, hypogynous. Sepals 3–6 or more, free , petaloid or sepaloid , imbricate or sometimes valvate in bud. Petals present or absent, 2–8 or more, free, usually with nectaries. Stamens numerous , rarely few, free; filaments linear or filiform ; anthers latrorse , introrse , or extrorse ; sometimes some sterile stamens becoming staminodes. Carpels numerous or few, rarely 1, free, rarely connate to various degrees ; ovary with 1 to many ovules. Fruit follicles or achenes, rarely capsules or berries . Seeds small, with abundant endosperm and minute embryo.

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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil.The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils..It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade.It requires moist soil.

Cultivation:Aconitum balfourii     hrives in most soils and in the light shade of trees. Grows well in heavy clay soils. Prefers a moist soil in sun or semi-shade. Prefers a calcareous soil. Members of this genus seem to be immune to the predations of rabbits and deer. Grows well in open woodlands. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species, especially legumes.

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

Medicinal Uses:
Analgesic;  AntiinflammatoryAntirheumaticVermifuge. Used in Ayurveda, Folk, Tibetian, Unani and Sidha

The tuber is used in Tibetan medicine where it is considered to have an acrid and sweet taste with a heating potency – it is also very poisonous. The root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic and vermifuge. It dries up serous fluids and is used in the treatment of all types of pain and inflammation from gout or arthritis, all disorders due to worms or micro-organisms, amnesia, loss of bodily heat, leprosy and paralysis.

Known Hazards : The whole plant is highly toxic – simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people.

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.


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