Monday, 19 August 2013
The queen of poisons
Aconitum, as it's officially called, is a pretty wild perennial flower. It usually grows in pastures, valleys and mountain sides of picturesque countrysides with shade from the big trees. This plant can be found from countries in Europe, Asia and the Americas. The green stalks and leaves bloom to a layer of pink, blue, purple, yellow and white petals. These "pretty maids in a row" look photogenic as they can appear to be like miniature girls in fancy dresses. They bare fruit and seeds. However none of them are safe to eat or touch. The Aconitum flowers are poisonous. They're given different names including "the queen of poisons", "blue rocket", "monkshood" and "women's bane" but the most well known of these flowers is "wolfsbane".
The poison is so strong. If you eat a wolfsbane plant, death becomes you. Touching the flower and it's leaves can be harmful. The poison of Aconitum has been used in hunting and during war, tipped on arrows and spears. If you accidentally consume Aconitum you'll suffer pain, vomiting, diarrhea and eventually death.
Despite it's deadly quality, Aconitum is a food source for a few species of moths. Aconitum can be detoxified and used in medicines. It was used to treat a variety of illnesses and is a special ingredient in Chinese herbal medicines. .
In folklore wolfsbane (Aconitum vulparia lycoctonum) was used to destroy werewolves instantly. Wolfsbane was used by witches in their magic potions to cast spells, according to some written sources.
The poison garden website
Wolfsbane seeds for witch's garden
The wolfsbane potion