Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Aconit, Aconiti Tuber, Acónito, Aconitum, Aconitum Angustifolium, Aconitum napellus, Aconitum carmichaeli, Aconitum kusnezoffi, Atis, Ativisha, Autumn Monkshood, Bachnag, Bikhma, Blue Monkshood Root, Caowu, Chuanwu, Chuan-wu, Fu Zi, Futzu, Helmet Flower, Monkshood, Monkshood Tuber, Prativisha, Radix Aconiti, Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii, Radix Aconiti Lateralis Preparata, Vachnag, Vatsnabh, Visha, Wild Aconitum, Wolfsbane, Wutou.


Aconite is a plant. The root is used as medicine. However, aconite contains some poisonous chemicals. In Hong Kong, aconite is the most common cause of severe poisoning from herbs. In Asia, toxicity is usually related to the use of aconite in traditional medicines. In western countries, aconite poisoning is usually associated with consuming the plant.

Despite serious concerns about safety, some people take aconite by mouth for facial paralysis, joint pain, gout, finger numbness, cold hands and feet, inflammation, painful breathing and fluid in the space surrounding the lungs (pleurisy), certain heart problems (pericarditis sicca), fever, skin diseases, and hair loss. Aconite is also used as a disinfectant, to treat wounds, and to promote sweating.

Some people apply aconite to the skin in liniment as a “counterirritant” for treating facial pain, joint pain, and leg pain (sciatica).

How does it work?

Aconite root contains chemicals that may improve circulation, but it also contains chemicals that can seriously harm the heart, muscles, and nerves.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Heart failture. Early research suggests that taking 1000 mg of aconite daily for up to 7 months might improve heart and kidney function in people with heart failure.
  • Feeling of coldness. Early research shows that taking aconite together with other herbs might improve feelings of coldness in the hands and feet.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Facial paralysis.
  • Joint pain.
  • Gout.
  • Inflammation.
  • Wounds.
  • Heart problems.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of aconite for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Do not use aconite. Aconite root is UNSAFE when taken by mouth. All species of the plant are dangerous, and so are processed products. Aconite contains a strong, fast-acting poison that causes severe side effects such as nausea, vomiting, weakness or inability to move, sweating, breathing problems, heart problems, and death.

Some people use aconite in a cream or lotion that is applied to the skin. This practice is also dangerous. The poisons in aconite can be absorbed through the skin, causing severe side effects.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Do not take aconite by mouth or apply it to your skin if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. It is UNSAFE and can cause serious side effects, including death.


The appropriate dose of aconite depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for aconite. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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