Aconitum Napellus, or Aconite for short, is commonly known as Monkshood and Wolfsbane. This plant is extremely poisonous in crude form, in fact it’s name wolfs-bane, comes from the fact that hunters in the Alps used to dip their arrow tips in it when hunting wolves. Like many other of our homeopathic remedies, our greatest poisons make our best remedies (all depending on the dose)!
Aconite is most famous for two uses – ailments from cold, dry winds, and ailments from fright. Here’s my favorite little jingle to help you remember Aconite:
When there’s fright, think Aconite!
Aconite is useful after a shock or fright, really any time there is a near death experience or what has been perceived by the patient as a near death experience. People who need aconite may be afraid of crowds, earthquakes, closed spaces, and especially of death. They have a fear of imminent death – meaning they think they will die now, or in two hours, or tonight. Not some nebulous time in the future.
As such, this remedy is great for childbirth where the mother thinks she is going to die. It can be useful after delivery for mom and baby in case there is a retention of urine, particularly if birth was fast or otherwise scary. These infants can often be recognized by their wide-eyed, frightened appearance after delivery.
Aconite is also very useful after exposure to cold or a cold, dry wind where a fever, earache, cough or other complaint comes on suddenly, often around midnight. A common scenario is a child who is playing outside on a sunny winter day, and they strip off their jacket. The sun starts to go down or the wind picks up and the child doesn’t realize how cold they are getting. They go to bed fine, but wake up in the middle of the night with a high fever, cough, etc. Aconite will often nip this in the bud, allow the child to go back to sleep, and wake up feeling just fine. It’s also the #1 remedy to consider for early stage croup, particularly after exposure to cold dry wind.
The person needing aconite is usually very thirsty for cold drinks and they feel better for fresh air. It is really only useful in the first 24-48 hours of the onset of an ailment, so if more time than that has passed, it’s time to look at other remedies.