Aconitum (generic name)
treats Arrhythmia, Heart failure, and Post-operative pain
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Adults (18 years and older)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for aconite. Topical (application on the skin) use is not recommended. Aconite is sometimes used in liniments (rubifacients) with belladonna. Historically, a 1.3% aconitine topical liniment has been used.
Taking 1-5 drops of a tincture of the fresh leaf by mouth four times a day to relieve pain has been used. Also, homeopathic preparations of 6c to 30c have been used. A 6c potency strength is made by diluting one part of aconite tincture to 99 parts of alcohol or water then the solution is taken and diluted again with 99 parts of alcohol or water. This process is repeated 6 additional times, resulting in a 6c potency.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is no proven safe or effective dose for aconite, and use in children is not recommended. Homeopathic aconite has been studied in infants to help relieve postoperative agitation, but further information is needed to confirm these results.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Aconite is highly toxic and is not safe for human consumption.
Side Effects and Warnings
Based on widespread use, many experts believe aconite to be unsafe even in recommended amounts in otherwise healthy individuals. Aconite is not recommended for children because of known toxic effects; however, a homeopathic preparation containing aconite has been studied in infants with no toxicity reported.
Severe poisoning has been reported after ingestion of aconitine (found in aconite) or processed and cured aconite. Aconite is not approved by the German Commission E for use in any patients. The American Herbal Product Association rated aconite a class 3 (to be used only under the supervision of an expert qualified in the appropriate use of this substance).
Aconite may cause hypotension (low blood pressure), irregular pulse, various arrhythmias (altered heart beats), or first-degree heart block. Aconite poisoning can cause prolonged repolarization of the myocardium, which leads to triggered automaticity and ventricular tachyarrhythmias including ventricular ectopy, ventricular tachycardia (fast heart beat), and ventricular fibrillation. Aconite has also been reported to cause nausea, vomiting, epigastric pain, diarrhea, muscle cramps, retrosternal discomfort, dizziness, vertigo, variations in motor/sensory skills of limbs, ataxia (loss of coordination), paresthesia (altered sensation), "stiffness" in face, trunk and limbs, clonic convulsions, coma, leukocytosis (high white blood cell count), dimness of vision, blackouts, blurred or double vision, agitation, hyperventilation, difficulty breathing, and respiratory depression.
In theory, aconite may cause liver or kidney damage, hypersalivation, throat constriction, hypokalemia (low potassium in the blood), and hypothermia (low body temperature).
Tingling and numbness have occurred when aconite is applied to the skin (topically).
Aconite may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in patients with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Serum glucose levels may need to be monitored by a healthcare provider, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
Aconite is contraindicated in patients with coronary disease, cardiac dysfunction, and arrhythmias or homodynamic instability. Use cautiously in patients with suicidal tendencies due to the abuse potential associated with aconite. Avoid aconite in patients less than 18 years of age due to a lack of research in this patient population. Avoid aconite use in patients with gastrointestinal disorders, stomach ulcers, duodenal ulcers, reflux esophagitis, ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, and diverticulosis.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
The use of aconite during pregnancy or breastfeeding should be avoided since it is known to be toxic even at therapeutic doses. Studies suggest it is unsafe when used orally (taken by mouth) or topically (applied to the skin) in pregnant women.