Wolfsbane has been ascribed with supernatural powers in the mythology relating to the werewolf and similar creatures, either to repel them, relating to wolfsbane's use in poisoning wolves and other animals, or in some way induce their transformation, as wolfsbane was often an important ingredient in witches' magic ointments. In folklore, wolfsbane was also said to make a person into a werewolf if it is worn, smelled, or eaten. They are also said to kill werewolves if they wear, smell, or eat aconite.
Cleopatra VI of Egypt was known for testing poisons on slaves, war prisoners, and even her servants to see which ones were the quickest or the least painful. She was said by the Romans to have poisoned her youngest brother by lacing his food with wolfsbane.
Cleopatra might not have actually died from a snake bite at all; historians think that she could easily have killed herself by a cocktail of opium, wolfsbane, and hemlock.
The roots of this plant are a powerful neurotoxin. A piece of the root half the size of a grain of rice can kill an adult human within five seconds. The military has adapted this neurotoxin in gaseous form for chemical warfare.
In Roman times it was used by the lady Lydia to poison anyone who posed a threat to her son Tiberius becoming Emperor. She even used it to kill her own husband.
Diluted, the roots can be used topically as a local anesthetic and numbing agent. It is an active ingredient in many over the counter nerve pain homeopathic remedies.