The common name for the 250 plants of the genus aconitum
, also known as aconite
, the Devil's helmet
, or (disturbingly) wifesbane. A highly poisonous
flowering plant closely related to buttercup
s, the toxins can easily soak through the skin. Wolfsbane kills quickly (within six hours of consumption) and the symptoms are almost immediate: vomit
ing and diarrhea, followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen. In severe poisonings, pronounced motor weakness occurs and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Heart, lung, and organ failure soon follows.
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.
The poisons extracted from wolfsbane are difficult to detect and can easily be disguised in food or drink; aconite certainly deserves the title given by the ancient Greek
s as "the Queen
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 Roman
s 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
Wolfbane, or wolfsbane, is a poisonous perennial herb with broad rounded leaves. Its has yellowish flowers and grows eastern Europe and Asia. In legend a talisman made of Wolfsbane can word off Vampires, and other evil spirits.
The vampire was incapable of approching me because my wolfsbane talisman repelled him.
A flowering plant found in damp areas of the foothills of mountainous regions in Europe and Asia. It is a member of the buttercup family.
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.
I gave my mother-in-law a wolfsbane plant for her birthday, but unfortunately she didn't eat it.