Aconitum ferox, the strongest poisonous plant of the Himalayas
Monkshood, a deadly Himalayan plant
Monkshood (Aconitum ferox), is known to be the strongest poisonous plant of the Himalayas, having said that, Monkshood, is part of some Ayurvedic medicines and preparations as Mahamrutynjaya rasa, contain Aconitum ferox, Piper nibrum and Piper longum, containing aconitine and piperine .
Most of the Ayurvedic formulations containing Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox), were traditionally prescribed as analgesic, anti-rheumatic, appetizer and digestive . The active constituent giving Monkshood this poisonous properties is Pseudaconitine, an alkaloid discovered in 1878 by Wright and Luff  also known as nepaline (C36H51NO12) that is found in high quantities in the roots of Aconitum ferox also known as wolfsbane and it is "extremely poisonous" . Image: Monkshood and Monkey flower by Zabet O'Casey under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).
Common name: Monkshood, Vatsanabha.
INFO! Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox) is a very well-known ingredient of Ayurvedic formulations and is prescribed as an antipyretic, analgesic, appetizer and a digestive. However, Vatsanabha root is always used after purification in these preparations. The process of purification involves submerging the roots into the fresh urine of a healthy cow for 3–7 days [2,9].
The most common aconite-based medicinal plant Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox), is used in Ayurveda as antipyretic, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, appetizer and digestive . But Monkshood is not the only poisonous plant that has been used in Ayurvedic preparations, others as Ahiphena (Papaver somniferoum), Bhanga (Cannabis sativa), Dhattur (Dhatura metel), Karavira (Nerium indicum), Kupilu (Strychnos nuxvomica), Langali (Gloriosa superba), and Jayapal (Croton tiglium), can also be found as part of Ayurvedic medicinal remedies [2,5], acording to Ayurveda
“even a strong poison can become an excellent medicine if administrated properly; on the other hand, even the most useful medicine can act like a poison if handled incorrectly” .
Unexpected adverse reactions can occur due to accidental use of a poisonous herb/medicine/decoction by the patient . Aconite poisoning following use of herbal remedies has been reported from Hong Kong, India and Nepal [2,6,7]. There is at least one case of reported poisoning with the Ayurvedic herbal preparation Mahashankha Vati, in which there are eight ingredients and Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox) . Image right: Monkshood by Kabachi under Creative Commons License (CC BY 2.0).
In spite of the beauty of this plant, extreme care has to be used when dealing with it, as aconite, its poisonous active constituent nepaline, is a strong poison affecting several systems . Pure aconite can cause death at a dose of 2 mg, while 1 g of the aconite plant is fatal .
 Wikipedia article on Aconitum ferox
 Overdose effect of aconite containing Ayurvedic Medicine ('Mahashankha Vati').
Panda AK, Debnath SK.
Ayurveda Regional Research Institute, Tadong, Gangtok, Sikkim - 737 102, India.
 Stability-indicating reversed-phase liquid chromatographic methods for the determination of aconitine and piperine in a polyherbal formulation.
Rai P, Pathak A, Rajput SJ.
The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, Pharmacy Department, Quality Assurance Laboratory, Centre of Relevance and Excellence in Novel Drug Delivery Systems, G.H. Patel Building, Donor's Plaza, Fatehgunj, Vadodara, Gujarat, India.
 Alkaloids from Aconitum plants. I. Isolation of bikhaconitine, chasmaconitine, indaconitine and pseudaconitine from Aconitum ferox.
Klásek A, Simánek V, Santavý F.
 Caius JF. 1st ed. Jodhpur: Scientific publisher; 1986. The medicinal and poisonous plants of India; pp. 12–22.
 Chan TY. Incidence of herb-induced aconitine poisoning in Hong Kong: Impact of publicity measures to promote awareness among the herbalists and the public. Drug Saf. 2002;25:823–8.
 Paudel R, Palaian SR, Shankar P, Paudel B, Bhattarai S. Aconite poisoning: A Clinical review of the first four cases from Nepal. J Clin Diagnos Res. 2008;2:651–5.
 Sharma PV. 8th ed. Vol. 2. Varanasi: Chaukhamba Bharati Academy; 1986. Dravya guna Vigyana; pp. 106–11.
- Tags: ACONIT BLANC, ACONITE POISONING, ACONITUM FEROX, ACONITUM VIRORUM, ALKALOID, ANISH: STORMHAT, AYURVEDA, AYURVEDIC, Ayurvedic formulations containing Vatsanabha, BIKH, BISHMAA (BISMA), CHINESE: 尼泊尔乌头 NI BO ER WU TOU, DELPHINIUM FEROX, DUTCH: MONNIKSKAP, ENGLISH: INDIAN ACONITE, FRENCH: ACONIT FÉROCE, GERMAN: EISENHUT, HINDI: VATSNABH, INDIAN ACONITE, MAHASHANKHA VATI, MONKSHOOD, most common aconite-based medicinal plant, NEPALESE ACONITE, NEPALESE: ATTISINGIYA, NEPALINE, POISON, POISONING, POISONOUS, POISONOUS ALKALOID, POISONOUS PLANTS, PSEUDACONITINE, SETO VIKH, SPANISH: ACONITO DE NEPAL, STRONGEST POISONOUS PLANT OF THE HIMALAYAS, THE STRONGEST, THE STRONGEST POISONOUS PLANT, VATSANABHA (ACONITUM FEROX), VENUSVOGN, WOLFSBANE