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Materials removed[edit]

I moved the following from the main article, so it can be worked into the article without making the article so much ugly andy 08:18, 11 Sep 2003 (UTC)

Why not? Most copyright licenses, including wikipedia's GNU FDL, require that. Apparently, the main incompatibility lies in the restriction on commercial use.

I restored the "is used" because aconite is widely used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine worldwide. It is hardly a historic use. I may restore the Therapeutics section. KSVaughan2 21:50, 15 June 2007 (UTC)

Pruning Wiki's Blight: Uncited Popular Culture References[edit]

I'll just come out and say it right here: I'm a Pop Cult hater, the information presented here is both arbitrary in the extreme (how does Wolfsbane is the codename for Rahne Sinclair, a mutant with the ability to change into a wolf and an in between anthro-like stage do anything more than confuse?) and, like so much in Wikipedia, uncited, unreferenced and banal. Coming from a horticultural point of view, I'm glad to see that 13 year old boys who know nothing about plants except what appears in anime and video games have been given the editing reigns. After all, this article, as it stands right now, is not really all that useful for anyone looking for, perhaps, gardening or agriculture information. And there lies the whole damaging problem of Wikipedia in general and why putting energy into editing these monstrosities that get passed off as "encyclopedia" articles becomes more and more pointless as time goes on -- by insisting that anyone, at anytime, can add anything regardless of lack of citations, usefulness to the content and/or spell-checking, we create a world in which anyone who actually cares about the subject have to work three times harder: first getting down actual referenced information, second by fixing all the random, non-referenced chaos already there and then going back to playing babysitter/edit war as anyone who can find the on/off button on their computer can contribute. I'm not even talking about editors who battle over which edition of "Gardener's Guide to Wolfsbane" is more accurate, I'm talking about a system in which 75% of this entire article, as it stands right now, by Wiki's own guidelines, fails criteria to be included here, and yet by nuking the whole Popular Culture section from orbit (it's the only way to be sure) you get charged with vandalism. Life is short and it's shame the powers that be at Wikipedia seemed to have failed English Composition 101: the Research Paper, which means the rest of us are doomed to repetitively attach [citation needed] to these articles, through all eternity. Perhaps this is where bad English Comp teachers go when they die? Duende-Poetry (talk) 16:42, 26 November 2011 (UTC)

The "Rahne Sinclair" (whoever that is) example you give isn't "confusing". Excessive popcult crap is objectionable, but not on that basis. WP readers are not, mostly, imbecilic simpletons whose brains fall out when confronted by a reference to a fictional character or scenario in a piece heretofore factual. That doesn't "confuse" them. Popcult crap is objectionable because it's non-encyclopedic, fanwanky blather, like adding which My Little Pony is blue to the article about the color blue. It doesn't serve our audience's interests in WP as a encyclopedia – a curated collection of notable knowledge, vs. a willy-nilly directory of random, meaningless trivia. That said, some pop culture references are actually meaningful and noteworthy. That such sections exist in some articles is not in and of itself an evil. What pointless garbage gets added to them when they're not watched is the problem. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:31, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Proving; Allen, Timothy Field[edit]

(The Encyclopedia of Pure Materia Medica: A Record of the Positive Effects of Drugs upon the Healthy Human Organism. New York: Boricke & Tafel, c1874-78. (Incomplete)



Clonic spasms.

•Spasms of the eyes; clenched jaws; the body became rigid and bends backward; the limbs are distorted with spasms, and he dies.

Convulsive attacks; the upper and lower limbs drawn inward; the legs in constant motion; face covered with cold sweat; the eyes turned up; the joints crack during the spasms.

Violent convulsive fit; the eyes drawn up under the lids; the fits clenched across the throat; the teeth grate violently against one another, and a thick ropy saliva was forced through the lips. In the evening sudden crying out, gnashing of teeth; then, from long-continued hiccup, stiff immobility like a statue (catalepsy).

Twitching of tendons.

The symptoms at last become chiefly confined to the tendinous or muscular structures, such as shortened feeling of the tendons of the ham and of the tendo Achillis.

Twitching of various groups of muscles, especially of the forearm, as if he held the conductors of an electromagnetic apparatus in his hand, only the pains come and go slower.

Excessive restlessness and tossing about for several hours.

She gave an occasional sigh, tossed her arms backward above her head and sought to shift her position by jerks.

Extreme sense of nervousness.

Extreme nervousness and agitation.

Fearful and uncertain in his actions.

•Sensitiveness to fresh air.

Remarkable degree of sensitiveness to the least draft of cold air.

Feeling as if he would take cold.

All the symptoms of having caught cold.

Sensation as if all the blood vessels were congealed.

Very shaky and nervous.

Trembling and tendency to palpitation.

Great trembling.

Increased tremulousness and vertigo.

General muscular tremors.

Paralytic and bruised pains in arms and legs, with violent trembling all over the body, especially in the extremities, which prevents walking; with very pale face, dilated pupils, faintness, palpitation, cold sweat on the back, and dizzy headache inn the temples, soon followed by burning head of the face, with a sensation of tension and redness of the face, and sleepiness after dinner (46 h)..

He complained of lassitude of the whole body, great weakness, and pressure at the heart.

General sore, tired feeling in the body. On awaking in the morning such great exhaustion he was unwilling to get up; it went of, however, on rising.

Frequent attacks, almost every other hour, of extreme weakness and insensibility, so that he can stir neither hand nor foot, and cannot sit up in bed; he does not feel his former pains, cannot see nor hear, nor even speak aloud; the legs are stretched out (after a few h)..

Grew very weak and almost blind in half an hour, though still conscious.

Prostrated, weak, and sleepy.

•Great muscular weakness, weariness, prostration, almost total inability to stand.

Great loss of strength.

Progressive failure of strength.

Great weariness, as if after walking far.

Feeling very weary, languid, and unable to rise from the couch; obliged to discontinue all work; the system feels prostrated, with sense of inward fever.

Great laziness (19 d)..

Unusual fatigue.

Walking and talking tire him; he feels very much affected.

Easily tired when walking, and especially going up stairs.

•He loses his ability to stand, must sit down.

She hates movement, prefers sitting.

She must lie down in bed she feels so sick; head so confused, dizzy, and painful, and the limbs so heavy (19 a)..

Complains of his head being heavy, his strength and spirit exhausted, so that he had to lie down.

Urgent desire to lie down.

She must lie down (2-5 h)..


•Faintness on attempting to sit up.

Attacks of fainting follow constructive sensation of the chest, and icy coldness.

Went quite suddenly and unconsciously into a swoon in the evening while standing up urinating; all thee blood seemed to rush to his head, and he feel heavily to the ground (first time in his life).

Fainting fit directly after urinating; everything whirled around him; for the time he completely lost all consciousness; hands bedewed with cold sweat, and for some time after he remained quite prostrated.

Impaired sensibility of the surface.

Touch diminished, so that he cannot distinguish small objects by the feeling.

Formication and crawling, now in one place, now in another, with an uncomfortable shuddering sensation, especially on the upper arm and lower leg.

The paralytic condition soon quit the left side and passed over to the right.

•Numbness and tingling over the body.

Muscles sore and stiff.

Sensation as if the whole body, from the shoulders downward, was heavy as lead, while a heavy pressure, from all sides and from above downwards, seemed to render the whole body smaller in size and stature, the head and neck seeming to retain their natural proportions.

Sensation of swelling of many parts of the body, generally accompanied by shuddering cold or rigor (several)........


Nightly raging delirium; he will not be kept in bed; in the morning excessive sweat.

He did all things hurriedly, and ran about the house.

Transient frenzy.

Hope is aroused, immediately after vomiting.

Crazy folly.

He commenced to be delirious, and played upon a leaf.

Maniacal delirium.



Exalted spirits.

Gayety, with inclination to sing and dance (1/2 h)..

More gay and excited than usual (1st h)..

He cannot remain long at one occupation.

Excessive disagreeable restlessness; without occasion for hurrying, he is in the greatest haste, every obstacle that delays his rapid pace is excessively annoying; he knocks against some people who do not get out of his way fast enough, and runs in breath less haste up the steps; this hurried disposition lasted two hours.

He raves, though awake; jumps out of bed and imagines he is driving sheep (4 h)..

Lucid (clairvoyant) vision.

Lively memory.

Lively imagination.

Great activity of mind.

He sits buried in thought.

Rapid change of thought, great exertion is required to fix the train of thought.

Unsteadiness of ideas; on attempting to think of one thing, another forces it out of the mind, and this if supplanted by another, and so on, until he becomes quite confused.

Restlessness, uninterrupted, unpleasant; he must now sit, now stand, now walk, he does not know what is the matter.

Excessive restlessness, all movements and actions are performed with great haste and hurry.

Impatience, he throws himself anxiously about, and constantly changes his position, etc.

Hurried speech.

Speaks much and rapidly.

•Alternate attacks of opposite moral symptoms.

Variable humor, at one time gay, at another dejected.

At times he seemed to weep, and at times he sang.

Now he doubts his recovery, now he is full of hope.


Now he was perfectly conscious, and then again he raved.

Quarrelsome, with constantly varying delirium, he chatters childish nonsense, and is extravagantly gay.

Morose, peevish.

Quarrelsome (6 h)..



Vexation about trifles.

Extremely inclined to be vexed (1/2 h)..

Great in-difference, irritable.

•The slightest noise is unbearable (1/2 h)..

Over-sensitive to light and noise.

He takes every joke in bad part (3 h)..

•Cannot bear pain, nor to be touched, nor uncovered.

•Great Anxiety. .........

Somebody check the medical section?[edit]

Can somebody verify that the therapeutics section is accurate? The writing sounds rather archaic, like some early 20th century medical texts I've seen quoted elsewhere. Examples: AFAIK, "neuralgia" is an obsolete term; one of the dosages is given in "minims", a fluid measure fifty years' dead; the word "anodyne" is used instead of "anaesthetic" or "analgesic".

The same seems to be true of the pharmacology and toxicology sections, and possibly even of the chemistry section, now that I look at it again.

At the very least, it should be noted that this is historical information that is of dubious value today.

Please sign your comments. There is a citation at the bottom of the article that information was incorporated from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, and I'm guessing the sections you mention were taken verbatim. This sort of thing is exactly why many people are arguing against the use of the 1911 EB as a source: because people are copying and pasting without possessing the knowledge or wisdom to know which info is still relevant and which is obsolete. Historical information has its uses, but if the basic data about a topic isn't given primary focus, then the historical data is, as you say, meaningless. Please make corrections as you see fit. Be bold! I'm placing a template to indicate that the article needs verification. Canonblack 15:00, 12 February 2006 (UTC)

I believe from the spelling that the writer is British. Those words are still used. However your point is well taken. I added the information on Ayurveda, Chinese medicine and detoxification and those are current and in the literature. Ksvaughan2 19:15, 9 May 2007 (UTC)

Proper name for species Aconitum delphinifolium or Aconitum delphiniifolium[edit]

I am trying to determine the most current name for Aconitum delphinifolium or delphiniifolium. In this article it is listed as Aconitum delphinifolium but the subspecies are listed as delphiniifolium. The PLANTS database lists it as delphiniifolium [1] but GRIN lists it as delphinifolium [2] Open2universe 02:50, 11 April 2006 (UTC)

Corrected a link[edit]

I corrected the link to the pictures of aconite plants. Old one wasn't working cause they had changed the database on that site. 07:23, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

When does the Wolfbane Bloom?[edit]

With reference to this poem from The Wolfman:

Even a man who is pure in heart
and says his prayers by night
may become a wolf when the wolfbane blooms
and the autumn moon is bright.

When does the wolfbane bloom? No mention of this data in this article...Colin4C (talk) 16:58, 25 May 2008 (UTC)

first word fourth line holds a clue

"Traditional Uses"[edit]

I have a feeling that the following may be a very subtle form of vandalism:

"The wolfsbane flower was used to identify supposed werewolves. If the flower cast a yellow shadow on the suspected shape-shifter's chin, the werewolf test was positive." (in the section Traditional Uses)

Either there's a very interesting bit of folklore here or a very subtly clever joke (I suspect a reader of John Hodgman). If it's real, then I think something this strange needs a citation (and a story, please). If not, then I'd like to see some other interesting contributions by this user.

On second look, it appears to have been added on July 15, 2008 by Petchboo, which was a user who's permabanned for having an undeclared extra account. A hint maybe? I think I'm going to remove this if no one objects soon. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Qwerty0 (talkcontribs) 19:40, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Not vandalism but looks like a stupid quotation of the movie Ginger Snaps 2: Unleashed. The movie usage could have been inspired by a real traditional use or simply inspired by the name "wolfsbane", pretending the name came from plant's usage. Personally, I think that the name comes from the poisonous characteristic of the plant. It may involve real wolf like whatever eats it and got nothing to do with werewolf. I would delete it. Lacrymocéphale 22:46, 11 July 2009 (UTC)


From the ancient Gr. name of the same plants "akoniton", from the Gr. "akos" (medicine, therapy). From akos we have the "panacea" (pan-akeia) that literally means "therapy for everything". (talk)

Neither this etymology nor the one currently displayed on the article are correct. The word most certainly does not mean "without struggle" (perhaps someone confused it with a variant of agon?). Nor, however, does it come from "akos"; that derivation makes sense neither semantically (why call a poisonous plant "a little cure"?) nor morphologically (the "-os" of akos is part of the root, and hence we would not see a shift to "n" before the suffix). The authoritative Greek lexicon (Liddell, Scott, and Jones) lists the derivation as uncertain. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:33, 12 February 2012 (UTC)

The etymology of "aconitum" is unknown. It is a latin word, which is derived from the greek "akoniton," but there are only guesses as to where this Greek word came from. One theory is that it comes from the Greek word "a," meaning "without" and "konis" meaning "dust," due to the rocky, soil-free areas where the plant was thought to grow. Even Pliny the Elder struggled with the etymology in his encyclopedia. He though it may have come from the word "akon" meaning "javelin" because the greeks often used it to poison the tips of them. He also suggested that the word may be derived frome "akonae" meaning "rocky" because of the rocky ground in which it was thought to grow. Pliny writes of these rocky areas, to quote, "which are called aconae, and for that reason some have given it the name of aconite, there being nothing near, not even dust, to give it nourishment." Pliny also suggested that the word may come from Greek port-city of Aconae. I hope that helps. Zaereth (talk) 21:25, 12 February 2012 (UTC)
It would be way more helpful if all of this were included in the article with source citations. I'm unclear on why you would bother with this level of "quasi-sourcing", which must have taken quite some amount of research, just to make a point on the talk page, when that same work could have been used to notably improve the article. NB: The information provided, unfortunately sketchily, by Zaereth directly contradicts the alleged 'without struggle' etymology presently in the article, which is unsourced. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:19, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
It is my typical M/O to answer questions, of which I have prior knowledge, on talk pages. I have a photographic memory, so doing that is not difficult. At some point, I may actually decide to go through my sources, find where I got that info, and include it into the article. That's a little more time-consuming, so I am in no hurry to do so. I am very busy in real life, and only have about ten to fifteen minutes a day to work on Wikipedia. Therefore, I tend to work quite sporadically. Like every article I work on, I add a little bit here, and a little bit there, and the main reason I like to answer talk-page questions is because it helps me to organize my own thoughts. If the mood strikes me, at some point, I probably will add this info. However, I don't think etymology is extremely important for an encyclopedia, which are about things not words, so it's not the highest priority on my list. Zaereth (talk) 17:42, 30 November 2012 (UTC)


Going to add a section on Symbolism. Any contributions? ShermanCory (talk) 19:07, 6 December 2011 (UTC)

Article organization[edit]

I came here looking for some specific information on this plant. The first time I left, concluding there was nothing more than the "overview" and the list of species. Thwarted, I looked around elsewhere, but eventually came back here, and only then did I find that the article did not end with the long list of species. I'm sorry, but having that list take up the middle half of the article serves the reader extremely poorly, and I'm going to change it. HuskyHuskie (talk) 17:56, 4 July 2012 (UTC)

I think you forgot to add "so nya-nya-nya". ;-) You don't need to threaten to change things, just do it and use explanatory edit summaries. If your changes are useful, they'll stick. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:13, 30 November 2012 (UTC)
Actually, if you look at the article history, you may notice that HuskyHuskie did change the article on the same day this comment was posted, and it looks a lot better. Zaereth (talk) 18:12, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Medicinal vs. traditional uses[edit]

We need to better differentiate the genuinely medicinal uses (i.e., those supported by actual medical science, via the scientific method of repeatable experimentation reported in peer-reviewed publications and subject to verification) from those of traditional and folkloric practice. While it is politically correct to refer to ayurveda as "medicinal", we cannot commingle Western science and traditional practices in the same section as if they are equivalent and equally supported by reliable sources. They need to be clearly separated. Does anyone have any particular ideas about how to do this in a sensitive way? The point would not be to denigrate traditional medicine, but prevent confusion that naturally results from "medicine" (and derived forms like "medicinal") being used in radically different ways. — SMcCandlish   Talk⇒ ɖ∘¿¤þ   Contrib. 14:10, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

The section was originally titled "Traditional uses." Back sometime in early January, Lenticel changed it to "Traditional and modern medicinal uses" and from there it morphed several times into what it is now. I agree with you. Perhaps the easiest way would be to revert back to one of the earlier headings. Another way, which is a bit more complicated, would be to divide them into two distinct sections. Zaereth (talk) 18:25, 30 November 2012 (UTC)

Ref to: Reader's Digest[edit]

have I referred to it correctly? Osborne 20:07, 21 October 2013 (UTC)

Looks ok to me. If not, someone will eventually come along and reformat it. (An improperly formatted reference is better than no reference at all.) All the relevant information seems to be there, so thanks for your help. Zaereth (talk) 00:35, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

"Historic" wolf-killing?[edit]

"Toxins extracted from the plant were historically used to kill wolves" "Historically"? Really? Doubtful if a potion of aconite ever actually killed a wolf, --bane being a common enough suffix for various toxic herbs and forbs: henbane, fleabane etc etc. No doubt the cited source does make this unconsidered assertion, but a more reasonable explanation of wolfbane would be : "The name arose because the plant was considered toxic enough to kill a wolf."--Wetman (talk) 17:52, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

The term "wolfsbane" is a translation of the Greek name lykotonon. It was first used in the 1540s in medieval England, but was called that long before by the Greeks an d Romans. Depending on location, it is also calld badger's bane, bear bane, and a whole slew of other names. I don't doubt the sources, because it is a very common and effective poison which can be delivered in a number of ways, and killing predators was a common practice in ancient times (until very recently). The poison can be used in arrows and lances, or simply stuffed into a piece of meat and left for a predator to find. It is quite likely that the herb may have been used for just that, especially in ancient Europe. Zaereth (talk) 19:20, 6 June 2014 (UTC)

Death of a gardener[edit]

A story is in the UK press about a gardener who died. At the inquest somebody speculated this may have been because he may have brushed against this plant. Please do not add this content as evidence of this plant's toxicology - we need much stronger sources for that. Thanks. Alexbrn talk|contribs|COI 20:17, 7 November 2014 (UTC)

The relevant quote is North Hampshire coroner Andrew Bradley heard from histopathologist Asmat Mustajab, who concluded it was "more likely than not" that Mr Greenaway died after coming into contact with the deadly purple flowering plant. Is that not opinion from an expert at a British legal hearing? "somebody speculated" doesn't make clear you're dismissing exactly this opinion. Ignore the tabloid surroundings of its reporting. Ralph Corderoy (talk) 19:27, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
That quote applies to a pre-inquest hearing. Now, I'm not an expert in law, but surely that doesn't carry the weight that the conclusion of an inquest does? In addition, the phrase "more likely than not" is not conclusive, and "coming into contact" covers a multitude of possibilities, so how has that been interpreted into meaning that the deceased "brushed past" some Aconitum, whatever that may mean? PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:30, 8 November 2014 (UTC)
This WP:AGF edit does not meet WP:MEDRS standards to be in a toxicology section. This edit, undoing it, by User:Alexbrn, was correct. Members of this genus may be highly toxic, but the article used as a source speculates about the cause of death, which is not to WP:MEDRS standards for statements about causes of death. FloraWilde (talk) 20:18, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
A bit of original research: I'm a professional gardener and have handled Aconitum on several occasions, principally when tieing stems to stakes. The most I have ever experienced is a distinctive tingling sensation in bare skin that touches the plants. This perhaps indicates their acute toxicity, but my view is that someone would have to do more than just "brush past" the plants in order to be fatally poisoned. Also, aside from WP:MEDRS issues, The Daily Telegraph story is not exactly neutral in tone, using strangely OTT descriptions that have no relevance to the case ("On Thursday, gardeners employed by the Ogilvie Thompsons could be seen tending to a vast vegetable patch to one side of the house, which also has several outhouses for its army of staff, a chauffeur's cottage and even its own cavernous barn complete with ornate weather vane"). I support the removal of this material from the article. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 21:06, 7 November 2014 (UTC)
Personally, I see this as being quite trivial for an encyclopedic article. Wikipedia is not a newspaper, and I fear setting a precedent where we begin listing every encounter people have with these plants. We don't list everyone who was trampled by a moose each year in the moose article, and I see this as being no different. Unless this specific case is something that becomes highly notable for some reason, I would avoid including it, even if the cause is determined to be aconitum.
I have felt similar tingling-sensations after handling a stick that was used to rid my property of amanitas, which scared the hell out of me, because amatoxin is cumulative. I don't know if aconitum toxin is cumulative or not, but I would not recommend handling them too much without gloves. I seriously doubt that brushing against one a single time would cause death, unless it was actively dripping sap. Zaereth (talk) 21:42, 10 November 2014 (UTC)
If the term "brushing past" could be defined in any meaningful way to describe a very slight non-ingested contact, and if it could be proved that someone died as a result of merely brushing past some Aconitum, then in my view such information could be worthy of inclusion in the article, as it would indicate the potency and great ease of transmissability of the toxin(s). However in this case the crux of the issue is that whereas it may be possible to establish that the cause of death was poisoning from Aconitum, the same cannot be said for establishing with certainty the route of transmission of such poisoning. The fact that The Daily Telegraph has reported the histopathologist's phrase "coming into contact" as meaning that the deceased "brushed past" some Aconitum is an example of why such sources are not generally regarded as being of the standard required for statements about toxicology and causes of death, as per FloraWilde's comment above.
As an aside, and further to my own previous comment, I add that I am very wary of handling Aconitum and always do so wearing gloves. PaleCloudedWhite (talk) 08:40, 11 November 2014 (UTC)
I would agree, provided there are credible sources that support that sort of conclusion. However, it is far too easy to synthesize such a conclusion, even unintentionally, without taking into consideration of all the facts that may be involved. (ie Prior medical or neurological complications, or repeated brushings.) It is an extremely common plant in my part of the world. You can hardly walk through the woods here without brushing past some, yet very few fatalities have ever been reported from that sort of transmission. I'm far more curious to know if the effect is cumulative, like the toxin in the wild peas that grow here. If so, then perhaps it is possible to build-up in someone's system from repeated exposures. I've found plenty of sources that already talk about its potency and ease of transmission (a single grain of the toxin in powder form is apparently more than enough to kill any animal, not to mention that it's sweet and has a pleasant odor), but I haven't found any source that tells whether it's cumulative or not. Do you know? Zaereth (talk) 09:21, 11 November 2014 (UTC)


I removed the part in the Cultural significance section that said the character Kabuto from the manga Naruto was named after the Japanese name of the flower. As you can read in the chapter 582 of the manga he was named after the Japanese war helmet called kabuto, not the flower. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:31, 29 November 2014 (UTC)