MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
(Ativisha / Cao Wu / Tsao Wu)
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ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM DESCRIPTION
AN ACONITE FAMILY MEMBER
Even though Aconitum heterophyllum belongs to the aconitum family (Ranunculaceae or Buttercup family), it is non-toxic if used properly. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used for children experiencing fever and diarrhea. The root is the main part of this plant that is used. The root has analgesic, tonic, astringent, stomachic, anti-periodic, aphrodisiac, and sedative properties, it also slows the heart rate. This herb has many different names to go by: Aconitum heterophyllum, Ativisha, Cau wu, Tsao wu, Graveloens, Dill Seed, Persil des marais, Bazrul Shibbat, Sowa, shih lo and yes, there is more. Please do not let the many names confuse you, the only reason there is so many names is because people from all over the world use this herb, therefore different people different names. Aconitum heterophyllum can be found in many different Ayurvedic and TCM formulas.
This perennial plant thrives in most soils (light sandy, medium loam and heavy clay) and in the shade of trees and is usually found on humus-rich soils in the alpine and subalpine zones in the forests in East Asia and Western Himalayas at an altitude from 7500 feet to about 9500 feet (2300 to 2900 meters). It is suitable in neutral and basic (alkaline) ph soils. It can grow in semi-shade (as found in light, dappled shaded woodland areas) or no shade (full sun). It prefers moist soil. It will grow to a height of 5 feet with flowering from August to September. The seeds ripen from September to October and are pollinated by bees.
This plant is so tough it even grows marvelously in heavy clay soils and well in the open woodlands. Most of all it prefers a moist soil which contains the characteristic of calcium carbonate, calcium, or limestone. Edible parts of the plant are leaves and roots, cooked properly. However, it should be treated and used with great care due to the poisonous nature of this genus.
Other plants of this genus (a group of species exhibiting similar characteristics) seem to be immune to the rabbits and deer for they do not want to eat it. The Ativisha (Aconitum heterophylum) has small, yellowish-white, bulbous roots, which are shaped like a large bud about four to six times that of a jasmine bud. Part of the root crosses over and is milkey white with four black dots like banana seeds. The roots of this plant are extensively collected from the wild for medicinal use and the species is becoming much rarer in many areas of its range. The root is best harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down and is dried for later use. This plant has many green leaves and grows as a greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby species. The main place this herb is found is in sub-alpine and alpine regions; Himalayas from Indus to Kumaon.
PROPAGATION OF THE HERB
The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can be stratified and sown in spring but will then be slow to germinate. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. Division - best done in spring but it can also be done in autumn. Another report says that division is best carried out in the autumn or late winter because the plants come into growth very early in the year.
KNOWN HAZARDS OF ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM
Known hazards of Aconitum heterophyllum: The whole plant is highly toxic - simple skin contact has caused numbness in some people. One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.
For more information about Aconitum plants, see Nutrition Basics: Aconite-Monkshood Herbal Information,
ACONITUM HETERPHYLLUM USES, HEALTH BENEFITS & SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE
The dried root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antiperiodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, febrifuge and tonic. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhea and coughs. It is also used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and a cooling potency. It is used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines. The root is best harvested in the autumn as soon as the plant dies down and is dried for later use. This is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner.
Today Aconitum heterophyllum is used in cases of diarrhea, liver disorders, hemorrhoids, edema, dysentery, inflammatory infections with cough, cold, flu, or dyspepsia and is a mild diuretic. It stimulates the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers and when taken regularly by nursing mothers, helps prevent colic in their babies. It is also used to treat headaches caused from eating excessive amounts of greasy foods, thirst associated with fever, yellowish sclera (white outer coat enclosing the eyeball), nausea, vomiting, throat pain, and lung and eye inflammation. The root is also used for treating digtestive disorders such as anorexia, piles, diarrhea, vomiting and worms. It is said to help revitalize sexual desire and reduce obesity. The fried root is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, aphrodisiac, astringent, cholagogue, febrifuge, and tonic. It is used in India in the treatment of dyspepsia, diarrhea and coughs. Used in Tibetan medicine, where it is said to have a bitter taste and cooling potency. Also used to treat poisoning from scorpion or snake bites, the fevers of contagious diseases and inflammation of the intestines. This herb is just wonderful in many afflictions. The scientists and pharmacists have also found that Acontum hterophyllum has also been useful in the following diseases; Abdominal Distention, Amenorrhoea, Amnesia, Anorexia Nervosa, Bronchitis, Colic, Common Cold, Dysmenorrhea, Fevers, Flatulence, Flu and Halitosis (bad breath).
The seeds of this plant are also used in medicine, mainly as a stimulant, aromatic, emmenaguogue, galactagogue, stomachic, carminative, antipyretic and anathemmatic. Along with antispasmodics they relieve period pain. They are also useful in indigestion (especially stress-related), hyperacidity, hiccup and abdominal pain in children and adults. Chewing the seeds removes bad breath. Research has also established that the essential oil has antibacterial properties, which inhibit the growth of harmful intestinal bacteria.
ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM DOSAGE INFORMATION
The recommended doses of Aconitum heterophyllum depend on the condition that is being treated. For example; for children with cough, fever, vomiting, often the plain powder of the tuberous root mixed with honey is given. Its dosage is dependent on age. The powder is applied to the tongue. Different formulations of Aconitum heterophyllum can be toxic, so as always, please see your health care provider or qualified herbalist before using and always go by the dosage provided. Do not use old herbs as they lose their potency.
ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM SAFETY, CAUTIONS & INTERACTIONS
The whole Aconitum heterophyllum plant is highly toxic, even simple skin contact can cause numbness in people with sensitive skin. In large doses, this herb can cause constipation. Toxic overdoses will cause parasthesia, dry mouth, bradycardia, and in extreme cases, coma. Aconitum heterophyllum is a very poisonous plant and should only be used with extreme caution and under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. As always, when you buy a product alwyays follow the instructions.
One report says that this plant does not contain the toxic alkaloid aconitine, and so is not poisonous. It does, however, still contain an intensely bitter alkaloid.
ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM SUPPLEMENTS & RELATED PRODUCTS
QUALITY SUPPLIES & PRODUCTS
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ACONITUM HETEROPHYLLUM PRODUCTS
Sorry, No products are available through our merchants for this herb. Unable to locate a commercial source.
See Nutrition Basics: Aconite (Monkshood) Herbal Information for some product suggestions.
AROMATHERAPY: ESSENTIAL OILS DESCRIPTIONS & USES
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