Aconite Poisoning

Aconite is a most virulent poison, but fortunately not commonly employed in India.

It is readily obtainable in Indian bazaars, and sold as the dried shriveled root of the plant. Poisoning by aconite is usually accidental, but homicidal poisoning is not unknown. The crushed root is mixed with tea or cooked with food in these cases.

The effect is first to stimulate sensory and motor nerves with paralyzing effect later, in which the centers for the heart and respiration become involved. The mind remains unaffected.


Tingling of the lips, tongue and throat with marked salivation appears first. Numbness follows in the limbs and whole body, followed by loss of power. The pulse and respiration become feeble and irregular, leading on to a state of collapse.


  • Give an emetic and keep the patient recumbent.
  • Counteract collapse with stimulants - strong coffee by mouth, hot bottles and warmth in severe cases.
  • Massage of the limbs relieves numbness.
  • Artificial respiration may be required.