Syn.—Aconite, monkshood, wolfsbane.
N. H.—America, Europe, Asia.
Properties: Arterial sedative, anodyne, slightly diaphoretic.
Physiological action: The first effect of a physiological dose is a sense of numbness and tingling in the throat, tongue and lips. Respiration and the pulse are diminished and there is depression and weakness. If larger dose is taken, all of above symptoms are increased, pulse becoming more slow. If a toxic dose is taken the pulse will become irregular and slower, even as low as 40 beats a minute. Respiration may go as low as 12 per minute; there is a tingling sensation in the skin, dimness of sight, dizziness, skin gets moist and cool, burning in the throat and stomach, nausea, vomiting, loss or impairment of hearing and sight, followed by impairment of speech, dilated pupils, headache, muscular and gastro-intestinal spasms, death-like appearance of face, consciousness remaining until death results by syncope. Aconite is a powerful heart depressant, acting through the vaso-motor nervous system. It influences first the terminals of sensory then the trunk of the nerves, the heart, respiration and the nerve centers of the cord. It paralyzes the heart through the inhibitory centers. It paralyzes respiratory centers and functions of the spinal cord, first sensory then motor. Destroys reflex action and voluntary power by its depressing effect on the centers in the spinal cord. The cerebrum however it appears is not affected.
Indications: In sthenic fevers. Small, frequent, hard, sharp and quick pulse; dry and hot skin; secretion suppressed; light and frequent chills, chilliness up and down the spine; numbness and tingling in the throat.
Use: It is a heart sedative in sthenic fever when indicated. Its use must be discontinued after this stage is passed; also if there is evidence of feeble heart's action or failure of nerve force. Aconite has a marked influence in acute inflammation of the mucous membranes, giving tone and power in the arterial capillaries and is opposed to blood stasis. It retards exudation, suppuration, adhesion, induration and hypertrophy. It hastens resolution and promotes absorption of inflammatory pro-ducts. Under its influence the heart beats slower, pulse becomes fuller and mild diaphoresis is induced. We think of it in fevers in children, acute colds, measles, tonsillitis, bronchitis pneumonia, pleurisy, peritonitis, gastritis, enteritis, dysentery, mastitis or any sthenic condition where indicated.
The Materia Medica and Clinical Therapeutics, 1905, was written by Fred J. Petersen, M.D.