Fig. 121.   Delphinium Consolida.

Fig. 121. - Delphinium Consolida.

Aconitum Napellus,


The dried tuberous root, with not more than 5 p. c. of stems, foreign matter, containing .5 p. c. of ether-soluble alkaloids.

Habitat. Europe, Asia, N. America, Himalaya, Alps, Pyrenees Mountains, 3,300-4,800 M. (11,000-16,000°) elevation; cultivated in England, C. Europe.

Syn. Aconit., Aconite Root, Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Cuckoo's or Friar's Cap, Friar's Cowl, Wolfroot, Styrian Monkshood, Mousebane, Face-in-hood, Jackob's-chariot, Blue-rocket; Br. Aconiti Radix; Fr. Aconit Napel, Coque-luchon; Ger. Tubera Aconiti, Eisenhutknollen, Sturmhut.

Ac-o-ni'tum. L. fr. Gr.

Aconitum Aconite 307

on, +

Aconitum Aconite 308

rock - i. e., it grows upon steep rocks in mountains; or fr. Fr. Acone, a town in Bithynia, where it grows plentifully. Na-pel'lus. L. a little turnip; fr. napus, a turnip - i. e., mediaeval name from shape of roots, once used generically.

Plant. - Perennial herb; stem .6-1.5 M. (2-4°) high, round, smooth, leafy; leaves 5-10 Cm. (2-4') broad, palmately 3-7 divided, dark green above, lighter below, smooth, shining, petiolate, divisions wedgeshaped, with 2-3 lobes extending midway; flowers July (third year), large, beautiful, violet-blue, on stem's summit, racemes, sepals petaloid, nectariferous; fruit, 3-5 pod-like capsules. Root, produced at the end of a short rhizome, conical, fusiform, 4-10 Cm. (1 3/5 - 4') long, 1-2 Cm. (2/5 - 4/5') thick at crown; grayish-brown, smooth or longitudinally wrinkled, upper end with a bud, remains of bud-scales or stem-scars, other portions with many root-scars or short rootlets; fracture short, horny, mealy; internally, bark brownish, 1-2 Mm. (1/25-1/12') thick, cambium zone 5-8-angled with a small fibro-vascular bundle in each angle; pith whitish, 2-7 Mm. (1/12-1/4') broad; odor very slight; taste sweetish, acrid, developing tingling sensation, numbness. Powder, grayish-brown; microscopically - numerous, spherical (plano-convex) starch

Aconitum Aconite 309


Aconitum Aconite 310


Aconitum Aconite 311


Aconitum Aconite 312


Aconitum Aconite 313


Fig. 122. - Aconitum Napellus: a, transverse section of tuber; b, fruit carpels; c, flowering branch; d, flower deprived of calyx, showing the only 2 peculiarly shaped petals, the 6 others almost aborted; e, tuber.

grains, .003-.015 Mm. (1/8325-1/1650') broad, tracheae, stone cells tabular, irregular, fragments of cork (few) and parenchyma (many), stem bast-fibres (few, long). Solvent: alcohol. Dose, gr. 1-2 (.06-.13 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Allied aconite roots (A. variegatum - much smaller, A. Fischeri - light gray, plump, smooth), defective roots, small horseradish roots (collected only when leaves absent, as by these they may easily be distinguished), yellowish externally, taste exceedingly pungent, irritating; roots of European Masterwort (Imperato'ria (Peuced'anum) Ostru'thium), which closely resemble aconite root, but are aromatic, pungent, with oil-cells arranged in several circles, easily visible in cross-sections.

Commercial. - Plant grows wild, but under cultivation becomes slightly stronger, owing to which the Br. P. recognizes alone its root collected in autumn; all parts arc very poisonous, 8 fact even known to the ancients, and was not introduced into medicine until 1762 (Baron Storck, Vienna); it is grown in gardens for ornamental flowers and when these have expanded, thereby insuring identity, the root should be collected. Imported mostly .from Germany (England, France, Switzerland, India) in packages, bales, etc.

CONSTITUENTS. - Four alkaloids (one crystalline, three amorphous) .24-.62-1.15 p. c.: Aconitine (crystalline), Picraconitine (benzaconine, isaconitine), C25H39NO11, Aconine, Pseudaconitine (napelline), C33H45-NO12, aconitic acid, H3C6H3O6, starch, resin, fat, sugar, mannite.

Aconitina, Aconitine, C34H47NO11, official. - (Syn., Aconitin., Nap-aconitine, Aconitia; Fr. Aconitine; Ger. Aconitin.) Exists in combination with aconitic acid, and is obtained by exhausting root with cold rectified fusel oil, shaking resulting tincture with diluted (1 p. c.) sulphuric acid, adding chloroform to remove resin, rendering alkaline with sodium carbonate, shaking out with ether. It is in colorless (white) rhombic tables or prisms, odorless, permanent, producing tingling and numbing sensation to tongue, lips - taste cautiously even when diluted; soluble in alcohol (28), ether (60), benzene (7), slightly in water, almost insoluble in petroleum benzin; solutions alkaline; melts at 195° C. (383° F.); forms salts, as hydrochloride, nitrate, sulphate, etc.; commercial aconitine occurs in amorphous and crystalline forms, but the latter should alone be used, as the former contains derivatives lessening its activity 10-15 p. c. Tests: 1. Dissolve .001 Gm. with 2-3 drops of nitric or sulphuric acid on white porcelain surface - colorless solution; with 2 drops of sulphuric acid containing .005 Gm. of ammonium vanadate in each Ml. (Cc.) - orange solution. 2. Dilute solutions, + mercuric potassium iodide T. S., or + tannic acid T. S;, or + gold chloride T. S. - precipitate; concentrated solutions, + platinic chloride T. S., or + mercuric chloride T. S., or + picric acid T. S. - precipitate; incinerate .05 Gm. - ash non-weighable. 3. Evaporate a solution of .01 Gm. with 5 drops of fuming nitric acid, cool resulting yellow residue, + alcoholic potassium hydroxide T. S. - not violet (abs. of pseudaconitine, atropine). Dose (crystals), gr. 1/640-1/200 (.0001-.00035 Gm.; (amorphous), gr. 1/64-1/20 (.001-003 Gm.).