Aconite (Aconite Carmichaeli / Fu Zhi)
What does the herb Aconite Carmichaeli do?
Aconite Carmichaeli is a Chinese Herb that is sometimes utilized when
a patient has been diagnosed with Heart, Spleen, and/or Kidney yang deficiency
with Wind-Cold- Damp painful obstruction. It works by warming the interior,
restoring yang and expelling cold. It has been considered very helpful
in unblocking and improving circulation. It is also used to alleviate pain.
Symptoms that can be associated with depleted yang and weak yang Qi associated
to the spleen, kidneys, and heart are: cold extremities, feeling faint,
chills, diarrhea (with undigested food in stool), severe vomiting, and
a weak or barely perceivable pulse.
Aconite is extremely toxic if taken incorrectly and it's use should
to be monitored carefully by a health care professional (See Adverse effects).
Should my health care professional be advised before I take Aconite
It is always good to keep your health care practitioner updated on medications,
herbals, supplements or other therapies you may be participating in. They
should be consulted first if you have any of these conditions, as usage
may be contraindicated:
- If you are currently taking medications or other treatments for diarrhea
- If you have diabetes mellitus (aconite may effect blood glucose levels).
- If you have cardiovascular disease (can cause irregular heartbeat)
- If you have low blood pressure or are taking blood pressure medicine
(aconite may lower blood pressure).
- If you are taking sedatives or sleeping medicines (may potentiate action)
- If you are taking narcotics or opiates of any kind (may potentiate
- If you are taking cardiac glycosides, diuretics, and/or corticosteroids.
- A tendency towards allergic reactions to other medicines, herbs, foods,
dyes, or preservatives.
Are there other times my health care professional needs to be advised
before I take Aconite Carmichaeli?
They should be consulted first if you are:
- Pregnant or trying to get pregnant (usage contraindicated)
- Breast-feeding (usage contraindicated)
- If you plan to administer this herb to a child (not advised)
How should I take this herb?
Aconite Carmichaeli is usually taken in the form of a decoction.
What should the dosage be?
Dosages are usually based on the individual, severity of the symptoms
and the type of problem.
See a qualified practitioner of Chinese medicine for appropriate dosages.
What other medicines may interact with Aconite Carmichaeli?
- Aconite may potentiate certain medications and herbs.
- Aconite may increase the absorption rate of certain drugs and herbs.
- Aconite is reported to antagonize Scolopendra Subspinipes (Wu Gong).
- Aconite is reported to counteract Cornu Rhinoceris ( Xi Jiao).
- Aconite is reported to counteract Semen Phaseoli Radiati (Lu Duo).
When is Aconite Carmichaeli usage contraindicated?
- If you are pregnant or breast feeding.
- If you have been diagnosed with a yin deficiency combined with true
heat and illusionary cold.
- If you are taking Bulbus Fritillariae (Bei Mu) - (traditionally contraindicated).
- If you are taking Fructus Trichosanthis (Gua Lou) - (traditionally
- If you are taking Rhizoma Bletillae Striatae (Bai Ji) - (traditionally
- If you are taking Rhizoma Pinelliae Ternatae (Ban Xia) - (traditionally
- If you are taking Radix Cynanchi Baiwei (Bai Wei) - (traditionally
What are side effects of Aconite Carmichaeli?
If you experience any uncomfortable side effects, stop usage immediately
and report them to your health care professional.The following have been
recorded with incorrect aconite usage:
- Heart arrhythmia
- Blurred vision,
- Tingling in mouth and extremities
- Numbness of the mouth and extremities which can spread to the whole
- Muscle spasms
- Reduced temperature
- Lowered blood pressure
- Intense pain
- Exaggerated reflexes
- Central paralysis Paralysis of the respiratory system leading to
asphyxiation and death
- Slowing of the heartbeat, and heart failure leading to death.
Side effects that may not require medical attention (stop usage and
report it to your health care professional if they are continuing or bothersome):
- Headaches (if this occurs immediately lower the dosage or stop usage)
- Nausea (if this occurs immediately lower the dosage or stop usage)
- Diarrhea (if this occurs immediately lower the dosage or stop usage)
What do I need to know before utilizing Aconite Carmichaeli?
In Chinese medicine Aconite Carmichaeli can be classified several different
ways based on how it was processed. Each method of processing seems to
create a end product that is more specific to certain medicinal needs.
Generally, aconite is processed with salt in an effort to reduce its
toxicity. Leteralsi aconiti carmichaeli (Sheng Fu Zi) is the unprocessed
root. It is rarely used and usually only in cases of severe shock or for
certain topical applications. "Black Aconite Daughter root" (Hei
Fu Pian) is processed in s.c. as way that leaves the root black with a
slightly oily cast. It's actions focus on the Kidneys. "White aconite
daughter root" (Bai Fu Pian) is processed in s.c. a way that leaves
the root a whitish-yellow color and translucent. Its action is focused
on relieving painful obstruction.
What do I need to watch out for with Aconite Carmichaeli?
Aconite is extremely toxic and its biochemical constituent aconitine
is considered a potent, fast acting poison. Even when treated, handled,
and administered correctly aconite should always be used with respect and
caution. Never take aconite without careful monitoring from a qualified
health care professional.
It should be noted that even with external use, aconitine can be absorbed
through the skin.
Read labels carefully before purchasing. There have been reported cases
of herbal products being sold that did not contain active ingredients (the
herbs active constituents) needed to be of any therapeutic value. Unless
using the raw herb, buying a standardized product when purchasing a product
may reduce the possibility of this occurrence. Look also for products that
are clearly labeled with the ingredients contained and amounts.
Where can I store this herb?
Keep out of the reach of children in a container that small children
Store at room temperature between 15 and 30°C (59 and 86°F)
unless otherwise specified. The raw herb, tinctures or infusions should
be stored in airtight, dry, and light resistant containers. If there is
an expiration date listed on the herbal product, throw away the unused
portion after the expiration date.
Raw herbs, tinctures, ointments, etc all have varying life spans. Generally,
an herbal product will have the longest life span when it has been extracted
in alcohol. It should be noted however that though it can make certain
herbs more bioavailable, extraction in alcohol can reduce the effectiveness
Can you tell me a little more about Aconite?
General information: Aconite has a long history of use as a medicinal
herb. Around the world references can be found that account to it's usage
and benefits in traditional, folk and homeopathic medicines. Unfortunately,
just as it is known for its medicinal uses it also known worldwide as a
highly toxic substance and it's misuse has led to death. Therefore this
herb should only be utilized with the awareness and monitoring of an experienced
health care professional.
There are many varieties of Aconite, and as the biochemical constituents
(active ingredients) present differ slightly in each aconite variety and
active ingredients effect the therapeutic value of the plant, caution and
research should be applied before substituting one variety for another.
Aconite Carmichaeli is of the family Ranunculaceae and is indigenous
to China where it has long history of usage. The source of it's first reference
is thought to be the "Divine Husbandman's Classic of the Materia Medica"
(Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing ) of the late Han period. It is often combined
with other herbs in medicinal formulas. Some of these combinations are
said to reduce the herbs overall toxicity. In Chinese medicine it is considered
acrid, hot, and toxic.
It is usually harvested in the summer or winter. The toxicity of this
herb varies greatly within different varieties. It also varies due to growing
environment, the source of the herb, how and when it was harvested, preparation,
and the length of time the herb was decocted.
Note: It is not recommended that you harvest or prepare Aconite Carmichaeli
yourself, as even handling of the herb can have toxic effects.
What are the actions that have been associated with the herb?
Generally, aconite is thought to act as anodyne and diuretic. It may
inhibit the growth of certain bacteria. It is thought to effect blood glucose
levels and cardiac functions. Studies however, have shown conflicting results
to date on it's effects in these areas.. It has sedative and narcotic actions
and is highly toxic if handled incorrectly. There have been reports that
the estimated adult fatal dosage may be as low as 1 grm. Other sources
estimate a fatal dosage to be 10-60grms. Differences in estimates may be
due to the different varieties of aconite, harvesting, preparation, treatment
of the herb, and the "model" used to make the estimate.
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