The alkaloid aconitine is one of the fastest poisons known, and is occasionally used for murder.

The only natural sources are the plants Aconitum napellus, a common garden flower, and Aconitum ferox, the Indian aconite.

The extract is a white powder (P1S1).

Fatal dose is about 1/16 to 1/20 grain, or 1 drachm of the liniment. Eight to ten hours is an average period before death.

Symptoms usually appear in a few minutes. First there is a tingling and numbness of the mouth and a feeling of constriction in the throat. Pain in the stomach, vomiting, and salivation follow quickly, the pulse becomes slow and irregular, and collapse follows. The victim loses all power in voluntary muscles-arms, legs, speech, breathing all becoming weakened and respiratory failure ensuing. The mind usually remains clear.

Ac"o*nite (#), n. [L. aconitum, Gr. : cf. F. aconit.]

1. Bot.

The herb wolfsbane, or monkshood; -- applied to any plant of the genus Aconitum (tribe Hellebore), all the species of which are poisonous.

2.

An extract or tincture obtained from Aconitum napellus, used as a poison and medicinally.

Winter aconite, a plant (Eranthis hyemalis) allied to the aconites.

 

© Webster 1913.

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