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Monkshood (Aconitum Napellus)

Highly Toxic

Also known as:

Aconitine Aconitum Napellus

image of a branch of Monkshood on white background
Possible Symptoms
  • Numbness and tingling of the mouth that can extend to the entire body
  • Drooling
  • Muscle weakness
  • Diarrhea
  • Low heart rate and blood pressure
What to Do
  1. Wipe or rinse out the mouth to remove plant material.
  2. Give a serving size of water to drink.
  3. Rinse any exposed skin with lukewarm water and soap.
  4. Call 1-800-222-1222 immediately for additional instructions.


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Additional Information

What is monkshood, and is it safe? What part of monkshood is poisonous? 

Monkshood (aconitum napellus) is a perennial wildflower that usually grows near mountain meadows in Europe and Asia, but there have been rare reports of it growing naturally in Missouri. It has large blue, purple, white, yellow, or pink flowers. The monkshood flower is cylinder-shaped and looks like a hood that a monk would wear, thus the reason for its name. Another name for monkshood is wolfsbane because people used it as poison bait for wolves. People have used monkshood in herbal medicine to treat various ailments such as nausea and vomiting, viruses, and joint and muscle pain. All parts of the plant contain a toxin called aconitine, with the roots having the greatest concentration. Sometimes the plant leaves are eaten after boiling. However, some of the toxins will remain even after prolonged boiling.

If you or someone you know has ingested Monkshood, call the Missouri Poison Center immediately at 1-800-222-1222, where specially trained nurses and pharmacists can assist you.

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