The plant is considered to be one of the most poisonous plant with utmost medicinal use at minimum dose. Due to its poisonous nature it is included under the ‘Visha’ group. It contains large quantities of extremely toxic Aconitine and Pseudoaconitine which starts to show its effect in about 45 minutes of consumption. This plant is only seen in the Himalayan ranges at an altitude of 2100-3600 mts and is abundantly seen in Darjeeling Hills of West Bengal state and Sikkim state in India. The Botanical name Aconitum ferox Wall ex Seringe is explained as ‘Aconitum = Aconite – Monk’s Hood and ferox = Terrible, ferocious, very poisonous‘ which explains the very nature of the plant and its poisonous effect. The details of the plant is as described below:

PLANT DETAILS

BOTANICAL NAME

Aconitum ferox Wall ex Seringe

FAMILY

Ranunculaceae

NOMENCLATURE

VERNACULAR NAMES
  • Kannada – Vatsanabhi
  • Malayalam – Vatsanabhi
  • Tamil – Chirinkivisam
  • Telugu – Vasanubhi
  • Hindi – Meeta Vish
  • English – Monk’s Hood
SANSKRIT SYNONYMS
  • अमृत (Amrita) – Acts as nector against diseases
  • कालकूट (Kalakuta) – Most poisonous like that of the substance known as Kalakuta which originated during churning of the sea.
PLANT IMAGE
Vatsanabha
Click image to enlarge
SAMHITA CLASSIFICATION
  • Charaka Samhita – NONE
  • Sushruta Samhita – NONE
NIGHANTU CLASSIFICATION
  • Dhanvantari Nighantu – Mishrakadi Varga
  • Bhavaprakasha Nighantu – Guduchyadi Varga
  • Raja Nighantu – Pippalyadi Varga
  • Kaiyadeva Nighantu – Aushadhi Varga
BRIEF MORPHOLOGY

It is a perennial plant with erect stem, round with branches slender, greenish. Leaves opposite, lobed oval or ovoid, dentate. Peduncle fleshy on apex. Spike slender or branched downward, hairy. Flowers light blue or bluish, Fruit five, straight, round, smooth, dense. Seeds black, winged. Root 1-3 inches long, brown externally and white internally, smooth, bright, tuberous tapering.

PHARMACOGNOSY OF OFFICIAL PART
MACROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

MICROSCOPY

YET TO BE COMPILED

PART USED AND POSOLOGY
PART USED
मूल Tuberous Roots
DOSE

चूर्ण (Powder) – 10 to 15mg

PHYTOCHEMISTRY

The root of the plant contains the alkaloids Aconitine, Pseudoaconitine, Chasmaconitine, Indaconitine, Hypoaconitine, Mesoaconitine Picro-aconine, benzoin-aconine and homo-nipoline. The Pseudo-aconitine is a toxic substance which is approximately 4gms in about half kg of root material. 

रसपञ्चक कर्म PROPERTIES AND USES AS PER AYURVEDA
गुण (Properties)
  • रस (Rasa) – मधुर (Madhura)
  • गुण (Guna) – रूक्ष (Ruksha), तीक्ष्ण (Teekshna), लघु (Laghu)
  • वीर्य (Veerya) – उष्ण (Ushna)
  • विपाक (Vipaka) – मधुर (Madhura)
  • प्रभाव – None
कर्म & प्रयोग (Action & Indications)
  • दोषकर्म (Doshakarma) – Tridoshahara (Vatakaphashamaka)
  • धातुकर्म & मलकर्म (Dhatukarma and Malakarma)  – Main actions – ज्वरघ्न, व्यवायी, विकाशी, योगवाही, स्वेदजनन,  (Jwaraghna, Vyavayi, Vikashi, Yogavahi, Swedajanana) 
  • Other Actions – वेदनस्थापन, शोथहर, शूलप्रशमन, रसायन, मूत्रजनन, बल्य, शुक्रस्थम्भन & कुष्ठघ्न (Vedanasthapana, Shothahara, Shulaprashamana, Rasayana, Mutrajanana, Balya, Shukrastambhana and Kushtaghna)
  • प्रयोग (Prayoga)  – Mainly ज्वर (Jwara), also useful in कास, श्वास, पक्षाघात, सन्धिवात, मूत्रशर्कर, प्रमेह, अग्निमान्द्य, उदरविकार, शूल & शिरःशूल (Kasa, Shwasa, Pakshaghata, Sandhivata, Mutrasharkara, Prameha, Agnimandya, Udaravikara, Shula and Shirashula)
AYURVEDIC FORMULATIONS
CLASSICAL
  1. कफकेतु रस
  2. राववान
  3. मृत्युंजय रस
  4. हिङ्गुलेश्वर रस
  5. आनन्दभैरव रस
  6. ज्वरमुरारि रस
  7. पञ्चवक्त्र
  8. सौभाग्य वटि
  9. त्रिभुवनकीर्ति रस
  10. नाभी वटि, etc
PROPRIETARY
  1. Feverun Capsule (Mukti Pharma)
AGRONOMY
ENVIRONMENT

YET TO BE COMPILED

CULTIVATION

YET TO BE COMPILED

HARVESTING

YET TO BE COMPILED

STORAGE

YET TO BE COMPILED

VARIETIES AND SUBSTITUTES OR ADULTERANTS
VARIETIES

NONE MENTIONED

ADULTERANTS

NONE REPORTED

SUBSTITUTES

The research studies show that Aconitum spicatum Stapf., Aconitum falconeri Stapf., Aconitum chasmanthum Stapf. ex Holmes, Aconitum laciniatum Stapf., Aconitum denorrhizum Holmes ex stapf and Aconitum balfourii Holmes ex Stapf. are available in the market in the name of “Vatsanabha”. Out of these Aconitum chasmanthum Stapf. ex Holmes is the most poisonous one and is sometimes mentioned to be the substitute for Aconitum ferox Wall ex Seringe

TOXICITY
TOXIC SYMPTOMS
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
ANTIDOTE
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
शोधन or PURIFICATION METHOD
  • YET TO BE COMPILED
CONTROVERSY (IF PRESENT)

As per the research studies six species of Aconitum have been identified in the market which are sold under the trade name “Vatsanabha”. They are Aconitum spicatum Stapf., Aconitum falconeri Stapf., Aconitum chasmanthum Stapf. ex Holmes, Aconitum laciniatum Stapf., Aconitum denorrhizum Holmes ex stapf and Aconitum balfourii Holmes ex Stapf. This makes the identification a bit controversial. But the officially accepted species for the plant mentioned as Vatsanabha in the Ayurvedic classics is Aconitum ferox Wall ex Seringe

LIST OF RESEARCH STUDIES
  1. Gajanan D Chatupale “Critical review of Vatsanabh (Aconitum ferox).” wjpmr, 2018,4(7), 182-185 
  2. Deore, S L et al. “Evaluation of toxicity of ‘Vatsanabha’ (Aconitum ferox, Ranunculaceae) Before and After Shodhana.” Journal of young pharmacists : JYP vol. 5,1 (2013): 3-6. doi:10.1016/j.jyp.2013.01.001
  3. Sarkar P. K. et al. “Pharmacognosy of aconite sold under the name “Vatsanabha” in Indian Market.” Deore, S L et al. “Evaluation of toxicity of ‘Vatsanabha’ (Aconitum ferox, Ranunculaceae) Before and After Shodhana.” Journal of young pharmacists : JYP vol. 5,1 (2013): 3-6. doi:10.1016/j.jyp.2013.01.001

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