Aconitum (/ˌækəˈnaɪtəm/), also known as aconite, monkshood, wolf’s-bane, leopard’s bane, mousebane, women’s bane, devil’s helmet, queen of poisons, or blue rocket.
Aconitum is a perennial, genus of over 250 species, that grows in the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere in the mountain meadows. Most species are poisonous, causing diarrhea, convulsions, ventricular arrhythmia and death. The major antidote is Atropine but must be administered quickly as death will occur in 2-6 hours.
In mythology the goddess Hecate was said to have invented aconite, which Athena used to transform Arachne into a spider. Medea attempted to poison Theseus with a cup of wine containing wolf’s-bane.
In the monster movies Van Helsing places a sprig of wolf’s-bane around Mina’s neck in the 1931 Dracula with Bela Lugosi. In the 1941 film Wolfman, with Lon Chaney Jr., this poem is heard:
Even a man who pure at heart,Old Gypsy Poem
and says his prayers by night,
May become a wolf when the Wolf’s-bane blooms,
and the autumn moon is bright.