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Aconite - A deadly poison that epitomises the homeopathic principle



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A description of the experience

British Homeopathic Association

Aconite - A deadly poison that epitomises the homeopathic principle, - Keith Souter

Aconite is one of our oldest remedies, having been one of the substances proved by Samuel Hahnemann and described in the first volume of his landmark text, the Materia Medica Pura. The homeopathic remedy is prepared from the whole fresh plant as it comes into flower. Hahnemann saw it as being a short-acting remedy that was very valuable in acute inflammatory and sometimes life-threatening conditions……………..

The epitome of the homeopathic principle
Like many other poisons, for example arsenic, strychnine and prussic acid, aconite found a place in medical prac­tice. It was introduced as a medicinal herb in 1763 in Vienna. In 1788 it was added to the London Pharmacopoeia and to the first US Pharmacopoeia in 1820. However, because the therapeu­tic dose is so close to the toxic dose, it was later deleted from both pharma­copoeias.

The interesting thing to note here is that although these compounds were known to be poisonous, empirical obser­vation revealed that some aspects of their range of action could be beneficial. ……..

In the 1880s this strange phenomenon about the possible therapeutic benefits of small doses of poisons was investi­gated by Rudolf Arndt and Hugo Schultz, two professors at the University of Greifswald in Germany. Their research, formulated as the Arndt-Schultz Law showed that:

  • weak stimuli stimulate living systems;
  • moderate stimuli inter­fere with living systems, and
  • strong stimuli inhibit or destroy living systems.

Give frequently in acute conditions
To get the benefit from Aconite in acute conditions it should be given frequently, as often as every five to fifteen minutes according to the emergency. If it is cor­rectly chosen its effects will be quickly apparent.

Tension and fear of death
Tension is one of the main features that indicates the need for Aconite. This takes the form of mental and physical tension. Mental tension manifests as anxiety and fear. Indeed so great may that fear be that the individual actually feels that death may be imminent, and they have a presentiment about precisely when they are actually going to die. And they will be terrified at the prospect.

Panic can be so intense that they feel they need medicine straight away, that something needs doing instantly and that medical aid must be obtained as an emergency. Their feeling is that if aid is not obtained, they will die. This is the shadow of death that seems to hover around this state and links up with the deadly poison that in homeopathic dosage will relieve it.

At the physical level the tension can take the form of severe muscle pains, extreme restlessness, shaking and even convulsions. Tension in the involuntary muscles may produce chest pains, or in the respiratory system to provoke an attack of asthma.

When Aconite is needed there is hyper­sensitivity all round. Pain, touch, hear­ing and smell all tend to be affected. Pains are intolerable, to the point that the person screams with agony and demands that someone do something about it. They are often accompanied by numb feelings somewhere or by pins and needles. Touch seems to aggravate and they even feel discomfort from the weight of their bedclothes. The least noise, even their favourite music “runs through them”, or “makes them sad” and has to be switched off. And smells become unpleasant…………….

Blocked shock
I mentioned at the beginning that Aconite is usually considered to be an acute remedy, but sometimes chronic (even life-long) psychological problems which start after a severe shock, be that an accident, a major event like a tsunami, earthquake or personal threat, will respond to single very high potency Aconite. Insomnia, where the individ­ual may fear going to sleep lest they die in their sleep, is suggestive of Aconite. So too, panic disorders, agitated depres­sion and many of the phobias, especially where fears of death are prominent, may be markedly eased, if not cured, with this wonderful remedy, which seems to epit­omise the homeopathic principle so well.

Keith Souter MB ChB FRCGP MFHom MIPsiMed DipMedAc is a part-time GP in Yorkshire

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