Wolfsbane/ Aconitum Vulparia
The Werewolf Sacred Plant
Wolfsbane (also known as Aconitum Vulparia and Monk’s Hood) is an herb that affects werewolves in a similar manner to vervain’s effect on vampires, as it also burns them on contact and is extremely harmful upon consumption and very likely to cause the death of the werewolf. Damon Salvatore force fed wolfsbane during his torture of Mason in The Vampire Diaries 2X06- Plan B.
It induced vomiting blood. Both Mason and Tyler Lockwood ingested wolfsbane in order to help weaken them during their transformations. Aconitum (pronounced /ˌækəˈnaɪtəm/A-co-ní-tum), known as Aconite,Monkshood, Wolfsbane, Leopard’s bane, Women’s bane, Devil’s helmet or Blue rocket, is a genus of flowering plant belonging to the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae).There are over 250 species of Aconitum.
These herbaceous perennial plants are chiefly natives of the mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere, growing in moisture retentive but well draining soils on mountain meadows.Their dark green leaves lack stipules.They are palmate or deeply palmately lobed with 5–7 segments. Each segment again is 3-lobed with coarse sharp teeth. The leaves have a spiral or alternate arrangement.The lower leaves have long petioles.The tall, erect stem is crowned by racemes of large blue, purple, white, yellow or pink zygomorphic flowers with numerous stamens. They are distinguishable by having one of the five petaloid sepals (the posterior one), called the galea, in the form of a cylindrical helmet; hence the English name monkshood. There are 2–10 petals, in the form of nectaries. The two upper petals are large.They are placed under the hood of the calyx and are supported on long stalks.
They have a hollow spur at their apex, containing the nectar. The other petals are small and scale like or non forming. The 3–5 carpels are partially fused at the base.The fruit is a follicle, a follicle being a dry, unilocular, many-seeded fruit formed from one carpel, and dehiscing by the ventral suture in order to release seeds. The roots of Aconitum ferox supply the Nepalese poison called bikh, bish, or nabee. It contains large quantities of the alkaloid pseudaconitine, which is a deadly poison. Aconitum palmatum yields another of the bikh poisons. The root of Aconitum luridum, of the Himalaya, is said to be as poisonous as that of A. ferox or A. napellus.Several species of Aconitum have been used as arrow poisons. The Minaro in Ladakh use A. napellus on their arrows to hunt ibex, while the Ainu in Japan used a species of Aconitum to hunt bear. The Chinese also used Aconitum poisons both for hunting and for warfare.Many species of Aconitum are cultivated in gardens, having either blue or yellow flowers. Aconitum lycoctonum (Alpine wolfsbane), is a yellow-flowered species common in the Alps of Switzerland. As garden plants the aconites are very ornamental, hardy perennial plants. They thrive in the garden soils, and will grow in the shade of trees. They are easily propagated by divisions of the root or by seeds; care should be taken not to leave pieces of the root where livestock might be poisoned.The most common plant in this genus, Aconitum napellus (the Common Monkshood) was considered in the past to be of therapeutic and of toxicological importance. Its roots have occasionally been mistaken for horseradish. When touched to one’s lip, the juice of the aconite root produces a feeling of numbness and tingling. This plant is used as a food plant by some Lepidoptera species including Dot Moth, The Engrailed, Mouse Moth, Wormwood Pug, and Yellow-tail.
Aconite has long been used in the traditional medicine of Asia (India, China). In Ayurveda the herb is used to increase pitta (fire, bile) dosha and to enhance penetration in small doses. However more frequently the herb is detoxified according to the samskaras process and studies, cited in the detoxification section below show that it no longer possesses active toxicity. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine as a treatment for Yang deficiency, “coldness”, general debilitation. The herb is considered hot and toxic. It is prepared in extremely small doses. More frequently ginger processed aconite, of lower toxicity, “fu zi” is used. Aconite is one ingredient of Tribhuvankirti, an Ayurvedic preparation for treating a “cold in the head” and fever. Aconite was mixed with patrinia and coix, in a famous treatment for appendicitis described in a formula from the Jingui Yaolue (ca. 220 A.D.) Aconite was also described in Greek and Roman medicine by Theophrastus, Dioscorides, and Pliny the Elder, who most likely prescribed the Alpine species Aconitum lycoctonum. The herb was cultivated widely in Europe, probably reaching England before the tenth century, where it was farmed with some difficulty, but came to be widely valued as an anodyne, diuretic, and diaphoretic. In the nineteenth century much aconite was imported from China, Japan, Fiji, and Tonga, with a number of species used to manufacture alkaloids of varying potency but generally similar effect, most often used externally and rarely internally.
Effects of different preparations were standardized by testing on guinea pigs.In Western medicine preparations of aconite were used until just after the middle of the 20th century, but it is no longer employed as it has been replaced by safer and more effective drugs and treatments. The 1911 British Pharmaceutical Codex regarded the medical uses and toxicity of aconite root or leaves to be virtually identical to that of purified aconitine. Aconite first stimulates and later paralyses/numbs the nerves to the sensations of pain, touch, and temperature if applied to the skin or to a mucous membrane; the initial tingling therefore gives place to a long-continued anaesthetic action. Great caution was required, as abraded skin could absorb a dangerous dose of the drug, and merely tasting some of the concentrated preparations available could be fatal.The local anaesthesia of peripheral nerves can be attributed to at least eleven alkaloids with varying potency and stability.Internal uses were also pursued, to slow the pulse, as a sedative in pericarditis and heart palpitations, and well diluted as a mild diaphoretic, or to reduce feverishness in treatment of colds, pneumonia, quinsy, laryngitis, croup, and asthma due to exposure. Taken internally, aconite acts very notably on the circulation, the respiration, and the nervous system. The pulse is slowed, the number of beats per minute being actually reduced, under considerable doses, to forty, or even thirty, per minute.
The blood-pressure synchronously falls, and the heart is arrested in diastole. Immediately before arrest, the heart may beat much faster than normally, though with extreme irregularity, and in animals the auricles may be observed occasionally to miss a beat, as in poisoning by veratrine and colchicum. The action of aconitine on the circulation is due to an initial stimulation of the cardio-inhibitory centre in the medulla oblongata (at the root of the vagus nerves), and later to a directly toxic influence on the nerve-ganglia and muscular fibres of the heart itself. The fall in blood-pressure is not due to any direct influence on the vessels. The respiration becomes slower owing to a paralytic action on the respiratory centre and, in warm-blooded animals, death is due to this action, the respiration being arrested before the action of the heart. Aconite further depresses the activity of all nerve-terminals, the sensory being affected before the motor. In small doses, it therefore tends to relieve pain, if this is present. The activity of the spinal cord is similarly depressed. The pupil is at first contracted, and afterwards dilated. The cerebrum is totally unaffected by aconite, consciousness and the intelligence remaining normal to the last. The antipyretic action which considerable doses of aconite display is not specific but is the result of its influence on the circulation and respiration and of its slight diaphoretic action.Marked symptoms may appear almost immediately, usually not later than one hour, and “with large doses death is almost instantaneous.” Death usually occurs within 2 to 6 hours in fatal poisoning (20 to 40 mL of tincture may prove fatal). The initial signs are gastrointestinal including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. There is followed by a sensation of burning, tingling, and numbness in the mouth and face, and of burning in the abdomen. In severe poisonings pronounced motor weakness occurs and cutaneous sensations of tingling and numbness spread to the limbs. Cardiovascular features include hypotension, bradycardia, sinus tachycardia, and ventricular arrhythmias. Other features may include sweating, dizziness, difficulty in breathing, headache, and confusion. The main causes of death are ventricular arrhythmias and asystole, paralysis of the heart or of the respiratory center. The only post-mortem signs are those of asphyxia. Treatment of poisoning is mainly supportive. All patients require close monitoring of blood pressure and cardiac rhythm. Gastrointestinal decontamination with activated charcoal can be used if given within 1 hour of ingestion. The major physiological antidote is atropine, which is used to treat bradycardia. Other drugs used for ventricular arrhythmia include lidocaine, amiodarone, bretylium, flecainide, procainamide, and mexiletine. Cardiopulmonary bypass is used if symptoms are refractory to treatment with these drugs.[ Successful use of charcoal hemoperfusion has been claimed in patients with severe aconite poisoning.Poisoning may also occur following picking the leaves without wearing gloves; the aconitine toxin is absorbed easily through the skin. From practical experience, the sap oozing from eleven picked leaves will cause cardiac symptoms for a couple of hours. In this event, there will be no gastrointestinal effects. Tingling will start at the point of absorption and extend up the arm to the shoulder, after which the heart will start to be affected. The tingling will be followed by unpleasant numbness. Treatment is similar to poisoning caused by oral ingestion.Aconitine is a potent neurotoxin that blocks tetrodotoxin-sensitive sodium channels. Pretreatment with barakol 10 mg/kg IV reduces the incidence of aconitine-induced ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachycardia, as well as mortality. Five μg/kg IV of tetrodotoxin has the same effect. The protective effects of barakol are probably due to the prevention of intracellular sodium ion accumulation.Canadian actor Andre Noble died during a camping trip on July 30, 2004 after the accidental consumption of aconite from monkshood.In January 2009, the British ‘Curry Killer’ Lakhvir Singh, killed her lover Lakhvinder Cheema with a curry dish laced with Indian Aconite.
On 11 February 2010 she was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 23 years for the murder. Both Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have methods of processing aconite to reduce its toxicity. In Chinese medicine, the traditional pao zhi or preparation of aconite is to steam it with ginger in a fairly elaborate procedure. Due to the variable levels of toxicity in any given sample of the dried herb, there are still issues with using it. Most but not all cases of aconite toxicity in Taiwan were due to the consumption of unprocessed aconite.According to an article by the Indian scientists Thorat and Dahanukar, “Crude aconite is an extremely lethal substance. However, the science of Ayurveda looks upon aconite as a therapeutic entity. Crude aconite is always processed i.e. it undergoes ‘samskaras’ before being utilized in the Ayurvedic formulations. This study was undertaken in mice, to ascertain whether ‘processed’ aconite is less toxic as compared to the crude or unprocessed one. It was seen that crude aconite was significantly toxic to mice (100% mortality at a dose of 2.6 mg/mouse) whereas the fully processed aconite was absolutely non-toxic (no mortality at a dose even 8 times as high as that of crude aconite). Further, all the steps in the processing were essential for complete detoxification”.Aconitum features in literature in a number of instances:
- ·Wolfsbane has been ascribed with supernatural powers in the mythology relating to werewolves and other lycanthropes, either to repel them, relating to aconite’s use in poisoning wolves and other animals, or in some way induce their lycanthropic condition, as aconite was often an important ingredient in witches’ magic ointments. In folklore, aconite was also said to make a person into a werewolf if it is worn, smelled, or eaten. They are also said to kill werewolves if they wear, smell, or eat aconite. Other accounts claim Wolfsbane is used as a brew to prolong the lycanthropic condition in the event a werewolf became under the full moon’s influence.
- ·In Greek mythology, Medea attempted to poison Theseus with a cup of wine poisoned with wolfsbane. However Aegeus, his father, interceded when he discerned his identity.
- ·In an episode of Home Improvement wolfsbane is given to Tim by Wilson to help him ward off the bad luck he has been experiencing as a presumed result of throwing out a chain letter.
- ·In the book Airman by Eoin Colfer, Marshall Hugo Bonvilain invites Conor’s family to his tower and poisons the wine with wolfsbane which they don’t drink.
- ·Shakespeare, in Henry IV Part II Act 4 Scene 4 refers to aconite, alongside rash gunpowder, working as strongly as the “venom of suggestion” to break up close relationships (cf Iago’s role in Othello).
- ·John Keats, in his Ode on Melancholy, writes:
No, no, go not to Lethe, neither twist Wolf’s bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kissed By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine…
- ·Aconitum plays a major role in the story “The Cardinal Napellus” by Gustav Meyrink. It is identified with religious beliefs and connected to the idea of fate.
- ·Wolfsbane is mentioned in one of the verses of the Wiccan Rede:
Widdershins go when the Moon doth wane, An’ the Werewolf howls by the dread Wolfsbane.
- ·A gypsy poem was written for the Lon Chaney, Jr. series of werewolf movies; it has been quoted in other werewolf movies as well:
Even those who are pure of heart, and say their prayers at night, can become a wolf, when the wolfsbane blooms and the autumn moon is bright.
- ·In the third book of the Brother Cadfael series, Monk’s Hood, the herbalist Cadfael uses aconite as an ingredient in a liniment, which is later stolen and used to poison a victim. It is occasionally referenced in other situations as well.
- ·In Children of the Vampire, the second book in Jeanne Kalogridis vampire series, wolfsbane is named as an ingredient for a very powerful elixir designed to transform one into the form of a wolf (or perhaps other creatures as well) so as to commence training to become a vampire-killer.
- ·Wolfsbane in the Harry Potter series is a toxic plant that can be used as an ingredient in the Wolfsbane Potion, a potion werewolves use to maintain their rationality and conscience when transformed into a wolf. During the events of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, the werewolf Remus Lupin forgets to take his dose of Wolfsbane Potion that Severus Snape prepared for him and ends up turning into a werewolf during the full moon.
- ·An overdose of aconite was the method in which Rudolph Bloom, father of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, committed suicide.
Rudolph Bloom died… in consequence of an overdose of monkshood (aconite) selfadministered in the form of a neuralgic liniment…
- ·Aconite poisoning is used as a means of disposal in the Alistair MacLean novel Bear Island.
- ·In Brian Jacques’s Redwall book Outcast of Redwall, Veil the ferret uses wolfsbane to poison one of the residents of Redwall Abbey.
- ·Aconite is also used as a poison in Midsomer Murders, in the episode “Garden of Death”.
- ·In the 1931 film Dracula, Wolfsbane is used to keep Dracula out of households.
- ·Monkshood is used as a plot device in the movie Ginger Snaps, as a means of treating lycanthropy.
- ·A controversial herbal remedy for cancer containing aconite was used by the character Kostoglotov in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s novel Cancer Ward.
- ·The character William Walker, otherwise known as the Wolf Lord, is assassinated, rather appropriately, with aconite in On the Oceans of Eternity, the third book in the Nantucket series by S. M. Stirling.
- ·In Alex Kava’s “A Necessary Evil,” character Father Michael Keller is poisoned by monkshood in his tea.
- ·In the 1998 play by Craig Lucas, The Dying Gaul, the main character uses the root of a monkshood plant to poison his lover’s wife.
- ·In the British TV series Heartbeat, in the first episode of series 8 (1998), the poisonings are eventually found to be due to common monkshood root mistaken for horseradish and made into sauce in the pub.
- ·It is the namesake for the British alternative metal band Aconite Thrill.
- ·In the video game nethack, wolfsbane is used as a cure for lycanthropy.
- ·In the manga and anime Reborn! one of the villains is named Torikabuto, which is Japanese for wolfsbane. As a reference to the many names of the wolfsbane such as monkshood and Devil’s helmet, Torikabuto is constantly wearing a black hood over his head and a demonic mask on his face.
- ·Wolfsbane is also supposed to be highly deadly towards vampires.
- ·In the video game The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, Monkshood can be harvested and used to make potions.
- ·Hinted at in Stephen King´s Cycle of the Werewolf, in which Reverend Lowe at some point remembers his lycanthropy might have started after he picked up some strange flowers in a graveyard.
- ·While legend suggests that Cleopatra, the last queen of Egypt was killed by a snake bite, many historians actually believe that she committed suicide by swallowing a lethal drug cocktail made of opium, aconitum (wolfsbane) and hemlock, a highly poisonous plant from the parsley family.
- ·In the hit CW TV series The Vampire Diaries, Aconitum Vulperia (wolfsbane) is highly toxic to werewolves, similar to the poisonous effects that vervain has on vampires.
- ·Ino Yamanaka, a character in the anime Naruto, uses Wolfsbane as a weapon, due to its poisonous qualities.
- ·In the video game Assassins Creed Brotherhood, Aconite is a quest item required to gain access to fast poison.
The Werewolf Sacred Stone
The Moonstone is a translucent, milky-colored, flat ovoid gemstone that is approximately “the size of the hockey puck” (resembling milk quartz moreso than true moonstone). The stone plays a key role in the central plot arc of season two, and is sought after by several of the seasons antagonists. Later it was known that the stone is the magical focus of the curse placed on both vampires and werewolves. But ultimately it was known that this was only a hoax created by the oldest vampire in history Klaus. The actual curse was placed in him that sealed away his werewolf side as he is a Hybrid.
The stone is first mentioned, seemingly in passing, by Mason Lockwood, who tells his nephew Tyler that it is a Lockwood heirloom with only sentimental value. Tyler, obviously suspicious, locates the stone in one of his father’s hiding spots and takes it. He initially intends to keep it away from Mason, but after learning of his werewolf curse, and nearly killing a girl by accident, he turns it over to Mason just to be rid of it. Mason reports his success to Katherine, who had apparently sent Mason after the stone.
Jeremy, who has seen the moonstone in Tyler’s possession, informs Damon about it, and offers to retrieve it for him. Alaric locates some of Isobel’s research, which reveals the importance of the moonstone — that it was used to seal the werewolf curse, and could be used to remove it. When Tyler explains to Jeremy that he has given the moonstone over to his uncle, Damon and Bonnie kidnap Mason and extract the stone’s location from his mind. Bonnie then goes off to find Stefan and Elena, who manage to acquire the moonstone before Katherine.
Katherine responds by compelling Elena’s aunt Jenna to stab herself with a knife, and threatens to kill everyone else in Mystic Falls until she gets the stone for herself. Stefan (correctly) guesses that Katherine originally stole the moonstone from someone else, and that it’s part of the reason she had faked her death in 1864. Katherine gains possession of the moonstone, but is trapped in the tomb with it, until Jeremy manages to take the stone from her and throw it to Bonnie outside of the tomb, beyond Katherine’s reach. Bonnie then takes the stone to a powerful witch friend, Luka, for help destroying it. Luka, however, fakes the stone’s destruction, and instead secretly turns it over to his father, who has made a deal with one of the original vampires, Elijah, to acquire the stone.
In Crying Wolf the stone is briefly seen when Elijah shows it to a group of werewolf torturing Damon for information of the stone. When one of then tries to take it from him Elijah kills him and then kills every werewolf in the room but one who escapes. This seems to show that Elijah now usually carries the stone with him all the time.
In The Dinner Party after killing Elijah, Damon finds the stone in his clothes. Its was in the Salvatore’s possession until Know Thy Enemy were Katherine stole to give it to Klaus thinking she could get pardoned by delivering it but it was just a elaborated plan to take her and Moonstone. Its currently in Klaus possession again.
In The Sun Also Rises Klaus have use the moonstone for the ritual, Greta cast a spell that unbinds the “Klaus Curse” which is sealed in the Moonstone so as a result it’s destroyed.
The moonstone was originally used some time in the 15th century, by an Aztec shaman, as the focus of a curse laid on both vampires and werewolves. The effects of the curse made vampires vulnerable to the sun, and tied the werewolves’ transformation to the full moon. As a key part of their curse, the stone is considered immensely valuable to both vampires and werewolves who know of it’s history. With the correct combination of blood (from a werewolf, a vampire, and a doppelganger of the Petrova bloodline), and the stone, a witch could reverse the curse. It is believed that moonstone’s owner could control how the curse was removed; for example, a werewolf could leave the vampires’ curse of the sun in place while removing the werewolves’ curse of the moon.
By 1492, Klaus, the eldest living vampire, had obtained the stone, and intended to break the curse so he could again walk freely in the sun. At that time, the only living doppelganger with the correct ancestry was Katerina Petrova, whom Klaus took captive. Katerina escaped captivity, taking the moonstone with her, then had herself turned into a vampire. While this made her useless to Klaus to break the curse, he still enacted revenge on her, and was determined to reacquire the moonstone.
In 1864, Katerina was now Katherine Pierce, living as a vampire in Mystic Falls. During that time there were many killings by an unknown thing that astonished everyone, even the vampires living there in there ferocity. Unknown to everyone including the vampires the killings were committed by a werewolf. Katherine somehow knew it was caused by a werewolf and that werewolf was George Lockwood. Katherine made a bargain with him. She will give him the moonstone in exchange for keeping his secret and help him scapegoat the town vampires for the murders and help her to escape and fake her own death as if she died with the other vampires. After the Founder’s Council carried out its plan of massacring of all of the vampires in the town at George’s behest, both Katherine and George mutually honored their bargain. George passed the moonstone down through his descendants, until it ultimately was in the possession of Richard Lockwood at the start of the series. It was recently part of a power struggle between vampires and the werewolves and then with the at least temporary defeat of the werewolves, between Klaus and Elena’s protectors Stefan and Damon Salvatore and Bonnie Bennett, a witch who is a friend of the Salvatore Bros. As of Know Thy Enemy Klaus has possession of it. Finally in the episode The Sun Also Rises Klaus used the stone to break the curse and now the stone is destroyed.
In the Episode Plan B, Alaric mentioned that the portion of the werewolves on the curse is sealed in Moonstone but in the episode By the Light of the Moon, Bonnie said that the Moonstone has the curse of the sun and moon.It is unknown what happened to the Moonstone after the sacrifice but it can be assumed that it was destroyed.