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Potter’s potions
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  • Published on:
    Aconite - advice on more than a name
    • Debbie J Shaw, Senior Scientist
    • Other Contributors:
      • Elizabeth A. Dauncey

    McGregor et al. (1) posed the question “What is the difference…between monkshood and wolfsbane?”, but looked to a work of fiction for the answer, rather than a botanical text. Monkshood is a common name for Aconitum napellus, which is native to the UK, and has blue -mauve flowers. Wolfsbane, or wolf’s bane, refers to A. lycoctonum, a yellow-flowered species from continental Europe through to Western Asia. T...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.
  • Published on:
    Potter's potions: Aconite poisoning
    • Nicola Bates, Specialist in Poisons Information
    • Other Contributors:
      • Grainne Cullen, Frances Northall, and Nick Edwards

    Dear Sir

    Guy’s and St Thomas’ Poisons Unit (GTPU) has over 100 enquiries about aconite poisoning on its case database. There is a large amount of literature on the subject including toxicity from the plant itself and herbal preparations; however it is a relatively rare cause of poisoning in the UK. GTPU was consulted over a fatal case of intentional aconite poisoning in 1992. This patient had a cardiac arrest...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.