Vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox)

The perennial herbaceous shrub known as vatsanabha (Aconitum ferox) has tuberous roots and can reach a height of three feet. This plant has simple, alternating, cleft or lobed, oval-shaped leaves. The size of the leaves increases toward the bottom of the plant, while the leaves growing on top are shorter and smaller. This plant has tubercles that are yellow on the inside and dark brown on the outside. Fruits resemble capsules in the shape of tubes or a helmet with an opening at the top. This plant has a highly appealing name because it produces gorgeous zygomorphic flowers with plenty of stamens in shades of pink, yellow, and blue. Fruits and flowers start to appear in July and continue until November.

General Description

Aconitum ferox is also known by the common names aconite, monkshood, wolf's bane, leopard's bane, Indian vish, bikh, mouse bane, women's bane, devil's helmet, queen of all poisons, and blue rocket. Vatsanabha is the most toxic herb in Ayurveda, however, other deadly herbs include Ahiphena, Bhanga, Dhatura, Langali, Karvira, and Jayapal. A high dosage of it could have lethal consequences and could result in death.

In Ayurveda, a high dosage might result in eight different phases, which are shown below:-

  • 1st stage - Skin rashes
  • 2nd stage – Tremors
  • 3rd stage – Burning sensation
  • 4th stage – Mouth frothing
  • 5th stage - Severe pain and tiredness of shoulders
  • 6th stage – Coma
  • 7th stage – Finally causes death

Although it is an extremely hot and bitter plant, when used in its purified state, it is considered a good rasayana and anti-tridosha in Ayurveda, primarily targeting the vata and kapha doshas. It is a heart tonic, analgesic, antipyretic, and anti-inflammatory. The roots of this plant contain toxic alkaloid chemicals called pseudodaconitine and aconitine.

Purification of Vatsanabha

  • Vatsanabha roots are wrapped in a piece of cotton cloth to be purified. For three days, the roots that are knotted are submerged in the urine of cows. Every day, sunshine reaches these roots. Fresh water is added to cow urine that has been exposed to sunshine. The dried and preserved purified roots are kept for medical purposes after the third day.
  • The second way to purify roots is to cook tiny roots in either goat or cow milk for three hours. The greatest remedy for eliminating blue aconite poisoning is thought to be milk.


  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Order - Malvales
  • Family – Malvaceae


Native to India, Vatsanabha grows in the high alpine parts of the Himalayas, which are located between 10,000 and 15,000 feet in elevation. It grows in large quantities on the highest slopes of Darjeeling and West Bengal. This plant has more than 100 native species in the northern hemisphere.


  • English name – Monk's hood, Aconite
  • Hindi name – Bachang,Meetha teliya, Meetha vish
  • Punjabi name – Shyam mohair, Mohari
  • Bengali name –  Katvish, Mitha vish, Kathvish
  • Bihari name – Dakara
  • Gujarati name – Bachang, Basang
  • Kannada name – Vatsanabhi
  • Marathi name – Bachang
  • Telugu name – Nabhi

Ayurvedic properties


Hindi / Sanskrit


Rasa (Taste)

Madhura, Tikta, Katu, Kashaya

Sweet, Bitter, Pungent, Astringent

Guna (Physical Property)

Laghu, Tikshana, Vyavayi

Light, Sharp, Piercing

Virya (Potency)



Vipaka (Post-Digestive Taste)



Effects on Doshas

The herb is known as Tridoshghna because it balances all three doshas but wonderfully pacifies vata and kapha dosha.

Charak Samhita

Sushrut Samhita

Sathawar Visha – Poisonous herb

Kanda Visha - A group of herbs that are poisonous as a tuber.

Practical uses

  • Vatsanabha is a herb with appetizer, digestive, anti-pyretic, analgesic, and anti-rheumatic properties, 
  • This herb is used to treat fevers of all kinds since it has antipyretic properties. This herb is most effectively used in Ayurveda to treat Sannipataj fever.
  • It treats respiratory problems. It provides considerable relief and is utilized to get rid of surplus phlegm. It is applied to the management of chronic obstructive lung disorders like asthma.
  • It serves as a cardiac tonic and a hypotensive agent. It lowers palpitations and is used as a sedative for the heart and nerves.
  • This herb is utilized as an aphrodisiac in Ayurveda, and it also works wonders for urinary tract issues and seminal ejaculations.
  • Additionally having anti-inflammatory properties, this herb is used to treat rheumatism and neuralgia. It is applied to relieve joint discomfort and inflammation.
  • The plant's fruits include bronchodilator, anti-inflammatory, and anti-asthmatic properties.
  • This herb stimulates the digestive tract and has a strong potency. It also aids in enhancing the body's nutrition.
  • This herb is also helpful in treating spleen enlargement and other spleen-related conditions.

Part Used

The greatest portion of this herb to utilize after adequate cleaning is the tuberculous roots.


Due to its toxic nature, Vatsanabha should only be used after purification. The dose of this herb, purified, is 60–125 mg.


Aconitum ferox is thought to be the most hazardous herb since it contains the most toxic alkaloid, pseudodacotinine. A lethal dosage of this herb could result in the following symptoms:

  • severe vomiting
  • Both lower and upper limb paralysis
  • Injury to the nerves that could cause a coma
  • Sharp decline in blood pressure
  • Body exhaustion
  • Lack of vision
  • Heart and kidney failure
  • Ends up with death

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