The Use of Aconite Root for Neuropathic Pain

 In Naturopathic News

Node Smith, ND

It may be of interest that there was a recent study on the use of aconite for pain. Tincture of aconite has been used traditionally as a pain killer, and only within the last few decades has it fallen out of favor in educational institute. It is an extremely toxic botanical, and needs to be respected. This article actually addresses a processing method that decreases the herbs toxicity.

Recent study on the use of aconite for pain

The root of Aconitum carmichaeli (Ranunculaceae), is a crude drug used in traditional Chinese or Japanese kampo medicine to treat pain associated with coldness. Since aconite root is highly toxic, processing methods for detoxifying have been developed, and toxic ingredients such as aconitine and mesaconitine degrade into benzoylaconine and benzoylmesaconitine by heat-processing. Although the analgesic activity and the toxicity of mesaconitine is strong, those of benzoylmesaconitine are about 1,000-fold weaker than mesaconitine. However, in traditional medicine, processed aconite root has been used for various pains clinically.

What the study revealed

The present study revealed that processed aconite root could relieve neuropathic pain in murine peripheral neuropathy model induced by intraperitoneal injection of oxaliplatin, paclitaxel, or the partial ligation of the sciatic nerve (Seltzer model), and identified that its active ingredient is neoline. In the plasma samples of rats treated with processed aconite root, higher concentrations of benzoylmesaconine and neoline were apparent among Aconitum alkaloids. Subcutaneous injection of benzoylmesaconine did not attenuate the hyperalgesia in mice models. Neoline is a stable compound by heat-processing of aconite root. The present results indicate that processed aconite root and its active ingredient, neoline, are promising agents for the alleviation of neuropathic pain.


1. Yohei Tanimura, Masato Yoshida, Masahiro Ohsawa, Toshiaki Makino. Neoline is the active ingredient of processed aconite root against murine peripheral neuropathic pain model, and its pharmacokinetics in rats. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2019; 111859 DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2019.111859

Node Smith, ND, is a naturopathic physician in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and associate editor and continuing education director for NDNR. His mission is serving relationships that support the process of transformation, and that ultimately lead to healthier people, businesses and communities. His primary therapeutic tools include counselling, homeopathy, diet and the use of cold water combined with exercise. Node considers health to be a reflection of the relationships a person or a business has with themselves, with God and with those around them. In order to cure disease and to heal, these relationships must be specifically considered. Node has worked intimately with many groups and organizations within the naturopathic profession, and helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic Revitalization (ANR), which works to promote and facilitate experiential education in vitalism.

Node Smith graduated from the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) in 2017, and is currently licensed as a naturopathic physician in Oregon and working towards becoming licensed in Saskatchewan, Canada as well.

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