DescriptionAconitum heterophyllum is a species of flowering plant. It is used in Indian systems of traditional medicine including Ayurveda
Aconitum heterophyllum (A. Heterophyllum) is an ayurvedic medicinal plant used as the main ingredient in many formulations mentioned in the Ayurvedic Formulary of India. Aconitum species are also used as major components in Chinese and Bhutanese herbal medicines. This plant is also known in Indian English as atees and atis root, in Sanskrit as ativisha, shuklakanda, aruna, and vishada, in Urdu as atees, in Hindi as atis and atvika, in Bengali as ataish, in Telugu as ati vasa, in Gujarati as ativa Kahani, in Marathi as ati vish, in Kannada as ati-vishsa, in Malayalam as ati-vidayam, and in Panjabi as atis
A. Heterophyllum falls under the plant Kingdom, ‘Magnoliophyta’ division, and belongs to the Ranunculaceae family and the Aconitum genus. About 300 species of Aconitum are found worldwide, of which 24 species are found in India. Medicinal A. Heterophyllum consists of dried, tuberous roots of A. heterophyllum Wall. ex. Royle, a perennial herb native to the western Himalayas and found in Kashmir, Uttarakhand Sikkim, and Nepal at altitudes between 2,500 and 4,000 m. Most of the species are highly toxic in nature, are known as the Queen of all poisons, with several species having been used, and still being used, on the tips of hunting spikes. Thus, this plant must be handled carefully.
The plant A. Heterophyllum is reported to have antidiarrheal, expectorant, diuretic, hepatoprotective, antipyretic and analgesic, antioxidant, alexipharmic, anodyne, anti-atrabilious, anti-flatulent, anti-periodic, anti-phlegmatic, and carminative properties; furthermore, it can be used to treat patients with reproductive disorders.
The roots of A. Heterophyllum appear whitish-grey in color and are 2.0 – 7.5 cm long and 0.4 – 1.6 cm or thicker at their upper extremities, decreasing in thickness towards a tapered end (Fig. 2). Stems are simple and branched 15 – 20 cm in height, and green in color. A. Heterophyllum is a small plant with a straight stem, but sometimes occurs with branches.