Wolfsbane is perennial Alpine woodland wildflower and a member of the deadly aconite family.
It grows to about 3 feet tall, spreads out in clumps and produces lovely spikes of ivory, green or bright yellow pitcher-shaped flowers from spring to midsummer. The bright green leaves are palmately shaped and deeply lobed and toothed.
A member of the aconite family, wolfsbane is highly toxic.
Aconitum vulparia or Aconitum lycoctonum
Alpine aconite, various spellings of “wolfbane”, Wolf’s bane
This plant is known for its striking blue-purple flowers and is often grown in cool, mountainous regions, thriving in well-drained soil.
Wolfsbane holds correspondences with the planet Saturn and the element water, making it a valuable addition to rituals and spells related to protection and banishing negativity.
In the realm of healing, Wolfsbane is potent but highly toxic, and its traditional uses include pain relief, anti-inflammatory properties, and even as a poison for hunting and warfare.
When used in magick, Wolfsbane is employed for banishing, protection, and transformation spells, making it a versatile tool for practitioners of the occult.
History and Folklore
Wolfsbane gets its name from the fact that it was once used to kills wolves. I have seen it reported that it was used to poison arrows when hunting wolves by the ancient Greeks and that it was used to poison meat left out by farmers.
In Greek myth, Medea attempted to poison Theseus by putting wolfsbane in his wine.
Wolfsbane germinates in response to snowmelt, so it can be somewhat difficult for the backyard gardener to get it going.
You could try planting it in the fall so that the seeds experience the winter freeze and thaw if you live in an area that experiences a good hard freeze in the winter with plenty of snow. Alternatively, you could try soaking and freezing the seeds in a wet paper towel for a few weeks before soaking them for several days in cold water and then planting.
You should be aware that its toxic compounds are also contained in its seeds, so use gloves when handling the seeds and disposing of water it has been soaked in.
It is much easier to propagate by division, which is possible after a few years of growth due to its clumping habit.
Wolfsbane likes a moist, shady or partly shaded spot with rich soil full of organic material in a spot that will not be bothered by children or pets. It will grow best in USDA zones 5-8. Wolfsbane does not tend to suffer damage from wildlife, but aphids like it.
Bees enjoy wolfbane.
Correspondences of Wolfsbane
|Monkshood, Aconite, Queen of Poisons
|Protection, banishing, warding
|Nerve tonic, pain relief, anti-inflammatory
|Third Eye, Root
Healing with Wolfbane
Wolfsbane has been used historically as a treatment for lycanthropy (werewolf-ism) and as an antidote to other poisons. It is extremely toxic and should not be used for healing by the lay herbalist.
|Wolfsbane used in herbal remedies for nervous system ailments
|External application of Wolfsbane for pain relief
|Wolfsbane preparations for reducing inflammation
|Historically used as a sedative and sleep aid
Wolfsbane in Magick
Wolfsbane has traditionally been used to protect homes from werewolves and can be used to prevent shapeshifting.
Bundles of wolfsbane could be placed around barns and pastures to protect livestock from predators (taking care that the livestock have no access to it, lest they be killed themselves).
|Carrying or wearing Wolfsbane for personal safety
|Using Wolfsbane in rituals to remove negative energy or entities
|Placing Wolfsbane near entrances for protection
|Burning Wolfsbane as incense during divination
|Historically used in rituals as a potent poison
Because of its baneful nature, it could be used in sympathetic magic to bring harm to another by creating “elf bolts” of sharpened flint dipped in wolfsbane juice and piercing a poppet for the victim with them.
Wolfsbane is a baneful herb and ingesting even a small amount can kill you. It can be absorbed through the skin as well, causing numbness, tingling, and dermatitis, so use gloves when handling wolfsbane. It should be clearly labeled and planted in a part of the garden inaccessible to children, pets, and livestock.
Once harvested, store it in a tightly sealed jar on a high shelf, once again, clearly labeled.
Some symptoms of wolfsbane poisoning include vomiting, sweating, frothing at the mouth, confusion, dizziness, numbness, and tingling about the face, mouth, and limbs, a burning sensation in the abdomen.
Symptoms appear within an hour of exposure and death follows within 6 hours. In the case of accidental ingestion, activated charcoal given within one hour may slow the poison, but the patient must receive supportive care in the hospital as soon as possible. In the case of exposure through the skin and membranes, flush with water and seek supportive medical care as soon as possible.