Werewolf Fact of the Day

Werewolf Book 2e
ISBN: 9781578593675

What herb was believed to both cause and cure werewolves?

  • It is also called Aconitum papellus.
  • It can be used as a pain reliever.
  • It is extremely poisonous, and requires great medicinal skill to spply.
  • It helped link botanically-gifted witches with werewolves.


Aconitum napellus, a type of wolfsbane, contains a poison called aconite that, if used carefully in lower dosages can also be a pain reliever. It could possibly also cause hallucinations that convince the patient he or she is a werewolf.

If applied in fatal dosages, wolfsbane would truly repel a werewolf or any other physical being, for it is extremely poisonous. Perennial herbs of the buttercup family (Ranunculaceae) are divided into two genera: Aconitum and Eranthis. The flowering Aconitum branch, which includes wolfsbane or monkshood, is the deadly one for it exudes the substance aconite. In Nepal, where the most poisonous variety grows, warriors used the flower to tip their arrows or to turn their enemies' wells into lethal water supplies.

In the skillful, caring hands of an herbalist, however, proper dosages of wolfsbane can be a very effective pain-reliever or a tonic. Since so many of the Witches of the Middle Ages were accomplished herbalists, it is easy to assume that they knew well how to apply wolfsbane for curative or destructive purposes. While the fabled ointment that could transform the sorcerer into a werewolf is sometimes thought to be wolfsbane, the potion would need to be mixed with extreme care or certain death would have resulted. It is possible, of course, that the correct proportions could have created a hallucinogenic effect that might have caused the initiate to believe that he had shape-shifted into a wolf.

From The Werewolf Book: The Encyclopedia of Shape-Shifting Beings, Second Edition by Brad Steiger, (c) 2012 Visible Ink Press(R) Steiger's homage to the beast within provides meaty facts for the lycanthropic in all of us.

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