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The Touch of Death
Aconitum napellus
by LizardMoonflower
Citation:   LizardMoonflower. "The Touch of Death: An Experience with Aconitum napellus (exp114315)". Erowid.org. Apr 23, 2020. erowid.org/exp/114315

 
DOSE:
  transdermal Aconitum napellus (fresh)

BODY WEIGHT: 56 kg


It was a summer sunny day and at about 15:40 I decided to take a walk in the mountains and maybe gather some mushrooms on the way. I am genuinely intrigued by the study of plants and mushrooms.

I was completely alone (and this was my first mistake) when I reached a valley where usually some mushrooms grow. As soon as I got there, I found these plants near a river: long stems, dark green leaves, purple flowers on the top: I immediately recognized it as the infamous deadly poisonous Aconitum Napellus, used as a poison by Gallic and Germanic populations during the Roman empire age, and used for potions by witches during medieval times. I decided to take some photographs and to proceed through the valley to search for some mushrooms, but summer was too hot at that time, so there weren't any. After a brief walk I decided to go back to my car, but not without taking some aconitum leaves and flowers with me (second big mistake). I thought I could observe them and maybe in the future try to smoke the plant in small quantities to study the possible effects, so I stopped nearby the river and I started taking a good number of leaves and picking some flowers from the shrub.

I put everything in my bag and I head back for my car, but I had some green juice on my hands so I stopped near the river to wash it off. While I was walking I started to notice that my fingers were tingling, but I thought it was because of the icy water
While I was walking I started to notice that my fingers were tingling, but I thought it was because of the icy water
I washed my hands in. After about ten minutes the tingle in my fingers got worse, but I wasn't concerned about it. I started to search for online information because I was content of what I had found, until I came across a story about a gardener who had died from multiple organ failure after he handled some aconitum plants; also somewhere else it was written that the once the poison enters your body, you start to feel a tingling sensation in the fingers, and then the poison spreads through your arms, and when it gets to your heart, you die from cardiac arrest. At that time I was really scared, and I decided I should get to the car as soon as possible.

I reached the car and my fingers were starting to get completely numb. While driving the numbness had spread up to my elbows, until I couldn't hold the wheel anymore, so I started driving with my wrists (third big mistake). Now I panicked, for the first time in my life I was seriously afraid I would have died shortly. I quickly got my phone (I really don't know how I got it in my hand, probably I stopped my car, but I don't remember since I was acting instinctively) and I called my girlfriend while screaming in terror to call an ambulance because I didn't feel my arms anymore and I would have died soon, while I was driving on hairpin turns without my hands. She was worried but she managed to help me with my panic attack, she told me to stop the car, while she and a friend of mine would come and get me. But I was too scared to wait so I decided to drive to where my girlfriend and my friend were (fourth big mistake). After about twenty minutes the numbness started to subside, so I called my girlfriend again and I told her not to call the ambulance because I was starting to feel better; also I started to feel a strange sensation to the nerves in my arms: it was as if they were stretching while traversed by small electric shocks, it was annoying to say the least. At least I could grab my wheel.

As soon as I reached my girlfriend, I hugged her, we started to search for some more online information, but we only found ingestion-related poisoning and not transdermal absorption, even if they talked about vomit and paralysis, so before calling the ambulance (I was afraid to worry my parents) we decided to wait (fifth big mistake). Now it was 18:00, and me and my girlfriend decide to go to her home. I was nauseous, I had headache and my nerves were still stretching. But I thought I was fine. We had our dinner and then we met some friends outside. We stayed there for a couple of hours, until I started to feel really intoxicated: my heart was beating really slow, my vision was a little blurry, and lights were strange, they had like an alien feeling, my perceptions were slightly altered and had a surreal touch, I had shortness of breath, I felt extremely tired and I had chills, so me and my girlfriend decided to go back home. Some kind of background fear of impending doom would come in waves, even if I didn't feel too much worried, and I felt too tired to be anxious. It was around 22:40 when we got home, I went to bed. I had fever, my forehead was very hot, and I started sweating profusely especially my hands were soaked to the bone. We read that when you start sweating, it means that the intoxication is fading. We went to sleep at around midnight, I was still afraid to die that night, but I wasn't much worried about it anymore, so I fell asleep quickly. My girlfriend, on the contrary, was still really concerned, so she didn't sleep much.

I woke up at 10 the next day, I still felt electric shocks in the nerves in my arms
I woke up at 10 the next day, I still felt electric shocks in the nerves in my arms
, but much less than the day before; I felt physically tired, like a hangover, but nothing more. My mouth was very dry, so I drank a lot of water. Every now and then, while walking around, I needed to stop to catch my breath, like some old heart patient, so I sit quiet for most of the day. The next day I was fine.

I've risked my life. It's been a difficult experience and it could have been much worse. If you see this plant, watch its beauty at safe distance and never touch it.

[Erowid Note: Driving while intoxicated, tripping, or extremely sleep deprived is dangerous and irresponsible because it endangers other people. Don't do it!]

Exp Year: 2019ExpID: 114315
Gender: Male 
Age at time of experience: 24 
Published: Apr 23, 2020Views: 468
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Aconitum napellus (372) : Health Problems (27), Train Wrecks & Trip Disasters (7), Alone (16)

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Experience Reports are the writings and opinions of the individual authors who submit them.
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