Aconite, Fu Zi, 附子, Aconitum carmichaelii

Disclaimer    For educational purposes only.  Do not use as medical advice

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Health Benefits
For: Weakness • Fever • Severe thirst • Acute anxiety • Acute fear of death • Hypersensitivity • Poor circulation, • Heart disease • Rheumatism • Colds • Influenza • Congestion • Neuralgia
Attributes: Anodyne • Analgesic • Anti-inflammatory • Antipyretic • Mild sedative
Products (online examples)



Fu Zi

Chuan Wu Granules

White Fu Zi

Zhi Chuan Wu

Zhi Chuan Wu

Zhi Cao Wu

Research (sample)



Aconitine • Hypaconitine • Talatisamine • Mesaconitine • Jesaconitine • Fuziline • Neoline • Aconine [ref]

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Fun Facts
Other Names: Aconiti Kusnezoffii • Radix Aconiti Carmichaeli Preparata • Szechuan Aconite • Processed Aconite • Monkshood • Bushi(Japanese) • Puja (Korean)
Plant Family: Ranunculaceae

Aconite poisoning:

In Europe, aconite was added to the London Pharmacopoeia in 1788 and to the first US Pharmacopoeia in 1820.  It was later removed from both because of its toxicity.

"One of the first things that is experienced in aconite poisoning is tingling and numbness of the tongue and mouth and a sensation of ants crawling over the body. The body temperature begins to drop and the individual starts to feel cold and clammy. The pulse rate drops at first, but then may become irregular. With increasing toxicity, nausea and vomiting with epigastric pain begin, the breathing becomes labored and the pupils dilate to cause blurring of vision. It also seems to have a predilection for the trigeminal nerve, the main motor nerve to the face, with resulting facial paralysis. Anxiety and great fear are liable to occur as a sense of suffocation and collapse supervene. Death can occur in a few hours."— Souter

Over 250 species, including: Aconitum napellus (Europe), Aconiti Carmichaeli, Aconiti Kusnezoffii (Asia).

Plant can do well in full sun or partial shade.  Always wash hands when handling aconite plants since the toxicity of the plant can cause respiratory problems and skin irritation. 

Aconitum carmichaelii is in the USDA Plant Database.  Drill down via USDA Interactive Map:

USA: not available in the wild. USDA Zones: 4-8

World: Japan, Central China, Eastern Russia

Habitats: Moist woodlands, edge of streams, rivers, ponds, grassy slopes 

Properties, Actions, Indications, etc.              Category:  
English: Aconite    Pinyin:        Pharmaceutical: Radix Aconiti Carmichaeli Preparata    
Organs: Heart • Spleen • Kidney      Temperature: Hot 
Taste: Pungent      Toxicity: Highly toxic • Toxicity can be reduce when prepared with salt or honey.
Patterns: Collapsed yang qi • Collapse spleen yang qi • Collapsed kidney yang qi • Collapsed heart qi
Actions:  Restore devastated yang • Warm channels • Warms interior cold • Relief pain • Strengthen Ming Men fire
Indications: Acute diarrhea • Vomiting • Faint pulse • Placid complexion • Abdominal pain
Contraindications: Soy sauce • Millet • Pregnancy • False cold, true heat • Incompatible with: Bai Ji, Bai Lian, Ban Xia, Chuan Bei Mu, Gua Lou Pi, Gua Lou Ren, Gua Lou Shi, Tian Hua Fen, Zhe Bei Mu • Cao Wu is antagonized by Xi Jiao
Typical Dosage: 1.5g to 15g • boil for 60 min to mitigate toxicity before adding any ingredients          Guidelines
Parts Used: Roots
Other: Fu Zi • Tian Xiong • Wu Tou • Chuan Wu • Cao Wu • Zhi Chuan Wu • 附子 • 制川乌 • 乌头 • 天雄 • 草烏
Combine With Purpose
Fu Zi+Ren Shen Yang qi collapse, acute qi deficiency, dizziness, weak breathing, placid complexion, cold hands and feet
Fu Zi+ Bai Zhu + Fu Ling Spleen yang deficiency, Kidney yang deficiency, aching hands and feet, poor urination, abdominal pain
Fu Zi +Gui Zhi + Ren Shen Heart yang deficiency, palpitations, chest pain, breathing difficulties, weakness, dizziness, pale complexion
Fu Zi + Gan Jiang+ Gan Cao Boost qi and yang.  Collapse spleen and kidney yabg.  Chills, diarrhea, cold hands and feet
Fu Zi + Huang Qi Unexplained sweating and chills from yang deficiency
Fu Zi + Ma Huang + Xi Xin Yang deficiency with wind cold
Dui Yao Pairs Purpose
Fu Zi + Da Huang Warm interior, induce bowel movement, and dispel cold
Zhi Fu Zi + Gan Jiang Collapse yang: Cold hands and feet, faint pulse, cold sweat, loss of consciousness, vomiting, diarrhea
Formulas with Fu Zi
Bai Tong Tang • Da Huang Fu Zi Tang • Di Huang Yin Zi • Fu Zi Li Zhong WanGui Zhi Jia Fu Zi Tang • Gui Zhi Shao Yao Zhi Mu Tang • Hei Xi Dan • Huang Tu Tang • Jia Wei Shen Qi Wan • Jin Gui Shen Qi Wan • Ma Huang Xi Xin Fu Zi Tang • Shen Fu Tang • Shen Qi Wan • Shi Pi Yin • Si Ni Jia Ren Shen Tang • Si Ni Tang • Tong Mai Si Ni Tang • Tu Si Zi Wan • Wen Pi Tang • Wu Mei Wan • Wu Tou Tang • Xiao Xu Ming Tang •  Xiao Huo Luo Dan  • You Gui Wan • You Gui Yin • Zai Zao San • Zan Yu Dan • Zhen Wu Tang
Variations for Fu Zi
The variations depend on the part and shape of the root along with how the root is processed.  Below are common types of Aconite.  This plant is highly toxic - use with great caution and only under the supervision of a doctor.  Overdose can occur even with prescriptions because the concentration of aconitine in a plant can vary by location.  It is imperative that patients decoct the formula according to directions.  Cooking aconite at least 60 minute is required to reduce its toxicity before adding any herbs.

Two main plant types:

草乌 • Cao Wu • Cao Wu Tou • Aconiti Kusnezoffii (mother root) • Wild • Most Toxic

乌头/川乌 • Wu Tou/Chuan Wu/Chuan Wu Tou • Aconiti Carmichaeli (mother root) • Cultivated • Less toxic than Cao Wu. 


附子 • Fuzi Offspring • connecting root-tuber

天雄 • Tian Xiong (Heavenly Male) • childless (no Fuzi; one main tuber)


制川乌 • Zhi Chuan Wu (Processed mother root) • Processing reduces toxicity

制 附子 • Zhi Fuzi  (Processed Offspring • connecting root-tuber) reduced toxicity

黑附片 • Hei Fu Pian (Processed black connecting tubers, Fu Zi) 

白附片 • Bai Fu Pian (Processed white connecting tubers, Fu Zi)

生附子 • Sheng Fu Zi (Raw connecting tubers, Fu Zi) • highly toxic • rarely prescribed except in emergencies or topical application only.

Be cautions with all medicine.
  • Aconite is incompatible with soy sauce
  • Aconite is highly toxic and should not be used without a doctor's oversight
  • Aconite is incompatible with Bai Ji, Bai Lian, Ban Xia, Chuan Bei Mu, Gua Lou Pi, Gua Lou Ren, Gua Lou Shi, Tian Hua Fen, Zhe Bei Mu
  • Aconite is antagonized by Xi Jiao


Potential Drug Interactions

Herbal medicine may interact negatively with pharma drugs and other herbs.  Examples below:

Herbs: ♦ Incompatible with: Bai Ji • Bai Lian • Ban Xia • Chuan Bei Mu • Gua Lou Pi • Gua Lou Ren • Gua Lou Shi • Tian Hua Fen • Zhe Bei Mu ♦ Cao Wu antagonized by Xi Jiao

Pharma Drugs:

Information in this post came from many sources, including class notes, practitioners, websites, webinars, books, magazines, and editor's personal experience.  While the original source often came from historical Chinese texts,  variations may result from the numerous English translations.   Always consult a doctor prior to using these drugs.  The information here is strictly for educational purposes. 

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