So, a good friend of mine was recently in the UK for her honeymoon, and brought me back a present that she picked up in Glastonbury, namely a tincture of Eranthis hyemalis, which wikipedia tells me is commonly known as Winter Aconite (the bottle is merely labeled "Aconite", but then in the ingredients it says Eranthis hyemalis). I searched the forum, but only found information on true Aconite (aka Monkshood, Wolf's Bane, et al), (which, by the way, despite being mentioned a bit in passing, didn't seem to have any in-depth discussions on the topic, nor a thread devoted to it). I couldn't find *any* information on Eranthis on the forum. If I've overlooked something, forgive me, and please do point me in the right direction. I should note that I also searched Sarah Ann Lawless' blog and found no information on this plant there either, and that I also searched for information on Adonis vernalis (pheasant's eye, false hellebore), which has similar chemical compounds as Winter Aconite, and found no information on it on either this forum or Sarah Ann Lawless' blog. (Also, I wasn't sure if this was the right subforum for this topic or not, so feel free to move it if need be).
Wikipedia makes the poisoning from this stuff sound pretty scary: "All parts of the plant are poisonous when consumed by humans and other mammals, because it contains cardiac glycosides similar to those present in Adonis vernalis. Glycosides of this type stimulate the heart when administered in small doses, but in very large doses may cause serious, often irreparable heart damage. Symptoms of poisoning include colicky abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, disturbed vision, dyspnea, bradycardia and, in severe cases, cardiac arrest. Specific cardiac glycosides present in E.hyemalis include Eranthin A and B, belonging to the bufadienolide group,[ found also in (and named for) toad venom."
Of course, if you look up poisoning symptoms for, say, Datura or something, those sound pretty scary, too, but that doesn't stop people who know what's what from using them, internally and otherwise. However with no information at hand regarding how this is used, nor any way to really find out how it was prepared, I'd be pretty hesitant to ingest it. My friend said she was pretty sure that it was watered down to a point that it's probably safe to take internally, but, uhhhhhh, that's not really reassuring. The bottle itself says lists as ingredients: Eranthis hyemalis, brandy 50%, and water from Chalice Well and White Spring. It also recommends 7 drops on the tongue as needed, and says that it "supports fearlessness".
So that's about all I've got. I'd love to hear what other people have to say about this plant. Experiences with taking it internally? Topically? What are the effects like? What is the spirit of the plant like? Magical uses? And how do all of these compare with other poison plants?
I should note that my poison plant experience is pretty minimal; I've worked a tiny bit with mandrake, henbane, and amanita muscaria, and have a fair amount of experience with thujone-containing plants (mostly mugwort, but some others, too). (Also I have extensive experience with psychedelics, but that's a horse of a different color).
PS: I guess delving into this topic would be a pretty good reason to go out and get some of the books on this list that I've been meaning to get.