Monk’s-hood is a perennial plant, 50-120 cm tall. The root is thick, tuberous. The stem is erect, branched and hairy. Height large 50-120 cm. Root tuberous. Stem erect, branched, hairy. The leaves are divided into 5-7 parts, length 5-10 cm, width 8-14 cm, arranged alternately. Flowers in a dense cluster. Flowers dark blue or blue violet, size 1-2 cm. Blooms in July, August. The fruit is a co-fruit of some.

All parts of the plant are used in medicine. The surface part is harvested in June-July. The flowers of this plant are also collected at this time.

The plant is rarely found in nature in Latvia, but it sometimes lives in weeds and meadows.

Monk’s-hood are collected in October-November. The gums must be sorted - the old and black ones are thrown away, the brand new ones are left for new sowing. The rest are cleaned from the small roots, washed in running water and laid out on sieves to dry. In a well-ventilated and shaded place. Drying should not be longer than 1-2 weeks. Gums need to be stirred from time to time. To reduce the risk of poisoning with this plant, it is collected and the subsequent operations are carried out with gloves. You can stay in the rooms where the Monk’s-hood is dried for no longer than 2 hours, otherwise you can get poisoned.

It is permissible to dry rubber in forced dryers at a temperature not exceeding 60-80C. Provided that the room in which it takes place has strong ventilation. Leaves and flowers are recommended to be dried naturally; they should not lose their color when they dry.

All parts of this plant contain alkaloids that are harmful to humans. The largest amount of alkaloids is in the roots/gums of the plant, when the plant matures its seeds, the highest concentration of alkaloids in the stems and leaves is at the beginning of flowering and during flowering.

Store the drug in airtight containers, separately from other herbal teas, in a place inaccessible to children, with the indication "Poisonous". Not more than 2 years.

On average, the roots and rhizomes contain 0.9-4.9% of alkaloids of different groups (axinatin, axine, lappacontine, mesacontine, excelazine), as well as coumarins, tannins, flavonoids. The leaves and stems contain a large amount of various trace elements and vitamin C.

Medicinal significance

The Monk’s-hood has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, narcotic, antitumor, analgesic, spasmolytic effects.

Specialists recommend using it in cases resulting in surgery - uterine fibroids, prostate adenoma and other tumors. Diseases that cannot be treated medically - paralysis, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, etc. The basic meaning of the Monk’s-hood is to treat life-threatening diseases such as cancer.

Monk’s-hood is being scientifically studied as a plant that could be used to treat oncological diseases. The alkaloids present in the plant are able to act on human cells, blocking nutrients from reaching them, and accordingly, they could also affect the area affected by the disease. Proper use of the poisonous substances of the plant can reduce the growth of tumors, as well as the formation of metastases. For now, preparations based on this plant for oncology patients are experimental.

Substances that have an immunomodulating effect are found in the leaves of the shoe tree, they act on a person at the cellular level, activating the body's natural defenses. The slightly poisonous effect of the plant helps the body to mobilize and use hidden reserves. Of course, since this plant is very poisonous, its use is allowed only under the supervision of specialists.

The plant also has an analgesic effect. In folk medicine, this plant relieves pain in bones and joints. However, due to the plant's toxicity, it is most often used externally rather than orally. However, following the correct dosage and preparation principles, it is also used orally.

It is important to understand that this is a plant, the composition of which changes depending on the place where it grows, for example, a preparation made from a shoe made in another country can differ drastically from a plant obtained here - in terms of alkaloid content. Therefore, it is very difficult to present an exact recipe for this plant and one must be very careful when reading the recommendations of foreign literature.

Not recommended for use

Monk’s-hood is a plant worthy of careful treatment, as this plant can easily cause a fatal outcome, so it is usually used externally. Making an oral preparation from this plant is difficult and there is a risk of severe poisoning.

It is not recommended to use this plant in case of kidney and liver failure. It is categorically prohibited during pregnancy and lactation, not to mention its use in children.

The use of this plant often causes minor poisoning as a result of micro-overdose. At this moment, it is possible to observe a bad feeling, dizziness, weakness - a dose change is necessary.

It is strictly forbidden to use any part of the plant for self-medication, as it directly threatens your life. The smell of this plant can also cause poisoning, so it is not recommended to grow it as a show plant. 1 gr is enough. this plant to already cause poisoning of the body.

The moment when you need to start looking for a doctor's help: pupils narrow, shortness of breath, heart rate changes, nausea appears, tingling of the tongue, cheeks, fingertips, heat and cold waves in hands and feet, thirst, restlessness, muscle twitching, loss of consciousness. At the initial stage, bradyarrhythmia, extrasystole, and later paroxysmal tachycardia, which turns into ventricular fibrillation, appear. A fatal outcome occurs after 3-5 hours.

First aid

There is no antidote against the Monk’s-hood , so rescue is performed as a way to clean the body and maintain life. Despite what I will mention below, if possible, let the medical staff take care of you and do not start saving yourself. But if it is not possible to get to the doctors, then:

  • drink 0.5-1L of water and induce vomiting. This process is repeated until the stomach is emptied of food;
  • drink 30 gr. magnesium sulfate on 1/2 cup of water;
  • if magnesium sulfate is not available, make an enema. 1 cup of warm water, with household or baby soap flakes added.
  • drink 20-30 gr. crushed activated carbon dissolved in water;
  • drink strong tea or coffee;
  • keep warm with blankets and heating devices;
  • consider all possible options for getting to the doctors and getting to them.


Most often, Monk’s-hood is used in decoctions to treat paralysis, parkinsonism or epilepsy.

10 gr. boil crushed rubber in 1.5L of water on a low flame. Boil for 2 hours until the decoction becomes clean and transparent. Use 1 tablespoon, three times a day before meals.

If you use the Monk’s-hood for a long time, you will experience slight dizziness for a moment. Right at this moment, it will be a signal to stop the treatment and observe a 1-month break. In the following courses, it is possible to increase it a little, because the body will already be used to the previous dose.