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Aconitine (Queen of Poisons) and related alkaloids found in the Aconitum species are highly toxic cardiotoxins and neurotoxins. Aconite is a herbaceous perennial plant, chiefly native of the northern hemisphere, growing in moisture retentive but well-draining soils of the mountain meadows. At present, more than 120 species of the plant have been found. Severe aconite poisoning occurs after accidental ingestion of the wild plant or consumption of an herbal decoction made from aconite roots. This review paper discusses some of the pharmacological activities of the aconite plant and its chief constituent aconitine. The effect of KB-R7943, the sodium-calcium exchange (NCX) blocker, on aconitine-induced arrhythmias in Guinea pigs using the ECG recordings suppressed abnormal electrical activity, but SEA did not show such effects. Aconitine also mediates the phosphorylation status of Cx43 and PKCα in the cultured ventricular myocytes of neonatal rats. These reports collected are very encouraging and indicate that the plant should be studied more expensively for its therapeutic benefits.
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