Wolf’s bane, otherwise known as Aconitum, monkshood and the Devil’s helmet is a flowering herb found mainly in the Northern Hemisphere that have been traced back to the werewolf legend and mythology since the middle ages. Like garlic in the vampire myth, wolfsbane is thought to produce a strong scent that is intolerable to someone suffering from lycanthropy. Additionally, wolf’s bane in medieval times was thought to cure lycanthropy when used medicinally – in other words, a person suspected of being a werewolf could be given an infusion of wolf’s bane in order to attempt to cure them of their supernatural tendencies. Unfortunately, for the victims of these “cures” the effect was often fatal – as the wolf’s bane herb is typically considered to be fatal when not used in manageable doses.
Unlike the typical mythology surrounding werewolves and silver, wolf’s bane is not thought to kill those afflicted with lycanthropy. At most, as previously discussed, it could be used to cure the werewolf side of an otherwise normal human being. Additionally, wolf’s bane was commonly believed to be a ward against potential werewolf attacks. Since the smell of wolf’s bane is thought to sicken the werewolf when at full strength, it was believed throughout Europe in the medieval period that carrying wolf’s bane could prevent a possible attack – and that the werewolf would move on to another victim that proved to be less difficult to overcome. It was not believed to cause any harm to the werewolf in question if it was smelled or even ingested – the effects were considered to be unpleasant, but nowhere near deadly.
The healing properties of wolf’s bane often overcome its deadly nature and could be contributory to its overall mythology. Although the roots are deadly (a slice of root half the size of a typical grain of white rice is more than adequate to kill an adult quickly) they can easily be diluted in water or other herbal ingredients. Their use can numb pain and act as an anesthetic. Herbal remedies throughout the medieval period often incorporated the use of this common herb in every-day use. Since it was commonly known and commonly used, it is only natural that this herb could translate into mythology in big ways. Deadly and useful, it could be used to keep pain at bay – or bring death in under a minute due to its innate neurotoxin. As werewolf mythology grew and expanded throughout Europe, wolfsbane also grew as a possible solution to the supernatural problem. No scientific studies have been able to examine this herb’s dark connection, but it is continually known in gypsy cultures worldwide from the dark ages through the present.
Wolf’s bane is a powerful sedative and can be linked throughout time and history to the werewolf legend. The two are commonly found hand-in-hand even though no true link has yet been discovered. Most commonly, as stated, it is believed that this herb’s strong scent acts as a deterrent to a werewolf’s heightened sense of smell – regardless of any evidence that this simple herb does anything that is commonly attributed to it.
- Wolfsbane: This plant has been well-known in the werewolf world for quite some time.
- With regards to werewolves, wolfsbane is reputed to repel not kill werewolves and vampires . It is thought that werewolfs will not attack anyone carrying wolfsbane.