Skip to main content


Table 6 Informants’ descriptions of poisonings with Aconitum spp.

From: Rare tradition of the folk medicinal use of Aconitum spp. is kept alive in Solčavsko, Slovenia

Informant’s description Cause of the poisoning
1. My father was very hot, and as usual he wanted to drink a little bit of cognac to not catch a cold. He confused cognac with voukuca. (Informant J, woman, 89 years old) Voukuca was mistaken for cognac.
2. My mother often drank a little bit of homemade fruit brandy. But one time she confused the fruit brandy with voukuca. She felt better when she was outside and walking, although the children had to assist her with walking. The problems lasted for approximately three hours. (Informant O: woman, 86 years old) Voukuca was mistaken for fruit brandy.
3. At the end of work on the farm, some old women gave a drink to a boy who helped them, but the women had mistaken fruit brandy for voukuca, and the boy died.
(Informant M: woman, 69 years old)
(The informant reported this case after narration by her sister.)
Voukuca was mistaken for fruit brandy.
4. My husband’s grandmother gave some homemade fruit brandy to workers at the end of the work on the farm. When she was pouring the last glass, a small root of aconite/voukuca came out of the bottle. She immediately gave everybody milk to drink, and because of fear, she moved to some small cottage for a few days. Fortunately, all the workers survived. (Informant P: woman, 66 years old; and informant A: woman, 82 years old) Voukuca was mistaken for fruit brandy.
5. When I was ill, my younger sister brought me a medicine to drink. I started to suffocate and called my mother. She immediately realized that I was poisoned with voukuca and gave me milk to drink until I threw up everything. (Informant A: woman, 82 years old) Voukuca was not protected from the reach of children.
6. My brother and his friend were collecting medicinal plants in the wild, and suddenly something stung my brother’s neck. He scratched his neck with his hands, but he had collected aconite with them previously. In this way, he poisoned his blood and developed bulging eyes, a red neck, and blisters under his arms. The doctor gave him injections against the poisoning, and he got better.b (Informant H: woman, 82 years old) This was most likely not a poisoning with Aconitum spp. but an allergic reaction.
7. My brother cleaned and prepared aconite roots for voukuca but accidentally left a small piece of aconite on the floor in front of the house. At that time, we also had released pigs outside, and one of them ate the root. The pig started to salivate, and we gave him milk to drink. (Informant B: woman, 88 years old) Carelessness in cleaning up the workplace
8. My father told me that a farmhand once committed suicide by drinking a spoonful of “voukuc”. He died instantly.
(Informant D, woman, 77 years old)
Intentional poisoning
- suicide
9. A woman had a fight with her husband, and then she drank voukuca. The woman got very weak and started foaming at the mouth.She survived because people gave her milk to drink until she threw up everything.
(Informant I: woman, 78 years old; and informant H: woman, 82 years old)
Intentional poisoning
- a suicide attempt
  1. aBoth Aconitum spp. plants and the ethanolic extract from roots of Aconitum spp. are called voukuc in Solčavsko
  2. bThe informant probably reported an allergic reaction and not a poisoning with Aconitum spp.