Himalayan Monkshood
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Himalayan Monkshood
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Himalayan monkshood, Monk's hood, Indian atees • Hindi: Ati Vish • Nepali: अतिस Atis
Botanical name: Aconitum heterophyllum var. bracteatum    Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup family)

Himalayan Monkshood is a perennial that grows up to 1-4 ft tall, but often stunted at high altitudes. It can be identified by its rather large deep- or bright-blue flowers, and it's coarsely toothed but otherwise entire upper leaves. It is has a close cousin Greenish Himalayan Monkshood which is different in having greenish-violet flowers. Flowers are 2.5-3 cm, usually in lax spike-like cluster with very variable bracts which are either small linear, small ovate, or large ovate and enclosing the lower part of the flower and fruit. The hood is rounded, broader than long. Leaves are ovate-heart-shaped to rounded, usually 4-8 cm, the upper clasping the stem. All leaves have large rounded teeth. Lowest leaves are deeply lobed and long-stalked. Seedpods are 5, 16-18 mm, shortly hairy, erect. Himalayan Monkshood is found in the Himalayas, from Pakistan to C Nepal, at altitudes of 2400-4000 m.
Medicinal uses: Himalayan Monkshood is used extensively in Ayruvadic medicine. The crushed eaves, mixed with saindhav are applied locally. The seeds crushed in honey are applied locally on throat, in tonsillitis. Nasal insufflations of roots is beneficial in headache. Seed and root are used in ascites. Seeds are laxative. The seeds are diuretic, the root decoction reduces burning of urinary tract. It increases volume of urine.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Valley of Flowers, Uttarakhand.

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