Wolfsbane: For Werewolves and Vampires
You may wonder why I am writing about wolfsbane, a plant known for destroying werewolves, on a site about vampires. The reason being that this deadly poison wasn’t only used against werewolves; it was also used upon vampires as well.
To fully grasp the power and beliefs behind wolfsbane we’re going to take a trip to the past and learn about the history of the plant. That’s right, I’m getting all historical on your asses again.
As its name clearly tells us, this plant isn’t exactly wolf friendly, in fact, it is a very deadly poison. When mixed with bait and eaten by a wolf, or even put on arrowheads, knives, swords… etc. and then fired or stabbed into the animal’s body, this toxin is fatal.
Wolfsbane is actually one of hundreds in the aconite family, as is monkshood. Both wolfsbane and monkshood are related to each other (both are toxic) and their significance in folklore is fairly mixed, causing a fusion of ideas.
In folklore, wolfsbane is usually used as a werewolf repellent, protecting people from the big bad wolf. It can even make a werewolf run away… or die, just by the were smelling it or eating it. In modern day fiction wolfsbane is used in nearly every werewolf story. For example, in the book Kitty and the Midnight Hour, the new werewolf, Kitty, tries to free herself from the curse by drinking some wolfsbane tea on the night of a full moon. But unfortunately for her it didn’t work, all it did was make her sick. However, in the movie The Wolfman it is mentioned that moonlight and flowering wolfsbane are needed to cause the transformation from man to wolf.
Before I continue onto the vampire part of this post I should point out the poisonous parts of the plant. Aconite was supposedly an ingredient used by witches for magical ointments. This poison caused tingling on the skin followed by numbness, and it could also cause hallucinations. Now before you crazy kids run off to down some wolfsbane for a good time there’s one big thing you should know – this stuff is deadly! You would have to take a fatal dose to get those trippy effects. No part of the plant should ever be eaten, or even touched. Even touching the plant can cause severe reactions. The whole “being a poison for werewolves” is more than just a myth, it’s a real poison.
Now that we have covered werewolves, we can move onto the vampires. You see, while wolfsbane was used mostly against werewolves, it was known for its anti-evil properties, and therefore used on vampires as well. However, it wasn’t used to kill vampires like it was for werewolves. The plant was instead wielded against vampires in certain parts of Europe, particularly Germany, and used in a manner similar to garlic – for example, it was placed in front doors and windows to keep the undead evils away.
So you see, wolfsbane is useful against vampires. But, because of the deadly effect on humans, this plant was believed to be excellent against destroying or at least, hindering werewolves. So if you vampires out there have a werewolf to kill, this should do the trick.
In all seriousness though, don’t screw around with the plant!
Moonlight (aka Amanda) loves to write about, read about and learn about everything pertaining to vampires. You will most likely find her huddled over a book of vampire folklore with coffee in hand. Touch her coffee and she may bite you (and not in the fun way).