In the fourth episode of MTV’s Teen Wolf, a new hunter in town puts werewolf Derek’s life in danger by shooting him with a unique bullet, forcing Scott and Stiles to help him survive. While having dinner with Allison and her father Scott meets Allison’s aunt, the very werewolf hunter that shot Derek. Scott does some snooping and discovers a box with “Aconit Napel Bleu Nordique” engraved on the side, and inside that box are bullets. After doing a translation of the engraving on his phone Scott learns that it means “Nordic Blue Monkshood.” Ever since this episode fans having been searching for the significance behind monkshood and its ties to werewolves, seeing if there was any truth to the episode, and actually, there is – people have been using this plant against werewolves for hundreds of years.
In the episode Derek tells Stiles that Nordic Blue Monkshood is a rare form of wolfsbane, and the truth is that both monkshood and wolfsbane are incredibly toxic plants that belong to the aconitum genus. There are many different species of wolfsbane and monkshood, but they’re virtually the same, and they have both been used against werewolves in the past. It was once believed that aconite (better known as wolfsbane, monkshood, devils bile, devil’s helmet) could cause one to transform into a wolf, but they later learned that it only caused hallucinations of turning into a wolf. After some time it wasn’t known as the plant that created wolves, but one that killed them – which is how it got the name “wolfsbane.”
As I said, these plants are highly toxic, seriously, they can kill you, so don’t go messing with them. The poison in these plants affect the nervous system, it can cause sweats, cramps, tremors, extreme pain, hallucinations and death.
Onwards. Since it was such a deadly plant hunters would mix it with bait to kill off wolves that were wreaking havoc in the area. When werewolf hysteria spread throughout Europe, with countless individuals labeled as werewolves and even executed for it, wolfsbane became more than the plant to take down wolves, it also became the plant to use against werewolves. However, like all old traditions and legends, there are different versions in different areas. While some believed that aconite would repel or kill a werewolf, there were a few others that thought that the plant actually attracted them or brought out their inner wolf.
The folklore and stories on this plant is very mixed, but for the most part it was believed it could kill werewolves. Thanks to the entertainment world, wolfsbane and monkshood has taken on new meanings, there are loads of films and books that feature aconite, but the authors have put their own spin on it, which is why there are so many ideas surrounding the plants. Like Teen Wolf, the writers took a plant with countless years of werewolf history and turned it into their own by having it later heal Derek. How the wolf killing plant heals him is beyond me, but that’s the great thing about fiction, you can do anything you want.