Foxglove scientifically known as digitalis lanata is a beautiful looking indigenous herb that is widely seen throughout Europe. The Foxglove is a favourite flower of the honey-bee, and is entirely developed by the visits of this insect.
For that reason, its tall and stately spikes of flowers are at their best in those sunny, midsummer days when the bees are busiest.
One of the most important properties of the foxglove plant is its action on the blood circulation of the individual.
When foxglove is absorbed in the body, the first consequence is a shortening or tensing of the heart and arteries, leading to a spurt in the blood pressure. One of the main chemical compounds responsible for healing in the foxglove plant is a glycoside known as digitoxin.
In recent times, digitoxin has been chemically isolated in medical labs and is now artificially synthesized for mass production and medical purposes.
Although the parts of the plant that grow above the ground can be used for medicine, foxglove is considered unsafe for self-medication. All parts of the plant are said to be poisonous.
Foxglove is very toxic and is fatal with an overdose, so its potency was measured very carefully against an unusual standard, some crystals of a substance from another plant, Strophanthus gratus.
In the natural medicine the foxglove isn’t used because it is too dangerous. But you could use it as a homeopathic remedy.
Despite the danger, physicians and herbalists have long turned to foxglove to treat a variety of disorders, including tuberculosis.
There are many medicinal derivatives of foxglove, but the best known and most often prescribed for heart conditions is Digoxin, also called Lanoxin.
Overdose interferes with the electrical rhythm of the heart, causing irregular heartbeat, and also causes a variety of other symptoms including diarrhoea, headache, and vomiting.
Foxglove is used only as a readymade pharmaceutical product prescribed by doctors.