Digitalis purpurea is extremely poisonous.
It’s more common name is foxglove. This is a plant that’s been used as a folk remedy for a very long time. *Wm. Withering (1741-1700) mentioned that in 1775 he received a recipe for curing dropsy using Foxglove. He said that he received this “Long kept secret” from an old woman in Shropshire, England. Although it is my belief that it was used by the native peoples of the Americas long before this.
Foxglove contains the cardiac glycoside digitoxin (from Digitalis purpura and D. lantana) and digoxin (from D. lantana). It is classified as a cardiac Glycoside.
Rather than go into the chemistry of this medicine, let me say simply that it slows and strengthens heart contractions. *It is used to treat Atrial Fibrillation. An abnormal heart rhythm, usually fast. and Congestive Heart Failure or Heart Failure (when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs).
The most common side effects are Dizziness, fainting, fast, pounding, or irregular heartbeat or pulse slow heartbeat.
This plant has saved many lives but it also has cost many lives through trial and error when perfecting its use.
Always use with great care as they can prove toxic if too much is taken (given). Never take any medication without checking with you Doctors orders.
William Withering’s An Account of the Foxglove and Some of Its Medical Uses: With Practical Remarks on Dropsy, and Other Diseases, published in 1785.
I have been thinking about foxglove since I saw some for the first time when I was in Washington last summer. They are so pretty! I picked some and brought them home without knowing how dangerous it was!
I researched it and decided to keep it but marked the bottle as “Toxic.”
My mom has A-Fib and my dad has had a couple of heart attacks. My mom had that laser surgery on her heart to correct it but they couldn’t get it 100%. She takes medicines now and there’s problems with them, or from them.
I wish there were more studies on natural medicines. Western medicine wants to fix everything over night instead of gradually like nature.
I won’t be dosing it up for the family but it would probably be better than what shes taking now!
Thanks for the info @Garnet
Foxglove is a truly gorgeous flower, but you are absolutely right- it is also a dangerous one and should not be lightly handled! ESPECIALLY not by average people- this is a plant that should be left to master herbalists and medical professionals
There is a lot of wisdom in the past that is absolutely worth diving in and exploring, but when it comes to potentially dangerous herbs, I think it’s best to stick to the most recent medical findings and play it safe.
I’m certainly not saying modern Western medicine has it all figured out- on the contrary, I think there are a lot of flaws with the “treat only the symptoms” method of Western medicine. I’m a big fan of using traditional medicine for a more holistic and nature approach to healing
But when it comes to foxglove, any gardener will tell you that this plant is dangerous. All parts are poisonous and it is poisonous to the touch (aka, the toxins can be transferred tot the skin and into any open wounds, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, etc) - it often comes with a warning to keep it away from where children play.
Out of love for the community, I would strongly advise everyone to leave a plant like this to the scientistics and medical researchers. Foxglove is NOT a safe plant to be experimenting with in home medicine. As it is dangerous to even handle, I would say it is also not one that should be lightly used in magickal use either.
Always be careful with what you come across in nature- no matter how beautiful a plant looks, be sure you know what it is before you use it medically or magically!
Sorry Bry, it was never my intent to suggest using it in its raw form. I was trying to convey that when processed, then prescribed by a MD, it can do amazing thing. As a nurse I’ve seen this first hand.
Foxglove is highly poisonous, and if one chooses to plant this, as a decorative flower, you shouldn’t plant it where children or animals could get into it or consume it. Though beautiful, it is deadly.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.
I apologize if I came across as too hard with that last post, @Garnet- from what you shared, I know you were just exploring the different aspects of an interesting flower, and that’s awesome!
It’s just that many people come to the forum looking for herbs and plants to work with in magick and/or herbalism, so I wanted to help bang in the nail and make it extremely clear that Foxglove, although a very beautiful flower that can be useful in some strict circumstances, is not a good nor safe option for the common person to use in practice.
When it comes to safety, it never hurts to layer on the precautions!
Thanks for sharing the piece, Garnet (as well as the warnings you included- they are appreciated! )- lots of love and many blessings!