The Magical Properties of Foxglove + The Medicinals it Mimics

Foxglove, a beautiful garden ornamental is actually one of the most dangerous plants one could think of. It is considered a Baneful Herb. Here is an excerpt from Witchipedia on its magickal properties.

" Foxglove is a baneful herb associated with the planets Saturn or Venus, depending on who you ask.
Juice or dew collected from foxgloves can be used in ritual to commune with the faeries and the leaves are said to help break faerie enchantments. Do not let it touch your skin and do not inhale the smoke if you burn the leaves!
Plant foxgloves anywhere you wish to invite the faeries to come visit.
Carry foxglove with you to attract faerie energy." [Source]

Foxglove was originally used to treat heart and kidney issues, and it technically still is! Medical technology is used today to isolate the compound Digoxin to be used as a cardiac medication! The plant itself is actually a potent cardiac toxin that is very dangerous. Several plants get mixed up with this plant when it is not in bloom, such as Comfrey, Elecampane, and Mullein. When dealing with plants for medicine, Always be sure you spend time with plants through every seasonal change so you can properly identify them without a shadow of doubt!

The young rosettes of all of these plants are very similar, and this is why it is so important to be with your plant through its flowering stage. It is imperative to note, many plants that grow in a basal rosette have a 2 year growth cycle. So, on year one, they will be a dormant basal rosette, and year two, they will grow their stalks and blooms. They are very easy to mix in this young stage, but once the flowers pop up its like-- “Oh yeah… definitely not what I thought you were.”

Here are some comparative photos of their rosettes and flowering stalks:

[Foxglove Digitalis purpurea] :warning: All members of the Digitalis Genus are toxic
Rosette:


(Photo -Source)

Full Grown:


(Photo-Source)

[Comfrey Symphytum officinale] :warning: Comfrey is Skin Safe but not reccommended for internal use because of harmful Hepatotoxic PAs (Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids)

Rosette:


(Photo- Source)

Full Grown:


(Photo- Source)

[Mullein Verbascum thapsus]

Rosette:


(Photo- Source)

Full Grown:


(Photo- Source)

[Elecampane Inula brittanica L.]

Rosette:
InulaRosette_blackbackground
(Photo- Source)

Full Grown:


(Photo- Source)

As you can see, these plants are all wildly different in full flower, but dangerously similar when young and dormant! My teacher in the video detailing the importance of correct identification told us just how dangerous this plant was with a personal story-- in which: One of her friends was out for a jog and saw a plant that she thought was one of the medicinals I outlined above, and took it home to put in her smoothie. She made the smoothie and drank it, and ended up needing to go to the hospital-- she died within two hours of consumption. This plant is violent; and it is best we all have the knowledge to protect ourselves from a similar fate.

Thank you for reading this long I know this was a doozy compared to the last one I wrote up! :heart:

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What a sad thing, even though now a day we do have apps; that might help us to identify some plants, it’s always good to look for a second opinion on books, even people; like @Velle, to just to be sure of what are we dealing with. Like the information, I never saw this plant before. Here in Puerto Rico we have one similar like the last picture. Don’t know if is related.

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Its very common here in the US! Even though it doesn’t grow in my state natively or invasively, I still have to be very careful because of just how many people plant it for their gardens!

That is the sad thing though. Sometimes, the internet and apps aren’t reliable unless you know what sites to look at, and some people don’t want to put the work into getting a field guide (or two, or three :joy: ) for their area and studying. Luckily there are schools that go over these topics, but not all do.

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I had a White Foxglove. The only reason that I knew what it was is because when it was planted, the tag was left with it. I happened to look it up & we knew where it was, so we left it be to do its thing. Our dogs aren’t allowed in the garden where it was planted. :no_mouth:

It’s very pretty though when it’s in full bloom.

(It was Mother’s Day gift from my kids & husband :heart: They planted it before I got home)

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It really is a beautiful plant! I can see why its so popular ornamentally! it can be kept for a pollinator garden because it is great for attracting bees and butterflies! Its just best to be safe when using it for spell work and wear gloves if you do decide to do so. Perhaps you could turn that section into a fairy garden since this plant is used primarily for fairy magic! :heart:

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I hadn’t thought of 1 placed there, but it is a great idea! It’s right in front of my house & I do want to make a faerie home for my yard. I have some very colorful perennials & can add some more faerie friendly ones.

Thank you :blush:

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My mother had foxglove in her gardens a few times- it really is a striking plant with gorgeously vibrant colors! I remember the warning that it was really toxic, but I never knew what made it such a dangerous plant… until now! :grin:

This is a really great piece, @Velle- I love how you explored foxglove and several of the plants it can be confused with. And your safety notes and guidance are really appreciated! :pray::heart:

If I can add one more potential look-alike to the list for folks to be aware of, it is “Lamb’s Ear”, which looks similar (especially to Mullein) but is a medicinal herb.

Lamb’s Ear (young):


Picture from Spruce: Lamb’s Ear

Lamb’s Ear (full grown):


Picture from Better Homes: Lamb’s Ear

There really are so many plants that look similar- best to be aware and, just like you say, always be 100% sure! When in doubt- don’t take it. If there’s an herb someone really wants to use, I suggest purchasing it from a reputable herbalist/apothecary or growing it in your garden yourself :seedling:

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Ah yes!! Thank you for adding onto this with that! I haven’t studied lambs ear at all yet, so I had no clue myself!

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You’re very welcome! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I only thought of it because I had to double-check to see if Mullein was Lamb’s Ear- nope, turns out they are different plants! :joy: I learned something else new and it really proved your point about how similar they are all :grin:

Thanks again for sharing your herbal wisdom, Velle! :green_heart:

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