Digitalis, plant and properties

Digitalis, plant and properties

Digitalis, plant and properties.Characteristics and information on plants of the genusdigitalis: digitalis lutea, digitalis lanata, digitalis ferruginea, digitalis grandiflora ...

Theredigitalis a herbaceous genus of the Scrophulariaceae family, the same family as the most popularLeon's mouth. A more recent classification (APG) places theplantsof the digitalis genus in the Plantaginaceae family.

The genredigitalseeflowerswith the characteristic bell shape, often each flower is described "like a thimble " of those used in sorting. It is precisely from the similarity to the thimble that the name is borndigitalis. THEflowersof thedigitalthey are gathered in unilateral terminal racemes at the apex of the stem.

When we talk about thedigitalwe do not refer to a single plant, this genus collects about twenty species, among these the most popular are:

  • Digitalis ferruginea, also called brown fox
  • Digitalis grandiflora, also called large yellow foxglove
  • Digitalis lanata
  • Digitalis lutea
  • Digitalis purpurea, the most used in homeopathy

We also point out the Digitali micrantha which has small whitish flowers. It grows spontaneously in the woods of the Apennines and in other areas of southern and central Italy.

In homeopathy the digitalis purpurea is widely used while in herbal medicine the species Digitalis lanata and Digitalis lutea are equally widespread.

Digitalis purpurea in homeopathy

Typically, when it comes todigital plantreference is made todigitalis purpureawhich is not only the most used in homeopathy but also the best known digital.

Theredigitalis purpureait grows in the woods and arid meadows of central and southern Europe. It has characteristic red flowers although the alba variety has white flowers. For full information on the properties and use of this plant, please refer to the page:Digitalis purpurea in homeopathy.

Foxglove, toxic plantthe poison of digitalis

We often hear about"Poison of digitalis". In fact, glycosides can act as a powerful poison (they are supposed to have been the cause of the death of Cangrande I della Scala, lord of Verona) causing cardiac arrest. However, the same glycosides, if properly dosed, can be very useful in therapy against heart failure.

The glucosides in question are the two active ingredientsdigitoxin and lanatoside C, natural digitalis. These substances work as cardiotonics and are used in homeopathy (and not only) against heart failure, including congenital ones.

Due to the high content of glycosides, all plants of the digitalis genus are considered poisonous. Digitoxin and lanatoside C, if absorbed in excessive doses, can be very harmful to the body or even fatal.

In herbal medicine and homeopathy, the parts used are leaves, flowers and seeds. The glycosides are mainly contained in the leaves.

Digitalis bruna or digitalis ferruginea

The most interesting glycosides, extracted from plants of the genusdigitalisfor use in pharmacology, they are digitonin, digitoxin, digitophylline and digitalin. These substances have an action on the heartbeat and blood pressure.

Theredigitalis brunetteo digitalis ferruginea, due to its glucosides, is counted among the most poisonous Italian plants.

Digitalis lanata

Like all species of the digitalis genus, thedigitalis lanatait is highly toxic. The plant is toxic in all its parts (flower, stem, leaves and seeds). The leaves were often used as a natural remedy, to be harvested in spring and stored throughout the year. Due to its toxicity, the practice of collecting and DIY remedies based on digitalis is strongly discouraged. Among the other active ingredients extracted from the leaves of this genus we point out digoxin and digitoxin.

Digitalis grandiflora

It is known as thedigital plantwith large yellow flowers. This perennial herb is prized for its many hybrids. The fruit is capsule-shaped and develops on a persistent calyx. The seeds ripen in September.

In the photo above, digitalis purpurea and digitalis lutea

Video: How to plant Digitalis purpurea from seed (January 2022).