DIGITALIS, Digitalis purpurea


Latin name:                       Digitalis purpurea

English names:               Digitalis, Foxglove

Indian name: Tilpushpi

Medicinal parts used: Leaves

Digitalis, commonly known as Foxglove, is a biennial or perennial herb growing unto about 1.2 meters tall. The lower basal leaves of the plant are long-stalked, hairy and egg-shaped and the upper leaves are almost without stalks, becoming smaller in size as they go upwards. It has white or purple flowers, and egg-shaped fruits.

The active constituents of digitalis are the several glycosides, including three well defined glycosides namely, digitoxin, gitoxin and gitalin. All the three glycosides possess the property to promote and stimulate cardio-vascular activity. Leaves contain little amount of glycosides. Digitoxin is also contained in the leaves. Its seeds contain amber coloured fatty oil with bland taste.

Therapeutic use:

  • This drug is mainly used in treating heart diseases. In case of congested heart failure, it promotes and stimulates the activity of all muscle tissues. The herb forces more blood into the coronaries thereby improving the nourishment to the heart. When blood circulation gets impaired and dropsy sets in, digitalis helps in restoration and regulation of the function of the heart.
  • It helps urination by improving the blood supply to the kidneys and removes obstructions within the kidneys.
  • Digitalis is used in some ointments for local application on wounds and burns. In cases of burns, it is very effective in preserving severely damaged cells.

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