Health Benefits of Foxgloves

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Foxgloves Quick Facts
Name: Foxgloves
Scientific Name: Digitalis purpurea
Origin Widespread throughout most of temperate Europe
Shapes Ovoid, 10-15 mm long
Foxglove is also known as Purple foxglove, Foxglove, Common Foxglove, Annual foxglove, Digitalis, Fairy glove, Finger flower and Lady’s glove. The genus Digitalis comprises of more than 20 perennial flowering species in the form of bushes or small flowering plants. The plant is 5 feet high and is recognized by pink and mauve bell shaped flowers having dark purple spots. It grows in hilly areas such as Kilternan and the Dublin Mountains. Nowadays it is cultivated as a garden plant. It is originated from Europe and domesticated or widely spread in North America. It prefers slightly acidic soil. It is also found in open woodlands, on sea cliffs, rocky slopes, wastelands and meadows.

Though all parts of the pant are poisonous, it is cultivated for pharmaceutical industry in South of England. Long time ago, in Ireland, the people were afraid to pick it and regarded it is unlucky to bring it to home. During 19th century, the leaves were dried and used as snuff by old women. The soft leaves were used to heal cuts. In 1700’s, William Withering discovered the effectiveness of Foxgloves against dropsy. This caused its use in cardiac medicines for strengthening and regulating heart.

The plant embellishes in well-drained, loose soil with some slight shade. The plant which grows in sunny situations has active qualities of the herb in much greater degree than those which is shaded by trees. The plants grows in hot, sunny bank protected by wood provides best results.

Plant description

Foxgloves are a herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant which forms a basal rosette of light green and oblong leaves in the first year from seed. Leaves are simple, arranged spirally, about 10-35 cm (3.9-13.8 in) long and 5-12 cm (2-5 in) broad and covered with gray-white pubescent or glandular hairs. The blossoms are 2-3 inches long, dark rose-pink to purple, tubular and funnel-shaped. The flowers form in long hanging racemes. It consists of five free and short tipped sepals. Corolla is 4 cm long, campanulate and bilabiate having an obtuse upper lip and ovate tip on lower lip. There are 2 long and short stamens and one superior ovary. Fruit is two valved, glandular, ovate and villous capsule. Plant has branched tap root.

Health Benefits of Foxgloves

  1. Cardiac disorders

Foxglove promotes heart health and also prevents arrhythmias. It invigorates muscle tissue and promotes efficiency of heart as it pump blood throughout the body. It intensifies blood pressure by stabilizing arteries and blood vessels. It boost energy levels.

  1. Detoxifies body

Foxglove promotes urination. It assist in neutralize toxins, fat, excess salts and water that relieves stress on kidneys and liver resulting healthier systems and efficient metabolism.

  1. Healthy nervous system

Foxglove effectively treats various nervous ailments. It provides soothing effect on nervous system which suffers from pathetic disorders. Studies are associated with the use to reduce symptoms of conditions such as epileptic disorders and other manic disorders of nervous system

  1. Bleeding disorders

Foxglove has astringent properties which is effective for treating heart conditions. It assist the body by tightening the blood vessels and lowers bleeding by vitalizing coagulation. People with bleeding disorders and women with heavy menstruation find it helpful.

  1. Healthy brain

It stimulates the flow of blood through capillaries or blood vessels. It clears the vessels and ensures healthy and oxygenated blood flow to the brain can promote that minds will stay clear, sharp and pain free.

  1. Lowers inflammation

Apply salves and creams to inflamed areas of the body to provide relief. The active ingredients offer analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities making it ideal for people with arthritis and gout.

  1. Skin health

Foxglove has antibacterial and wound healing properties. Apply a bruised leaf of foxglove directly on wound and let it remain. Foxglove has unique components that contribute antioxidant and antibacterial substance to wounds that stimulates healing process. It is an effective form for inflammation of skin, ulcers and boils.

Traditional uses

  • It has stimulatory effect on heart.
  • Also used in allopathic medicine for treating heart problems.
  • Leaves acts as a strong diuretic and used for treating dropsy.


  • All parts of the plant are poisonous.
  • It is not recommended to self-medicate any types of health ailments. So using under the guidance of health practitioner determines the correct dose.
  • It encourages nausea and vomiting within minutes of ingestion.
  • It might cause poisoning such as low pulse rate, upset stomach, blurred vision, excessive urination, dizziness, muscle weakness, excessive urination, fatigue, convulsions, confusion, vomiting, nausea and uncoordinated contractions of various parts of the heart that leads to cardiac arrest or even death.
  • Use for prolonged time period leads to the symptoms of toxicity such as yellow-green vision, visual halos and upset stomach.
  • People with kidney problems and heart problems should avoid its use.

Other facts

  • The hairy stems could reach 20 to 59 inches in height.
  • Leaves are spirally arranged at the base of the plant.
  • Flowers are purple to pink which forms in long spike.
  • Foxglove in wild produces white flowers.
  • Flowers are colorful which attracts bumblebees, the main pollinators.
  • In a lifetime, foxglove plant produces 2 million seeds.
  • The term “foxglove” refers the shape of flowers as it looks like gloves for fingers which resemble the paws of foxes or other small animals.
  • Being a biennial plant, it completes the lifecycle in two years.






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