Norichnikovye – Scrophulariaceae.
Popular names: glove grass, forest bell, forest bell.
Parts used: leaves (only with a standardized, that is, exactly normalized, evaluation of the action!).
Pharmacy name: purple foxglove leaves – Digitalis purpureae folium (formerly: Folia Digitalis purpureae).
Botanical description.This is a biennial plant, but on plantations from which the largest amount of medicinal raw materials is obtained, it can live longer. From the branching tap root in the first year, only a rosette of very large and powerful leaves appears. In the second year, an erect, unbranched stem is extended (up to 2 m in height), on which the next leaves are placed. The tip of the shoot ends with a one-sided flower brush. Large flowers have a five-toothed calyx and a two-lipped tubular-campanulate purple-red (sometimes white) corolla, spotted on the inside. The fruit is a two-celled capsule. Blooms from June to September. Digitalis prefers lime-poor mountain forests and is common in Western and Central Europe. More often it is found in clearings. In the Harz, this beautiful conspicuous plant is so common that he is depicted in advertising brochures for foreign tourists. The active ingredients of this famous medicinal plant are glycosides that affect the heart and are very easily decomposed. The action of this medicinal plant is also due to saponins, mucus and one diuretic flavone glycoside. Healing action in application. Purple foxglove is one of the most potent poisonous plants in the German flora. Any independent use is strictly prohibited. Digitalis leaves, and above all the numerous galenic products obtained from them, are classic cardiac remedies that are used in violation of the activity of the heart. They increase the contraction of the heart muscle, which accelerates blood circulation and removes unwanted accumulation of water in the body due to increased urination.
Use in homeopathy. The homeopathic remedy Digitalis purpurea is prepared from fresh leaves collected at the time of flowering, and is used primarily as a heart remedy. But foxglove in homeopathy is also used for urination disorders, fluid accumulation in the body and kidney failure. In addition, it is also used for depression, insomnia, migraine with severe nausea, congestive liver, jaundice and diseases of the prostate gland. The dosage is very different. Predominantly dilutions from D 1 to D4 (3-5 times every day, 3-5 drops), however, higher dilutions are applicable, respectively, and other doses. Therefore, it is not appropriate to self-medicate even with homeopathic foxglove products.
Side effects. It has already been said that all types of foxglove are very poisonous plants. Poisoning manifests itself in arrhythmia, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, severe pain in the body, blue lips, suffocation, cardiac arrest. First aid measures. Cleanse the stomach and intestines as soon as possible. Give a lot of activated charcoal to bind toxic substances, consult a doctor immediately. It will be useful to drink strong coffee.
Note. It should be mentioned that – in addition to purple – other types of foxglove are also used in pharmacology due to the fact that they also contain active cardiac glycosides. But it was digitalis purpurea that was the first to be used in medicine, the first to be studied in more detail with a test of active substances. In Russia, for example, large-flowered foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora Mill.) is used as a medicine. Digitalis lanata Ehrh. is already a serious competitor to purple foxglove (Digitalis lanata Ehrh.) – not in the last turn because it contains more easily released active substances and is easier to grow. That is why this species must be specially considered here.