Herbs & Plants

Digitalis Lanata

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Botanical Name:Grecian Foxglove
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Digitalis
Species: D. lanata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Kingdom: Plantae

Synonym:Digitalis lamarckii auct. balcan.
Common Name:Woolly Foxglove, Grecian Foxglove
Other Common Names:Ari Quwani [E], Degitalis [E], Grecian Foxglove [H,P,B], Ke-Zigitarisu [E], Sahr Al Kishteban [E],

Habitat:Woodland, Dappled Shade, Shady Edge. Native to Eastern Europe.One of the biggest populations can be found near Bácsalmás in Hungary.
It grows on woods and scrub

An evergreen biennial/Perennial growing to 0.6m by 0.3m or about 13 to 26 inches. . It is in leaf all year, in flower from June to July, and the seeds ripen in September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.
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The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil.

Digitalus lanata, like some other foxglove species, is highly toxic in all parts of the plant.

Grecian Foxglove produces spikes of white flowers each of which has purple veins. The flower spikes give the plant its height. Flowering occurs in early  summer. Volunteer plants will grow if the plant is allowed to form seed.

An easily grown plant, succeeding in ordinary garden soil, especially if it is rich in organic matter. It prefers a neutral to acid soil and also succeeds in dry soils and, once established, is drought tolerant. It prefers semi-shade but succeeds in full sun if the soil is moist.

The Grecian foxglove is cultivated for the medicinally active glycosides that are contained in the leaves. This species is preferred over D. purpurea as a source of glycosides for the pharmaceutical industry.

Plants are either biennial or short-lived perennials.

Members of this genus are rarely if ever troubled by browsing deer or rabbits.

This species can develop crown rot and root rot when growing in damp conditions.

Propagation: Grow new plants from seed.

Medicinal Uses:
The Grecian foxglove is a widely used herbal medicine with a recognised stimulatory effect upon the heart. It is also used in allopathic medicine as the main source of the cardiac glycosides that are used in the treatment of heart complaints. It has a profound tonic effect upon a diseased heart, enabling the heart to beat more slowly, powerfully and regularly without requiring more oxygen. At the same time it stimulates the flow of urine which lowers the volume of the blood and lessens the load on the heart. The plant contains cardiac glycosides (including digoxin, digitoxin and lanatosides). Digitoxin rapidly strengthens the heartbeat but is excreted very slowly. Digoxin is therefore preferred as a long-term medication.

The leaves are cardiac, diuretic, stimulant and tonic. The leaves should only be harvested from plants in their second year of growth, picked when the flowering spike has grown and about two thirds of the flowers have opened. Harvested at other times, there is less of the medically active alkaloid present. The seed has also been used in the past. The leaves also have a very beneficial effect on the kidneys, they are strongly diuretic and are used with benefit in the treatment of dropsy. Great care should be exercised in the use of this plant, the therapeutic dose is very close to the lethal dose. Their use should always be supervised by a qualified practitioner since in excess they cause nausea, vomiting, slow pulse, visual disturbance, anorexia and fainting.

A homeopathic remedy is made from the leaves[9]. It is used in the treatment of cardiac disorders

In 1775 Dr. William Withering, an English physician, discovered the efficacy of Digitalis purpurea in the treatment of severe congestive heart failure. He attributed its efficacy to a diuretic effect and published his findings based on clinical observations in 1785. The pharmacological properties of regulating the heart rate and rhythm and strengthening of the heart muscle were discovered later.
The German ophthalmologist and botanist Ernst Fuchs is responsible for giving foxglove its Latin name in the Linneal binomial system of the naming of plants. To him and others before him, each blossom resembled a thimble, so he arrived at digitalis from the Latin digitus, finger and alis, suffix meaning pertaining to the qualities or characteristics of a finger.
The thimble resemblance of the blossoms is also responsible for the English common name foxglove: “gloves for little folks”, and the common German name der Fingerhut which translates as the finger hat (a thimble).
Digitalis lamarckii auct. balcan. is a, it is still used by some for plants available in horticulture.

Commercial uses:
Digoxin, a drug which is used to treat some heart conditions, is extracted from the leaves of Digitalis lanata.

Known Hazards : All parts of the plant are poisonous.  Unsafe for self-medication. Monitoring by a physician to determine correct dose recommended. For overdose give activated charcoal. Can be fatal especially to children.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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