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Digitalis

Digitalis is another name for the common foxglove[?], Digitalis purpurea. It belongs to the figwort family, Scrophulariaceae (in the order Lamiales). Foxglove is a biennial, often grown as an ornamental plant due to its violet flowers. The first year of growth produces only the long basal leaves, while in the second year the erect leafy stem 2-5 feet tall develops.

A group of pharmacologically active compounds are extracted mostly from the leaves of the second year's growth. Digitalis purpurea extract containing cardiac glycosides for the treatment of heart conditions was first described by William Withering.

Digitalis is always pulled out when doctors tell people about medicinal plants. However, foxglove is extremely toxic, and doctors neglect to tell people that the only ones who use digitalis in any form, these days, are ... doctors.

Herbalists have abandoned the plant; it's too dangerous. The therapeutic dose, with digitalis, is very close to the deadly dose.

That doesn't stop doctors from using it; they have purified single constituents, which makes their dosing quite exact. Note, this doesn't mean that single constituents are good, it just means that in this case, they have a place.

And even with the exact dosing you got from using single constituents: when the doctor's patient suddenly gets weaker from, say, a flu, the digitalis glycosides will kill them off.

Because they've been using digitalis glycosides they've had 4-5 years more life, but it's better not to need digitalis in the first place - help your heart with diet, mild herbs (like Crataegus[?]), and lifestyle before it breaks.



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