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The foxglove looks lovely and the flowers are very nice to look at, but behind the elegant looking herb lay a real danger. Foxgloves are poisonous and should never be eaten or used domestically, even touching foxgloves can cause rashes and headaches.
Do not use without medical direction.
Its classed as an herb because of it medicinal use, its been used for over 200 years as a treatment for heart failure.
Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Foxgloves goes by many names that include, Deadmans Bells, Dogs fingers, Fairy fingers, Witchs glove and Bloody fingers to name but a few.
A review about a herb we cant eat, whats the point of that? Well its not unusual to be honest; there are other herbs out there we dont use for eating but only for medicinal purposes. I have only recently found out about Foxgloves being an herb, I have been growing them for quite a while in the garden for the insects and butterflies.
I have to admit I touch these with my finger I have even smelled the flowers, but as mentioned above you should handle the plant using gloves.
Foxglove grows in Europe and in North America and is a common wild flower in many parts of the world. The Anglo-Saxon named is Foxglue or Foxmusic after the trumpet like flowers, also in old English folklore, the plant is also known as a plant for Fairys and Goblins hence its name Fairy fingers & Fairy cap.
In 1542 Fuchs called it Digitalis after the finger like shape of it flowers, but he also classed it as a violent medicine, but it took over 200 years for William Withering a Physician, Botanist and Mineralogist to come along and make a Foxglove tea for a cure of Dropsy (swelling of soft tissues due to the accumulation of excess water) this is where foxglove got its reputation as a medicinal herb.
Foxglove is mass produced in South-East Europe for its heart drug digitalis and is used in other medicinal drugs.
There is the Yellow, White and Wild (common) foxglove and many other attractive species.
Hardy evergreen perennial that can grow to a height of 30 inches and can spread 12 inches across. All depending on the species and colour, the flowers are a downward pointing; trumpet like flower which flowers in the summer. Leaves are strongly veined and a mid to dark green. The Wild (common) foxglove can grow to 5 ft in height and spread 2 foot.
The foxglove seeds are very small and fine. You can sow in either spring or autumn direct outside just on the surface and covers with cardboard, as soon as the seedlings appear take the cardboard of.
You can and I think its the easiest sow into little pots or seed trays, dont cover with anything just scatter on the surface and cover with either a plastic bag or a piece of glass, this makes the seedling have there own little eco system. As soon as the seedlings appear take the glass/plastic of, then when big enough to handle transplant to either bigger pots or outside.
You will not get flowers in the first season
As mentioned above this is one of the most poisonous plants in the flora, Foxgloves will grow in most soils and can be found growing in various places. It prefers a semi-shaded area and lots of moist but well drained soil. The first year the leaves appear and the rosettes are formed, and in the second year the flower spikes appear. The plant then dies but self seed its self everywhere, water the plant well in the summer.
Can be grown in containers, but it may need staking up to stop the wind damage.
Foxgloves are pretty free from pests and disease free
Foxgloves are grown commercially for the production of a drug the discovery (Major medicinal discovery), a classic example of folklore and science being bought together.
Foxglove contains glycosides which is taken from the plant during the plant second year of growing, the leaves are used to make up the heart drug Digitalis.
For over 200 years digitalis has been used for treating heart failure and it a powerful diuretic.
I cant find anything about using it in the kitchen; it does have health warning in the herbal community. It was used as an herbal tea, but the warning is not good so keep away!
Even touching foxgloves can cause rashes, headaches and even sever nausea. The warnings are DO NOT TOUCH!!
A real shame for a very lovely looking flower
As with all herbal medicine do your researches before you use it
Thanks for reading my reviews, and thankyou for rating them.
Tashi Delek (May everything be well)
enlightened_one © 2007