General information

Digitalis - harm and good


The medicinal properties of digitalis are known to people for a long time, but they have been officially used in medicine since the middle of the eighteenth century. It is noted that the leaves of the plant, which contain biologically active substances, are the most useful. Knowledgeable doctors use leaves of special varieties of digitalis, which are not more than one year old, although the plant itself is perennial.

Since the flower is unpretentious in the care, it is very popular among summer residents. In addition, the plant has an aesthetically attractive appearance, therefore it is often used to decorate flower beds, flower beds and alpine gardens. In the city you can find a multi-colored foxglove growing along the curb.

Medicinal properties of digitalis, which are actively used by folk healers

Many therapeutic properties of digitalis are used to correct problems with the cardiovascular system. Due to the positive effects on the heart and blood vessels, the drugs help to eliminate concomitant diseases.

What can be cured with the help of digitalis, using basic trace elements:

  1. In case of heart failure, preparations based on digitalis are constantly prescribed.
  2. It is possible to eliminate the manifestations of flickering arrhythmia due to the properties of the plant.
  3. The plant can be used in the treatment of epilepsy.
  4. To remove the painful sensations in skin inflammations, ointment on the basis of digitalis can.
  5. For diseases with an infectious nature, it is better to use foxglove-based products.
  6. It is the main option for eliminating tachycardia and hypertension.
  7. Eliminates problems with blood circulation, restoring heart rate.

The widespread use of the plant is possible due to the presence of digoxin, lanatozida and other biologically active substances in the leaves.

Growing foxglove on the site, do not forget to plant other medicinal plants. It can be melissa, and thyme, and Badan, and anise.

The principle of using foxglove in traditional medicine

For pharmaceutical purposes, only leaves of digitalis are exclusively used, but traditional medicine uses more plant resources. Virtually any of the above-ground parts of the preparation of the funds with certain characteristics:

  1. Compresses from a plant to relieve skin inflammation.
  2. Tinctures for internal use.
  3. Rubbing for outdoor use.
  4. Ointment and plant based cream.
  5. Broths for admission in the form of drops.

Instructions for use foxglove depends on the type and type of product. Most often it is used tinctures, which include the entire aboveground part of the plant. This tool is used to treat heart problems. Squeeze the juice from the stem, which is used for rubbing into the chest during hardening or pain.

Digitalis poisoning signal

People who want to make a foxglove-based product for home use are wondering if they can be poisoned by a foxglove. The plant is toxic if you exceed the dose in the process of taking the funds or by increasing the number of plants at the time of preparation of the tincture, cream.

Digitalis poisoning can manifest itself as follows:

  1. Acute abdominal pain, accompanied by diarrhea.
  2. The person will be sick. Vomiting will be frequent and painful.
  3. Deaf pulse with a feeling of fading heart.
  4. Skin rash that resembles irritation.
  5. Cramps in combination with uncontrolled muscle contraction.
  6. Hallucinations and memory lapses.

Digitalis digitalis can also cause several symptoms of poisoning at once. It is worth considering that the most critical manifestation may be cardiac or respiratory arrest.

At the slightest symptoms of poisoning, it is worthwhile to call an ambulance to get qualified help. Independently deal with the problem is impossible.

Toxins contained in the plant, have properties to accumulate in the body, which leads to negative consequences for the body.

How to make medicine from a plant

The digitalis medical should be properly prepared in the form of a diverse tincture or decoction to benefit the patient:

  1. Normal tincture: 3 grams of dry plants pour 1 cup boiling water. Infuse for 10-15 minutes. Strain the finished tincture and add 1 drop of mint oil. Take a tablespoon after 3 hours.
  2. 25 grams of dry plants and 3 boiled in 3 cups of water over low heat. Perform the procedure until 1 cup of liquid has evaporated. It is necessary to strain the broth and add 25 grams of tincture with aroma. Use 2 tablespoons 1 time per day.
  3. Tincture on alcohol: 25 grams of dry raw materials pour 60 grams of alcohol. Insist for 1 week and take 10 drops daily.

For the preparation of any type of funds can be used from the foxglove leaves. It is easy to prepare raw materials: it is enough to cut off the ground part of the plant, leave it in the sun for a few days, rub the dry mass to obtain a fine powder.

It is advisable to use plants that grow far from the road. First you need to wash the plant.

Pharmaceutical Use of Digitalis

Drugs from foxglove in pharmacy are made from two types of plants: large-flowered and purple. The leaves are processed in such a way as to produce crystals. Raw materials are used on a production scale for the manufacture of drops, tablets, capsules and ointments.

Instructions for use of drugs from foxglove should be as closely as possible in the treatment process. When buying a drug, you should carefully study the recommendations regarding the dosage and methods of use.

In the pharmacy you can find such drugs that contain foxglove extract:

  • leaf powder
  • dry concentrate tablets: Hytoxin, Digitoxin, Cordigit,
  • solutions called Digoxin, Celanid,
  • The infusion of foxglove leaves in Latin sounds like tincture of digitalis.

In emergency situations, use drugs for intravenous administration, acting for half an hour. In chronic diseases, pills and drops are used. Reception of drugs of this pharmaceutical group should be periodic.

Contraindications to the use of drugs from digitalis

The medicinal properties of digitalis have a fairly wide range regarding the elimination of diseases of the heart and blood vessels. The chemical composition contains many components that may adversely affect the patient's health.

In addition to self-study of contraindications for the use of digitalis-containing drugs and tools, you should consult a doctor for advice.

Many people call the foxglove a "scalpel of therapists." Acceptance of such drugs is not always possible, since there are certain contraindications:

  1. If the patient suffered myocardial infarction.
  2. Has sclerosis of the coronary arteries.
  3. With a decrease in heart rate.
  4. In the presence of tuberculosis or chronic lung diseases.
  5. Pregnancy and lactation period.
  6. The age limit that applies to children under 12 years old.
  7. Special types of infectious diseases.

When diagnosing special changes in the heart rhythm, limitations may be placed in the process of taking foxglove-based medications.


Pharmacists use the leaves of grandiflora and purple foxglove to produce gitoxin and digitoxin in a crystalline form, as well as a korligid, which is the sum of all glycosides. Traditional medicine uses in the treatment of all terrestrial parts of the plant: stems, flowers, leaves. They are great for making decoctions and tinctures that help improve heart function.

Preparations on the basis of digitalis reduce shortness of breath, significantly improve the general well-being of the patient, contribute to the normalization of the pulse. Often these medications are used for sclerosis of the coronary vessels, mitral valve defects, myocardial dystrophy, and hypertension. Doctors prohibit their use for a long time, because some components of the plant tend to accumulate in the body, which can entail serious consequences.

Foxglove flowers

The flowers have a fancy tubular-bell-shaped form. Usually they are collected in a one-sided multi-flower long brush. The color scale of various grades of a plant can differ considerably from each other. Due to its elegant shape and bright color, the flower is often used for decorative purposes. Traditional medicine uses the flowers of this medicinal plant along with the rest of the aerial parts. They are part of many tinctures and decoctions.

Foxglove leaves

The leaves are the most used medicinal element of this plant. For medical purposes, they are usually collected in the first year of development and preferably in the afternoon. After harvesting, the leaves are dried in a dryer at a temperature of no more than sixty degrees or in the open air under tents, laying them out in a thin layer. Harvested raw materials should be stored in a dark and dry place, because when wetted it can lose its biologically active properties.

The beneficial properties of the leaves are determined by the high content of cardiac glycosides in them, which are transferred during storage and under the influence of enzymes to other compounds. The leaves also contain organic acids, flavonoids, choline. The leaves are widely used for the preparation of various cardiological drugs.

Quite often, the leaves of the plant are used in traditional medicine recipes, in particular, the powder of them helps with hysteria and some other nervous disorders. In addition, it is actively used for the speedy healing of wounds. It must be remembered that the leaves of the flower - a potent medicine, so you should always adhere to the exact dosage.

How to grow foxglove

This garden flower is often propagated by seed. The best time for this method of cultivation is in the spring, approximately in April-May. Seeds should not be buried deep, but only need a little sprinkle with earth. It is possible to accelerate the emergence of the first seedlings, if the seeds are soaked for a week. Sow them should be in rows with an interval of 45 cm, so that adult plants do not die from lack of space. If the seedlings are too frequent, they need to be thinned, otherwise the flowers of the plant will be small and the honey plants short.

At first, seedlings develop slowly, so picking (transplanting) is done only after a month and a half at a distance of 5 cm from each other. In late May, seedlings are planted in a permanent place. It should be remembered that digitalis loves fertile, loose, permeable soils. If it grows in places with stagnation of spring waters, then flowering may not occur.

Caring for digitalis is weeding, loosening the soil and watering in dry weather. A couple of times per season, the plant can be fed with mineral complex fertilizers. Mulching of land with sawdust, which should be carried out in the fall, also gives good results. The best and most stable specimens are pre-tagged so that they can then be collected from them seeds for reproduction.

The plant is subject to various diseases. If leaf spotting can be eliminated with the help of copper-containing fungicidal preparations, then peduncle rot and root rot are incurable. Viral diseases are also very dangerous. It is easy to recognize them by twisting the leaves with a tube. In such cases, the plant must be removed immediately.

Foxglove tinctures

Tinctures are among the main dosage forms of this plant. In their preparation, the entire above-ground part of the foxglove is used, although leaves are most often used. Tinctures from this medicinal herb in combination with other medicines are effective in treating heart failure, valvular heart disease and other diseases. They slow the heart rate, increase the contractile function of the heart muscle, increase the filling of the heart with blood.

Squeezed the juice of the flower folk healers treated the hardening of the breast in women. Ointments and tinctures of some varieties of this healing herb were used externally in the form of washing. They are well helped with scrofula or skin diseases.

Foxglove types

There are several garden forms of the plant, differing in the height of the stem, the color of the flowers, the structure of the rims and their arrangement in the inflorescence. In addition, in different species of the flower, the leaves have a different shape, size, nature of the venation and the pubescence intensity of the leaf blade.

Digitalis yellow grows mainly in the center and south-west of Europe. This species is a perennial plant, reaching a height of one meter. It has smooth leaves and stems and bright yellow flowers, due to which it got its name. Yellow foxglove is actively used in landscape design. There is practically no mention of its use in traditional medicine.

Digitalis purpurea
- the most common and spectacular plant. It has a straight cylindrical stem, large and beautiful purple flowers. It reaches a height of up to 120 cm. This species is especially common in the Mediterranean, Southern, Western and Central Europe. It is widely applied in traditional medicine and pharmacology. In particular, mitoxin and digitoxin are extracted from the leaves.

Decoctions and infusions of this medicinal herb contribute to the effective healing of wounds and help with hysteria. It is also worth noting the presence in the plant of minerals, organic acids, saponins, flavonoids, vitamins and some other useful components.

Digitalis woolly is the most inconspicuous of the representatives of its kind. It has smaller, in comparison with other types, flowers. Despite this, it is actively used in medicine. Due to the content of acetyl digitoxin and celanid, woolly foxglove cilia receive preparations that regulate the activity of the heart muscle. The leaves have the greatest healing power of this plant. Traditional medicine uses them to treat heart disease and ascites.

Digitalis grandiflora is a perennial herb, reaching a height of one meter. Its root is short, the stem is straight. Its leaves reach 20 cm in length and have a light green color. Digitalis grandiflora is one of the five most used in medicine varieties of this plant. Based on it, a variety of cardiac drugs are produced. It is often used to treat circulatory failure.

The leaves of this medicinal herb contain many beneficial components: cardiac glycosides, steroid saponins, mineral salts, tannins, phenol carboxylic acids, iridoids. For medicinal purposes, the leaves are best collected in late August and early September.

Digitalis perennial. This species includes a large number of varieties. They are widely used as an effective drug and an elegant decorative element. Perennial foxgloves have a unique set of components useful to the human body, thanks to which they have been used in folk and official medicine for several centuries. In growing, they are very unpretentious, they can put up with the lack of sunlight and tolerate frost well.

Contraindications to the use of digitalis

It should be remembered that the substances contained in the flower of digitalis, tend to accumulate in the body and an excessive concentration of glycosides contained in it can cause poisoning. This plant is very poisonous, so self-medication can lead to poisoning of the body, the symptoms of which are arrhythmia, nausea, diarrhea, blue lips and vomiting. Any drugs from foxglove should be taken only on the recommendation of a doctor and always under his supervision.

This medicinal herb is strictly contraindicated for people with a diagnosis of heart disease, coronary insufficiency, myocardial infarction, infectious diseases and bradycardia. Due to its toxicity, it is forbidden to plant it near children's institutions.

Botanical description foxglove

There are many types of digitalis grass that are common in different parts of the world (Europe, Asia, former CIS countries, Africa). Digitalis is rarely found in the wild, therefore it is cultivated for medicinal purposes.

Depending on the type of plant, its appearance may vary slightly.

Digitalis is a perennial and biennial grass, and in some areas of growth (mainly Mediterranean) looks like a shrub. It has a fairly high (up to 1.5 m) stem, dark green strongly pubescent leaves, on which veins are clearly protruding.

The appearance of digitalis purpurea (Digitalis purpurea L.) differs in the first and second year of life. В начале роста она образует прикорневые или овальные листья длиной до 25-30 см. А на втором году роста появляются неветвящиеся стебли с дополнительными листьями. Крупные цветки пурпурно-красного цвета, в середине — пятнистые. Они появляются летом (июнь-июль) и цветут до начала осени.

The description of digitalis grandiflora (Digitalis grandiflora Mill.) Is not too different from its “purple” variety. This type of plant has light green leaves of similar length and pubescent stems. The plant blooms in June and the first half of July, with beautiful yellowish flowers.

Digitalis woolly (Digitalis lanata L.) outside whitish-yellow shade, from the inside with lilac veins.

The chemical composition of digitalis

The curative properties of digitalis are due to its rich chemical composition. Digitalis purpurea contains:

  • purpureaglycosides A and B,
  • hypoxin,
  • digitoxin,
  • steroid saponins,
  • vegetable polyphenols,
  • vitamin b4.

The chemical composition of digitalis woolly is:

  • cardiotonic glycosides, the most important of which are lanatozides (of which subsequently digoxin and digitoxin are formed),
  • digitonin,
  • tigonin,
  • steroid saponins.

The most important component that allocates digitalis from other medicinal herbs is cardiac glycosides, found in huge dosages in its composition. It is the large number of these substances that explains the properties of digitalis and the use of this plant in medicine.

Collection and storage of medicinal raw materials

Leaves are used as a medicinal plant material. In the first year of life, foxgloves use rosette leaves as VRS, and their collection can be reached three times per season (summer time). Stem leaves are collected in the second year of the plant's life immediately after its flowering (this is important, since the pharmacological properties of the raw materials are reduced if the collection time is violated) without petioles, they interfere with drying and do not contain biologically active components. Collection of LSRS digitalis is necessary in a dry, solar time (due to the increased intensity of the accumulation of glycosides in the light). As a rule, the collection is carried out in the flowering phase. When collecting plant materials in the first year of life (if the plant is grown on a two-year plantation), it is important not to damage the root system.

The medicinal properties of digitalis may not be as effective if it is inappropriate to store plant materials. That is why it should be well packaged so that the biologically active components are preserved in the best possible way. The whole raw material of foxglove must be stored in a dark and dry room, with annual monitoring of the biological activity of the leaves.

Ways to use plants

The herb digitalis has healing properties, which is why it is widely used in medical practice. Medical drugs Digitoxinum, Cordigitum, as well as powders and tinctures from digitalis leaves are made from digitalis. Drugs are taken orally, and the dosage for them is calculated individually. The most popular use of plants in cardiology practice, as the grass has an impact on many human organs and systems. These include vessels, the vagus nerve, kidney, intestine and central nervous system. However, the most important target is the heart muscle.

Indications and contraindications for use

Before using drugs with digitalis, it is important to read the instructions for use, even if the drug is prescribed by a doctor. This is due to the presence of contraindications in digitalis, which, instead of treatment, can lead to more serious health problems.

Digitalis preparations are used to treat such diseases:

  • acute and chronic heart failure
  • acceleration of heart contractions and arrhythmias,
  • congenital and acquired heart defects,
  • hypertension (lower blood pressure),
  • ophthalmological pathologies (reduce eye pain in migraines, reduce intraocular pressure),
  • kidney disease (improves fluid excretion),
  • atrial fibrillation
  • weakness of cardiac activity after illness;
  • pathologies of the lungs (reduce shortness of breath and improve the flow of oxygen into the body).

Despite the beneficial properties of digitalis herb, there are contraindications. Taking drugs based on the extract of digitalis is strictly prohibited if the patient:

  • cholesterol in the coronary arteries,
  • myocardial infarction,
  • chronic lung disease,
  • tuberculosis,
  • hypersensitivity to plant components,
  • ischemic heart disease (angina),
  • lactation,
  • heart defects in the compensated stage,
  • infectious pathological processes,
  • inflammation of the inner lining and walls of the heart,
  • period of carrying a child,
  • complete atrioventricular block,
  • bradyarrhythmia,
  • gastric tachycardia.

Digitalis can harm a child's body - it is not recommended for children under 12 years old.

The benefits and harm of digitalis

Due to the high therapeutic activity of digoxin and lanatozide, drugs based on them are widely used in medical practice. Digitalis based drugs increase the strength of cardiac output, lengthen diastole and reduce the excitability threshold of the cardiovascular system. There is also an increase in the level of calcium in the blood plasma, which helps stabilize blood circulation in the heart and blood vessels.

The undeniable advantage and, at the same time, the disadvantage is cumulation - the ability of digitalis to accumulate in the tissues of the body. This contributes to a long-term therapeutic effect, but if used improperly, it can lead to digitalis poisoning.

Overdose of digitalis is manifested by pronounced signs of intoxication. These include nausea, vomiting, indigestion, which is accompanied by severe pain in the stomach. Shortness of breath increases, dermatological reactions, cramps, blue lips and unpleasant sensations in the chest area appear. If the patient does not know how to properly drink digitalis from the heart, the abundance of the drug in the body can lead to loss of appetite, anorexia, and even hallucinations.

Useful recipes

Digitalis is widely used for the treatment of various pathologies.

  • For heart diseases, an infusion is prepared on the basis of dried finely ground leaves. About 1 g of leaves need to pour 200 ml of water and insist for twelve hours. Drink the infusion twice a day to 5 ml, regardless of the meal.
  • For the treatment of heart disease, you can use the digitalis in the form of a powder that does not affect the functioning of the liver and kidneys. Adults take 0.1 g twice a day. The drug should be stored in a dark glass container that is tightly closed.
  • To prepare the decoction of the leaves of digitalis, which allows to stabilize the work of the heart, it is necessary to pour boiling water (approximately 0.6 liters) of twenty grams of dry vegetable raw materials and boil the leaves until the amount of liquid in the container decreases by about 200 ml. After that, you need to give the broth to cool and strain the drug. The standard regimen is taking 15 ml per day, but depending on the severity of the pathology, the doctor may change the dose.
  • Digitalis is used to treat cuts and burns, as the plant can heal minor wounds and thermally damaged surfaces. To do this, prepare the powder from the dry leaves, which pour on the damaged area.
  • In case of nerve pathologies, this plant is prepared and applied in the form of an alcohol tincture. To do this, 20-25 grams of raw materials must be put in a dark glass bottle and pour wine spirit (about 250 ml). In corked form, the drug is infused for a week in a dark and warm place, and the contents of the container must be shaken periodically. Once is not recommended to use more than thirty drops of the drug.


Despite the beauty and beneficial properties of digitalis, it should be used only after consulting with a specialist. This medicinal plant is not suitable for everyone, and self-designation and incorrect use can lead to irreparable consequences. It is important to realize that the plant is poisonous and extremely dangerous, so you need to use it with caution to achieve the proper therapeutic effect.

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Wound healing

Used for healing wounds powder. Dry grass leaves to powder.

Sprinkle the wound with them. You can cover with a light bandage, gauze is better, so that the skin breathes.

Nervous disorders

With problems with the nervous system is prepared tincture of foxglove on alcohol.Pour a dry mixture of foxglove leaves into a dark glass bottle, pour 200 ml of wine alcohol there. Capacity tightly close and insist in a dark place, occasionally shaking.

After a week, strain, pour into a clean container and store in a dark place. A single dose should not exceed thirty drops.

How to prepare therapeutic raw materials from digitalis

They collect the foxglove for medicinal purposes in August - September. It is advisable to do the preparation of raw materials digitalis in dry weather in the evening.

Leaves cut without stem: it has no useful items. In the evening the foxglove contains the greatest concentration of useful substances.

The leaves on a production scale are dried in special dryers at a temperature of up to 60 degrees. During drying, the raw materials are repeatedly turned over for uniform drying.

The raw material is ready when the top plate takes on a red color. Store the product in fabric bags or cartons in a dry place for 24 months.

Contraindications and possible side effects

Glycosides, which are in the composition of herbs, tend to accumulate and are slowly eliminated from the body.

With the long-term use of funds from digitalis possible poisoning. The foxglove plant is a strong plant poison.

Digitalis has a strict contraindication for such diseases: infectious diseases, coronary insufficiency, bradycardia, heart disease, myocardial infarction. With great care should be given infusions or decoctions for children.

With symptoms of poisoning (arrhythmia, diarrhea, blue lips and nausea, choking and vomiting), it is necessary to immediately flush the stomach with plenty of water and contact the doctors.

Being engaged in the treatment of digitalis according to the recipes of traditional medicine, do not forget about the official medicine. Any treatment should be coordinated with your doctor - it will save you from possible unpleasant consequences.

General use

Digitalis is no longer used as a medicine for the heart, because the therapeutic dose and the lethal dose are very close. Because of seasonal fluctuations in the level of cardiac glycosides in a plant, only an experienced doctor and herbalist, who monitors the patient on an hourly basis to detect signs of overdose, can determine a safe dose. Few doctors and herbalists can safely use digitalis as a herbal extract. Instead, specific standardized doses of pharmaceutical digoxin are used. However, patients receiving the drug should be under close scrutiny.

Precautionary measures

If used improperly, digitalis is deadly - it can cause cardiac arrest or respiratory depression. Eating any part of the plant can be fatal. The therapeutic dose is very close to the lethal dose, therefore it cannot be treated with this plant.

An overdose of digitalis interferes with the normal electrical rhythms of the heart, as a result it will beat too slowly or rapidly. Overdose can also cause diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite and vomiting. More serious and potentially fatal reactions to overdose affect the heart and central nervous system. Digitalis can disrupt the heart rhythm, including leading to life-threatening ventricular tachycardia or atrial tachycardia with an atrioventricular block. As for the side effects of the central nervous system, confusion, depression, drowsiness, hallucinations, psychosis and visual disturbances may occur.

Digitalis poisoning is sometimes due to improper use of herbal preparations, for example, dried leaves of digitalis in the form of tea, or as a result of an overdose of prescription medicine with this component. This can also occur when digitalis is confused with comfrey, a plant used to brew tea, which belongs to the borage family. The two plants are very similar.

Side effects of digitalis

Some patients who take digitalis may experience side effects such as increased muscle tone in the stomach and intestines, diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, and vomiting. The same side effects occur with overdose of digitalis. Preparations with this ingredient may have toxic side effects due to overdose or other health problems. The most serious are arrhythmias, that is, heart rhythm disturbances that can be life-threatening.


The use of digitalis can increase the toxicity of other cardiotonic drugs. Hypersensitivity to it, dehydration, or the use of diuretics that cause loss of fluid and salt, may increase the risk of side effects of digoxin. The risk of cardiac arrhythmias is increased when people who take digitalis are also treated with amphetamines or diet pills, medications for asthma or other breathing problems, cold medicines, sinus problems, hay fever, or other types of allergies. Taking any of these drugs at the same time as your digitalis also affects the level of digitalis in the body and its effectiveness.