Digitalis purpurea (Purple foxglove)
- Sue Snell
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A genus of toxic herbaceous Eurasian plants of the scrophulaceae which yield cardiotonic digitalis glycosides, useful anti-arrhythmia agents. Foxglove tea, prepared from the leaves, was an English folk remedy for treating swollen hands, legs, and feet. William Withering (1741-1799), a physician working in Birmingham, learned about it from a country woman in Shropshire and recognised that it increased the flow of urine, reduced dropsy (excess body fluid), and had a powerful action on the heart.The most useful species are Digitalis lanata and D. purpurea. Group of plants with hanging bell-shaped flowers of purple and white on tall spikes.