Family: Plantaginaceae (Isabgol family)
Genus: Digitalis
Botanical name: Digitalis purpurea
Sanskrit: Hritpatri, Tilapushpi
Hindi: Tilpushpi
English: Foxglove, Common foxglove, Purple foxglove, Lady's glove
Malayalam: Tilapushpi, Hridpatri
Foxglove is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 10–35 cm long and 5–12 cm broad, and are covered with gray-white pubescent and glandular hairs, imparting a woolly texture. The foliage forms a tight rosette at ground level in the first year.
The flowering stem develops in the second year, typically 1 to 2 m tall, sometimes longer. The flowers are arranged in a showy, terminal, elongated cluster, and each flower is tubular and pendent. The flowers are typically purple, but some plants, especially those under cultivation, may be pink, rose, yellow, or white. The inside surface of the flower tube is heavily spotted. The flowering period is early summer, sometimes with additional flower stems developing later in the season. The plant is frequented by bees, which climb right inside the flower tube to gain the nectar within.
The fruit is a capsule which splits open at maturity to release the numerous tiny (0.1-0.2 mm) seeds.
The medicinal plant Foxglove is used for cardiac problems in allopathy. Due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin, the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are all poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if eaten. Extracted from the leaves, this same compound, whose clinical use was pioneered as digitalis by William Withering, is used as a medication for heart failure. He recognized it "reduced dropsy", increased urine flow and had a powerful effect on the heart.
Ayurvedic Medicinal Plants
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