Various species of this flower are native to Europe, North-West Africa and Central Asia. The purple variety have been natural in England since the 1400s, with the yellow variety being natural to England since the Elizabethan Era. The scientific name of the foxglove, Digitalis purpurea, mean “finger-like,” as the flower is easily fitted over a human fingertip. It is not quite known how the name foxglove came about, but one story says that the individual flowers of the plant are “folk,” which means “little people” or fairies’ gloves. How did they end up across the big pond you may ask? Well, seeds were sent to a doctor in the United States by another doctor in Britain named William Withering, who was experimenting with the plant as a heart medication in the late 1700s.
A group of medicines extracted from foxglove plants are called digitalin. The use of this extract is used for the treatment of heart conditions still today. It is used to control the heart rate, particularly if it is fast and irregular, therefore is often prescribed to those who been diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Though we use this plant to help save lives, it is poisonous, so don’t eat it!
Until next week,