Foxglove is a common name for plants belonging to the Digitalis species, including Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis lanata. Traditional medicine has used foxglove to treat heart conditions, fevers, wounds, swelling or inflammation, sores, ulcers, cancer, edema, and infections.
Reports describe foxglove leaves as being similar to those of other species, such as Inula conyza (ploughman's spikenard), Inula helenium (elecampane), Symphytum officinale (comfrey), Verbascum thapsus (great mullein), and Primulaceae (primrose).
Foxglove is rarely used for modern medical purposes because of its toxic effects, including nausea, vomiting, green-yellow vision, and death. Still, foxglove and other Digitalis species contain cardiac glycosides, agents known to increase the strength and speed of heartbeats, making it seemingly useful for treating certain heart disorders. However, scientific studies on the safety and efficacy of the crude herb are lacking. However, the modern drug digoxin is extracted from Digitalis lanata and is used to treat certain heart conditions. However, digoxin, unlike crude samples of foxglove, is standardized in controlled laboratory settings.
1,8-dihyroxy-3,7-dimethlyoctene-1-β-glucopyranoside, 1-methoxy-2-hydroxy-3-methyl-anthraquinone, 1-methoxy-2-methyl-anthraquinone, 3-methoxy-alizarin, 3-methylpurpurin, 4-hydroxydigitolutein, 6,8-dihydroxymyricetin, 14α-digipronin, 16-acetylgitoxin, acetic acid, acetylcholine, apigenin, apigenin-glucosylapioside, benzoic acid, bloody fingers, caffeic acid, calceolarioside, Camelot rose hybrids, cardeonolides, cardiac glycosides, cerotic acid, chlorogenic acid, choline, chromium, citric acid, common foxglove, cyaniding-3,5-diglucoside, dead man's bells, dead men's bells, degalactotigogenin, desglucodigitonin, desrhamnosyl aceteoside, digacetenin, digalogenin, digalonin, digicitrin, digifolein, digifucocellobioside, diginin, digipronin, digiproside, digipurpurin, digipurpurogenin, digitalein, digitalin, digitalis, Digitalis amandiana Samp., Digitalis dubia Rodr., Digitalis ferruginea, Digitalis grandiflora, Digitalis heywoodii (P.Silva & M.Silva) P.Silva & M.Silva, Digitalis lanata, Digitalis mariana Boiss., Digitalis miniana Samp., Digitalis minor, Digitalis nevadensis Kunze, Digitalis purpurea f. albiflora, Digitalis purpurea subsp. dubia (Rodr.) Knoche, Digitalis purpurea subsp. heywoodii, Digitalis purpurea subsp. heywoodii P.Silva & M.Silva, Digitalis purpurea supsp. mariana, Digitalis purpurea L. subsp. mariana (Boiss.) Rivas Goday, Digitalis purpurea subsp. purpurea, Digitalis purpurea L. subsp. purpurea var. tomentosa (Hoffmanns. & Link) Brot., digitalonin, digitogenin, digitoleutin, digitonin, digitopurpon, digitoxigenin, digitoxigenin-bisdigitoxoside, digitoxigenin-glucomethyloside, digitoxin, digoxin, dinatin, evatromonoside, fairy cap, fairy finger, fairy thimbles, fairy's glove, fatty acids, ferulic acid, F-gitonin, figwort, fingerhut (German), folk's glove, foxglove extract, foxy hybrids foxgloves, gallic acid, gitalin, gitaloxigenin, gitaloxigenin-bisdigitoxoside, gitaloxin, gitogenin, gitonin, gitorin, gitoroside, gitostin, gitoxigenin, gitoxigenin-bisdigitoxoside, gitoxin, gitoxincellobioside, gitoxoside, gloves of our lady, glucodigifucoside, glucodigitoxigenin-bisdigitoxoside, glucodigitoxigenin-glucomethyloside, gluco-evatromonoside, glucogitaloxin, glucogitoroside, glucogitoxigenin-bisdigitoxoside, glucolanadoxin, glucoverodoxin, glycoside A, glycoside B, Grecian foxglove, gum, inositol, isochrysophanol, lactic acid, lady's glove, lady's thimble, lanadoxin, lanafolin, lanatoside A, lanatoside B, lanatoside C, lanatoside D, lanatoside E, lion's mouth, loliolide, luteolin, luteolin-5-xyloside-7-glucuronide, luteolin-7-D-glucoside, luteolin-7-xyloside-5-glucuronide, luteolin-diglucoside, luteolin-L-7-glucosyl-glucuronide, luteolin-L-7-glucuronide, melissyl alcohol, neodigitogenin, neodigitalogenin, neogitostin, odorobioside G, odorobioside H, orobanchoside, p-coumaric acid, pelargonidin-3,5-diglucoside, phomarin, phomarin-6-methyl-ether, Plantaginaceae (family), plantainoside D, purlanoside B, purple foxglove, purpnin, purprin, purpronin, purpureagitoside, purpureaglycoside A, purpureaglycoside B, purpureaside A, revbielde (Norwegian), rusty foxglove, saponins, scotch mercury, Scrophulariaceae (family), sitosterol, spirostanol-glycosides, stansioside, starch, strospeside, succinic acid, sugar, throatwort, tigogenin, tigonin, triacontane, verodoxin, virgin's glove, volatile oil, witches' glove, witches' gloves, witch's bells, wolly foxglove, wooly foxglove, yellow foxglove.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.