Digitalis purpurea (Foxglove)

Digitalis purpurea                  Common name:  Foxglove

Part Used:  Leaves

Constituents:  Digitoxin, digoxin, and gitoxin are the most important.  Digoxin is refined commercially as the drug Digoxin (Lanoxin).

Medicinal actions:  Cardio-stimulant

Medicinal use:  Congestive heart failure.

Pharmacy:  Dosage ranges of allopathic digoxin are variable according to the degree of heart failure and the age of the patient.  The typical dosage range is 12 – 35 mcg/kg body weight.  The maintenance daily dosage for most patients is between 0.25-0.5 mg once daily.  The whole Digitalis plant or plant extracts are no longer used.

Toxicity:  Toxicity symptoms develop several hours after ingestion.  At first the pulse slows dramatically and upon standing will become erratic and rapid.  There is nausea, anxiety, salivation, constriction in the head, giddiness, disordered vision, mental disturbance, vomiting. Persons may remain in this state for several days and may or may not survive.  A known antidote to digitalis poisoning is Aconite.  Certain other substances predispose to Digitalis toxicity, namely:  potassium depleting drugs, quinidine, and coritcosteroids.

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