Plant of the Month June: Foxglove

The common foxglove, which belongs to the plantain family, is native to Central and Western Europe. Since it is also popular as a houseplant, it is also cultivated. As a biennial plant, it can grow to a remarkable height of up to two meters. The oval leaves of Digitalis purpurea are lance-shaped, the flowers are violet or pink.

You can buy foxgloves as young plants and put them in your garden in spring. Please pay attention to a nutrient-rich soil and avoid blazing sun. From June to August you can then admire the splendor of the flowers.

The red foxglove is highly poisonous, which is why it is rarely used as a medicinal plant. However, the glycosides it contains ensure a stronger heartbeat and at the same time lower the heart rate. It helps with cardiac insufficiency and cardiac arrhythmia. But only if it is dosed correctly. If the dose is too high, cardiac arrest can occur. Self-applications are therefore strongly discouraged. Because even a small overdose causes sometimes severe symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, up to shortness of breath and cardiac arrhythmia. Some components of foxglove, such as glycosides, saponins and flavonoids, are found in prescription medications.

In addition to pharmaceutical use, digitonin, a glycoside from red foxglove, is used in biochemistry. It is a nonionic surfactant that permeabilizes plasma membranes and leaches out membrane-bound proteins.

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