Thursday, June 23, 2011
Unhand that foxglove!
Over two hundred years ago, physician William Withering also learned about the heart-thumping impact of foxglove--through an old woman in Shropshire, England. The woman brewed an herbal tea that was said to cure "the dropsy." Older people tended to suffer from swollen feet and ankles--called dropsy because the the body's fluids seemed to drop down into the legs. When he analyzed the herbal concoction, Dr. Withering realized that out of its twenty ingredients, foxglove had to be the active ingredient.
Digitalis remains the most effective heart drug yet discovered. If you're handling a lot of these plants, remember to approach foxglove with gloves.