Foxglove Plant

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Foxglove, Vancouver Island, BC
Foxglove, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The Foxglove Plant is the pharmaceutical source of the heart drug digitalis, which is poisonous in overdose. The plants are also helpful in preserving other species of cut flowers with which they may be arranged in a vase or in stimulating the growth and endurance of garden root vegetables, especially potatoes, with which they may be planted.

Children should not be permitted to suck the nectar from these “bells” nor drink the rainwater collected within. Nor should adults indulge in herbal preparations containing digitalis without informed supervision.

Sap, flowers, seeds, and leaves of foxgloves are all poisonous The greatest concentration of the toxin occurs in vigorous growth shoots. Dried plant material is usually harmless. The poisoning of children is usually from eating the attractive flowers or drinking rainwater from the vase-like blooms.

Another possible cause of poisoning by this group of plants is the abuse of herbal medicines prepared from them. These medicines should be administered only by qualified medical personnel.

The symptoms of foxglove plant poisoning are a pain in the mouth or throat followed by vomiting, diarrhea, severe headache, and irregular pulse, breathing, and heartbeat. Convulsions and death from cardiac arrest can occur if poisoning is severe enough. Just smelling the flowers from to close can cause a slight poisoning.

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