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Flowers for the heart

Flowers for the heart

Digitalis is a genus of about 20 species of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, and biennials commonly called foxgloves.

The term digitalis is also used for drug preparations that contain cardiac glycosides, particularly one called digoxin, extracted from various plants of this genus.

Digitalis is an example of a cardio-active or cardiotonic drug, in other words a steroid which has the ability to exert a specific and powerful action on the cardiac muscle in animals, and has been used in the treatment of heart conditions ever since its discovery in 1775.

The discovery of digitalis is accredited to the Scottish doctor William Withering, and makes for quite an interesting historical story. While working as a physician in Staffordshire in the 18th Century, his girlfriend got him interested in plants and botany - so much so, that in 1776 he published a huge treatise, whose title begins 'A botanical arrangement of all the vegetables growing in Great Britain,...' and goes on for a further 24 lines! By the age of 46 he'd become the richest doctor outside of London, and bought Edgbaston Hall in Birmingham, which is now Edgbaston Golf Club. Another of his claims to fame is that he owned the first water closet in Birmingham!
Wow - life was exciting back in the 17 hundreds.

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Photo taken @ M on 7 July 2019 (© Neil. Moralee / Flickr)

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 neil moralee, foxglove, digitallis, digitalis, flower, purplr, heart, nature, dark, neil, moralee, olympus, culmstock, hemyock, cardiac, william, withering, botanical, colour, color

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