Plantidote of the Day 2011-08-12
Something for everyone -- a flower that grows in all zones! Foxgloves like rich soil, water and light shade for at least part of the day, especially in areas with hot summers. Depending on the variety, the plants may grow to heights of 2 to 8 feet. The flower stalks can bloom from spring through early fall, producing tubular, spotted flowers in a range of colors. Bonus: foxglove is a hummingbird magnet!
The leaves of foxglove plants contain digitalis, a compound that has been used to treat heart ailments for centuries. Definitely a "do not try this at home" plant remedy, though, since taking digitalis internally without medical supervision can be lethal.
Unfortunately, the correct dosage [of digitalis] varies in every case and, as the plant has poisonous properties, its administration is best left to an experienced herbalist or medical doctor. Novices should stick to the external use of foxglove leaves; in poultices or compresses these will calm headaches, reduce tumors and lessen inflammation.
Readers, please send twig (email@example.com) images and stories for the ongoing Plantidote of the Day series. In exchange, you'll win undying fame in the form of a hat tip! Plants growing in your garden, your house, or neighbor's yard, plants from the forest or farmers' market, plants you preserved, plants you prepared (wine; cider; tea; dried beans), plants you harvested (grains; chanterelles), plants you picked (flowers), plants you dried (herbs), plants you covet or hope to grow someday. Herbal remedies, propagation tips, new varieties, etc.. And if you can, include some solid detail about the plant, too -- a story, the genus and species, or where you got the seeds, or the recipe, or your grandmother gave it to you. Or challenge us with a "Name That Plant" mystery entry ... And please feel free to add corrections and additional information in the comments.
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