Scientific name: Digitalis purpurea

Common names: Foxgloves, dead men’s bells, Fairy gloves

Ayurvedic names: Hritpatri, Tilapushpi

Chinese names:

Bangladesh names:

Arabic names:    الديجيتال (ad-dejitaal)

Rain Forest names:

Family: Fabaceae

Approximate number of species known:

Common parts used: Leaf

Collection: Summer

Annual/Perennial: Biennial

Height: 3 to 5 feet

Known Constituents: Usually >.3% of cardenolic glycosides expressed as digitoxin

Constituents Explained:


A brittle leaf that is usually 10-40cm long and 4-15 cm wide.  The upper leaf is green and the underneath surface is greyish green.  The leaves have veins that run at 45 from the centre to the outside

Traditional Use:

Known as a nutritious plant, it contains Vitamins A, B vitamins, C, E, K and a varitey of minerals and trace minerals.  A green plant famed for its high chlorophyll content. When in bloom it contains beautiful purple flowers.

Clinical Studies:

A multicenter clinical trial was conducted on the clinical efficacy and safety of the Esculin and Digitalis glycosides Eye Drops used in the patients of ametropic asthenopia. 

Asthenopia patients were chosen from eleven hospitals cross China from July, 2008 to January, 2009. The experiment was conducted asthenopia patients who used the Esculin and Digitalis glycosides Eye Drops for 4 weeks continuously. 

Symptoms of asthenopia, UCVA (uncorrected vision acuity), refraction, amplitude of accommodation, accommodative lag, accommodative sensitivity and positive/negative relative accommodation were measured at different time points, such as treated before, 1 week and 4 week in treated after.

After the 4-week’s use of Esculin and Digitalis glycosides Eye Drops, each subjective symptom of the patients was decreased significantly. In addition, most of the objective exams of accommodation ability were significantly improved, such as UCVA, refraction, amplitude of accommodation, accommodative lag, and accommodative sensitivity.

No patient appeared any adverse reaction in whole experiment. Esculin and Digitalis glycosides Eye Drops is effective and safe for use in the patients of ametropia asthenopia.


Jiang ZY, Qu XM, Li XX, Liu YL, Shen NC, Zhang L, Ke BL, Zhao PQ, Jiang J, Yao K, Zeng J, Yang X, Chu RY. “The Clinical Efficacy And Safety Of Esculin And Digitalis Glycosides Eyedrops In Treating Ametropic Asthenopia.” 2010 December



Herb Name: Foxglove

Other names: Fairy’s Glove. Gloves of Our Lady. Fairy Caps. Folk’s Glove. Dead Men’s Bells. Bloody Fingers. Witches’ Gloves. Virgin’s Glove. Fairy Thimbles.

Latin name: Digitalis purpurea

Family: N.O. Scrophulariaceae

Common part used: Leaves

The Foxglove is a poisonous herb that is found is certain parts of Europe, namely in Engladn, in Madeira and the Azores. It has important medicinal aspects.

This plant needs little soil and can often be found growing on bare, rocky hillsides, or in cracks in walls, or even by the road side. Under cultivation, these plants flourish best in loose, recently-turned soil. It helps if the soil is well drained and siliceous. The plant flourishes best in sunshine, with a little shade at the hottest part of the day. It has been clinically proven that plants grown under these conditions produce the extracted drug in far more active concentrations than plants that are grown in the shade.

These plants have leaves that are large, often thirty centimeters long or more. The edges of the leaves are indented, and the leaves themselves contract towards their base. The leaves have prominent lateral veins and are covered with small hairs.

Foxglove flowers are bell shaped tubes and can range from three to six centimeters long. They are generally pollinated by bees. They are a deep, bright red in color, though this can vary, especially under cultivation, even to white.

Digitalis is exceedingly useful in heart cases, enhancing the activity of any muscle tissue – it is especially effective in stimulating the muscles of the arterioles and heart, thus enhancing the circulation.

Due to an inimical constituent, Digitoxin, Digitalis must always be administered in moderate and carefully monitored doses. Under such treatment the drug can slow the heart rate and steady it as well. It also tones and contracts the heart muscle, and hence is especially beneficial to cardiac dilation.

It is cultivated in many regions to procure steady supplies of the drug.