7 Interesting Benefits of Foxglove

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Some of the most interesting health benefits of foxglove include its ability to reduce bleeding, eliminate inflammation, treat heart disorders, detoxify the body, soothe the nervous system, and heal skin conditions.

What is Foxglove?

Commonly known foxgloves, the genus Digitalis consists of more than 20 perennial flowering species that come in the form of bushes or small flowering plants. This useful plant is native to certain parts of Europe, but can also be found throughout Asia, Australia, and America. The flowers of foxgloves are quite recognizable and are commonly compared to human fingers, and their color ranges from white and yellow to pink and purple. The active ingredient found in it is called digoxin, and this has received a great deal of attention in research realms due to it’s numerous and varied effects on human health. However, as with many of these powerful herbs, there is also a toxic side to this potential herbal remedy. Excessive use can result in a wide range of side effects, and should only be used under strict advisement from a medical professional. [1]

The leaves of the foxglove plant are commonly used in medicinal and traditional remedies. There are many different ways in which it is applied, including powdered leaves, tinctures, extracts, infusions, and grains. You can acquire supplements and various other forms of foxglove in herbalist stores and distributors of traditional medicines. Depending on your country of residence, certain levels of foxglove are allowed to be sold and distributed; as mentioned, excessively high levels of foxglove can be toxic.

Purple tubular foxglove blossoms in the outdoors

Foxglove plants are among the most poisonous plants commonly grown in home landscapes. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Health Benefits of Foxglove

Let’s take a closer look at the many health benefits of foxglove.

Cardiovascular Health

Foxglove is able to improve heart health and prevent other disorders. Mainly, it strengthens muscle tissue and increases the efficiency of your heart as it pumps blood throughout your body. It is able to increase blood pressure by tensing up the arteries and blood vessels. For people suffering from hypotension, using foxglove can be a great way to regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. This can effectively boost energy levels as well, given that hypotension can also result in fatigue. It is important to note that the effects of foxglove typically take 10-12 hours to appear, which can be difficult to wait through but be patient. It can be very dangerous to take additional amount when you don’t immediately feel the effects. [2]


One of the other major effects of foxglove on the body is to increase urination. In this role as a diuretic, it can help the body eliminate toxins, excess salts, fat, and water while relieving stress on the kidneys and liver, resulting in healthier systems and a more efficient metabolism. [3]

Nervous System

Foxglove can be very effective in the treatment of various nervous disorders. It can have a soothing effect on the nervous system, which often suffers from the most mysterious and tragic disorders. Studies have directly linked its use with reduced symptoms of conditions like epileptic attacks. [4]

Bleeding Disorders

The astringent quality of foxglove that makes it so effective in treating certain heart conditions also benefits the body by tightening up the blood vessels and reducing bleeding by stimulating coagulation. For those suffering from bleeding disorders or women experiencing particularly heavy menstruation, it can be the perfect answer. [5]

Brain Health

By stimulating the flow of blood through capillaries and blood vessels, foxglove makes it difficult for platelets to build-up, which is often why we suffer from headaches. Clearing out those vessels and ensuring healthy, oxygenated blood flow to the brain can ensure that our minds stay clear, sharp, and pain-free. [6]

Reduced Inflammation

Although this is not a common use of foxglove, some salves and creams can be applied to inflamed areas of the body for relief. Some of the active ingredients present in it do have analgesic and anti-inflammatory qualities, making them ideal for people suffering from everything from arthritis to gout. [7]

Skin Care

One of the traditional uses for foxglove was as an antibacterial and wound healing substance. Traditional herbalists would apply a bruised leaf of the foxglove directly on the site of a wound and let the organic compounds do the rest. The unique components of foxglove contributed antioxidant and antibacterial substances to those wounds to stimulate the healing process. This is also effective in a salve form for inflammation of the skin, boils, or ulcers. [8]

A Final Word of Warning: Although it has been made very clear in this article, it is essential to say again – foxglove is highly toxic and can have serious side-effects if consumed accidentally or used improperly. Many people suffer from digoxin toxicity every year, either by eating it or by drinking water in which the plants have been growing. While it is perfectly safe to use foxglove when under the advisement of a trained herbalist or medical professional, it is unwise to self-medicate with this herb or take anything outside the limits of what has been prescribed. [9]

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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