Digitalis Lanata

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Glycosides

It consists of the dried leaves of Digitalis lanata J. F. Ehrh., belonging to family Scrophulariaceae.





Grecian Foxglove.


Biological Source


It consists of the dried leaves of Digitalis lanata J. F. Ehrh., belonging to family Scrophulariaceae.


Geographical Source


It is mainly found in Central and Southern Europe, England, California and India.


Cultivation and Collection


It is an evergreen biennial/Perennial growing to 0.6 m by 0.3 m. The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and alkaline soils. It can grow in semishade or no shade. It requires dry or moist soil. It grows well even in ordinary garden soil, especially if it is rich in organic matter. It is propagated by seeds. Seed are sown on early spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2–4 weeks at 20°C. When they are large enough to handle, seedlings are transplanted into individual pots and planted them out in the summer.




The leaves are sessile, linear-lanceolate, about 30 cm long and 4 cm broad with entire margin and apex is acuminate. The veins leave the midrib at an acute-angle. The epidermal cells are beaded with anticlinal walls, has 10–14 celled nonglandular trichomes, and the glandular one.


Chemical Constituents


Digitalis lanata contains cardiac glycosides like lanatoside A, B, C and E. Lanatosides A and B are acetyl derivatives of purpurea glycosides A and B respectively. Hydrolysis of Lanatoside C yields digoxin, a crystalline active glycoside.





It has gained much importance in recent years because of the less cumulative effect and three to four times greater activity than D. purpurea. They have the same actions as that of the D. purpurea. It is the commercial source of digoxin. Employed in the treatment of auricular fibrillation and congestive heart failure. Their use should always be supervised by a qualified practitioner since in excess they cause nausea, vomiting, slow pulse, visual disturbance, anorexia and fainting.


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