Thursday, April 7, 2016

The 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE brought to you by The Letter "F"


Hello! And welcome to the 2016 A-Z CHALLENGE!!

* confetti *

This year, I’m blogging my way through a botanical alphabet

I hope you enjoy your time here and by all means, 
come back tomorrow and see what plant I’m highlighting next! Cheers!!

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Foxglove
digitalis purpurea
aka: witches bells, fairy gloves, dead man's bells, fairy caps, folksglove, bloody fingers

photo from www.botanical.com

According to legend, the curative properties of Foxglove were discovered by a folklorist when he came upon an elderly herbalist using it in her tea blend for dropsy or, as we call it today, congestive heart failure. When used in small doses, Foxglove is helpful. Look at the Latin name and the first word should look familiar. Digitalis is a well known heart medication. Of course, pharmaceutical digitalis is chemically derived but it got it's start as most medicines did: as a humble plant.

(Author's aside: also, plants have far fewer side effects than pharmaceuticals, more stringent testing, and 100s of thousands of years of documented use but let's not climb up on that soap box.)

The dangers of Foxglove come when it is taken in large doses (kind of like what happens with all "demonized herbs"). Like most things, too much of a good thing can be bad. With Foxglove, it can be deadly. The small dose can help calm the heart. An overdose can stop it altogether. Hence it's bad reputation with modern day folk and murder mystery writers.

Foxglove has a wonderful folklore regarding its name. it is a beautiful garden plant that can really elevate a border. The flower looks like little bells or a bit like mittens. According to some, Foxglove was once called "folksglove" because of its supposed used by the Fairy Folk. It grows in the deep hollows and dells where the Folk like to frequent. There's a charming Scandinavian legend that tells of a band of mischievous Fairies who gave the flowers to a crafty fox so he could put them on his paws and sneak into a farmer's hen house.

If you do plant Foxglove, warn children and adults from picking the beautiful blossoms...and keep them away from the chicken coop!

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All research references can be found in my Library of Botanical Miscellany

Disclaimer
These posts are in NO WAY medical suggestions. They are intended for informational purposes only.
If you are interested in pursuing natural, herbal remedies, get thee to a reputable herb shop (preferably one that is locally and independently owned and operated) and get educated!

Disclaimer II
It’s ridiculous that anyone writing about herbal and traditional remedies should have to put a disclaimer at the end of anything. 
Use your brain and think for yourself! Just as you shouldn't take a pharmaceutical at face value, 
do your herbal research and learn about the amazing plants around us.


7 comments:

  1. Thanks for exploring something I never would have seen otherwise. I actually have several parts that reference medicinal parts of herbs/plants in my second book, and so I might take a look back at these posts when I go back for revisions on that one.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh how neat! I love reading books that have botanical references in them :D I'd be honored if you used my little posts in your revisions. Also take a look at the references I've posted in the above reference link! There's SO MUCH on these herbs I wasn't able to include! Thanks for stopping by (and good luck with those revisions) :D

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  2. Once again, I don't know if I like better the botanical info or the folklore.
    Great post.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely the folklore. Always the folklore ;)

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  3. Once again, I don't know if I like better the botanical info or the folklore.
    Great post.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter - Jazz Age Jazz

    ReplyDelete
  4. If I recall correctly, the name Fiona means foxglove. (Random trivia for the day.) ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, and I've always loved that name. Thanks!!

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