I did make some more Elderberry Cold Syrup and canned it up but I've really not done a lot herby.
Oh, by the way I did try a new recipe today. It is called Brownie Swirl Cheesecake and oh my. Hubby and I are going out to dinner tonight with some friends and we're coming back to our home for dessert and coffee. I'm here to tell you this dessert is the bomb!!
In a week or two I'll begin planting seeds for the vegetable garden and that is exciting. I am also making my list right now for all the herb plants I wish to order. This year I need to order foxglove plants. The last one barely made it through this past year. I had been very lucky. Over the years I have lived here I only bought 3. All the rest that came up were from seed volunteers but this year's foxglove, I do believe, was the last. I grow foxglove because it's beautiful. I don't actually use it. I do not feel competent enough to use it. Digitalis-like ingredients aren't something you play with!!
According to encyclopedia.com - Foxglove, also called Digitalis purpurea, is a common biennial garden plant that contains digitoxin, digoxin, and other cardiac glycosides. These are chemicals that affect the heart. Digitalis is poisonous; it can be fatal even in small doses. It was the original source of the drug called digitalis.
Foxglove is a native of Europe. It was first known by the Anglo-Saxon name foxes glofa (the glove of the fox), because its flowers look like the fingers of a glove. This name is also thought to be related to a northern legend that bad fairies gave the blossoms to the fox to put on his toes, so that he could muffle his footfalls while he hunted for prey. The legend may account in part for some of the common names of digitalis: dead man's bells, fairy finger, fairy bells, fairy thimbles, fairy cap, ladies' thimble, lady-finger, rabbit's flower, throatwort, flapdock, flopdock, lion's mouth, and Scotch mercury.
Foxglove was first introduced to the United States as an ornamental garden plant. During the first year, foxglove produces only leaves. In its second season it produces a tall, leafy flowering stalk that grows 3–4 ft (0.9–1.2 m) tall. In early summer, many tubular, bell-shaped flowers bloom; they are about 2 in (5.08 cm) long and vary in color from white to lavender and purple.
Foxglove was originally used for congestive heart failure and atrial fibrillation (chaotic contractions across the atrium of the heart). Foxglove helps the muscles of the heart to contract, reduces the frequency of heartbeats, and lowers the amount of oxygen the heart needs to work. The cardiac glycosides in foxglove block an enzyme that regulates the heart's electrical activity. The dried leaves, ripe dried seeds, and fresh leaves of the one-year-old plant, or the leaves of the two-year old plant are the parts that were used in medicine.
In spite of its use in the past, foxglove has been largely replaced as a heart medicine by standardized pharmaceutical preparations because it is one of the most dangerous medicinal plants in the world. Its sap, flowers, seeds, and leaves are all poisonous; the leaves, even when dried, contain the largest amount of cardiac glycosides. The upper leaves of the stem are more dangerous than the lower leaves. Foxglove is most toxic just before the seeds ripen. It tastes spicy hot or bitter and smells slightly bad.
Used improperly, foxglove is deadly; it can make the heart stop or cause a person to suffocate. Eating any part of the plant can be fatal. The therapeutic dose of foxglove is very close to the lethal dose. Foxglove should therefore not be used.
An overdose of foxglove interferes with the heart's normal electrical rhythms; it can make the heart beat too slowly or cause extra heartbeats. An overdose of foxglove may also cause diarrhea, headache, loss of appetite, and vomiting. More serious and potentially deadly reactions to an overdose affect the heart and the central nervous system. Foxglove can disrupt the heart's rhythm, including life-threatening ventricular tachycardia, or atrial tachycardia with atrioventricular block. In the central nervous system, foxglove can cause confusion, depression, drowsiness, hallucinations, psychoses, and visual disturbances.
Poisoning from foxglove occasionally occurs from the misuse of such herbal preparations as dried foxglove leaves used in a tea, or from overdoses of prescribed digitalis. It can also occur when foxglove is confused with comfrey, a plant used for tea that belongs to the borage family. The two herbs look very much alike.
Foxgloves are tall biennials and are simply beautiful when in bloom. When I care for my plants I'm careful to wear gloves and I take care when children are in my garden. I like to always be sure to give children and adults proper information concerning herbs and it is necessary for them to know both the pros and the cons. One is not properly educated unless one has all the facts and the information. Knowledge alleviates fear.