The source of digoxin and digitalis. I am interested when people tell me they don’t take prescription medicines and that they only take “natural” medicines. Meaning pills. Pills do not grow on trees or bushes and are made by human beings. How exactly is the person defining “natural”?
My father said that anything a human could think up was “natural”. “Though that does not mean safe.” Think wingsuits and basejumping.
Digoxin and digitalis are used less than in the past, because there are many other medicines to choose from to control heart rate. However, they are still used because digoxin is one of the very few rate controlling medicines that does NOT lower blood pressure. Most of the others do lower blood pressure. When nothing else works or is tolerated, the cardiologist may sigh and say, ok, start digoxin. It is a tricky medicine because levels that get too high are toxic and the dose is different for each person and the dose must be lowered as kidney function changes with age. We still use it, though.
About one third of prescription medicines originate from a plant source like this, where the plant actually makes the active substance. Plants and animals and humans evolved together. We have deer all over town and they do not eat the foxglove. They love roses but stay away from foxglove.
I am seeing advertisements for a book to make your own medicines at home. I have not bought it. I would stay away from any recipe with foxglove: I want a lab to test to get the dose exactly right.
For Cee’s Flower of the Day. Heh, it turned into an essay of the day too. Wordy, wordy, wordy.
Ethnobotany was a field work interest of mine when I worked as an applied anthropologist. I walked through one Portuguese lady’s garden with her one day and noted that almost 90% of the plants – including the decorative ones, had known pharmacological effects – including abortificants. She just smiled at me and told me that many of her friends needed occasional help with female issues.
I think a lot of that information is circulating at the moment.
But always informative!
Thanks, doc. I’ll keep coming to you for my meds…or one like you.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts! Really helpful.