Purple Foxglove. Nat. Ord. Scrophulariaceae. Linn. Syst. Didynamia Angiospermia. Hab. England, and Western Europe.

Med. Prop. and Action. The leaves (off.) are sedative to the heart's action and diuretic. Their activity depends upon a peculiar bitter principle, Digi-taline. Pereira || divides the action of Digitalis into three stages: - 1. In the first degree, Foxglove sometimes affects the organic functions, without disordering the animal or cerebro-spinal functions. Thus we sometimes have the stomach disordered, the pulse altered in frequency, and occasionally also in fulness and regularity, and the secretion of urine increased without any other marked symptom. These symptoms are not uniform. In the second degree, or in that resulting from too large or too long-continued doses, there is a disordered state of the alimentary canal, of the circulating organs, and of the cerebro-spinal system. The most ordinary symptoms are nausea, or actual vomiting, slow and often irregular pulse, coldness of the extremities, syncope, or a tendency to it, giddiness and confusion of vision. The nervous system is sometimes much affected; external objects appear of a green or yellow colour; the patient fancies that there is a mist or sparks before his eyes; there is a weight and pain in the forehead, weakness of the limbs, loss of sleep, stupor, or delirium. In the third degree, or that resulting from fatal doses, all these symptoms are present in an aggravated degree. Convulsions, with a dilated, insensible pupil, generally precede death. Dr. Garrod¶ observes that, although Digitalis acts powerfully on the heart, it does not appear to control morbid states of the capillary circulation so powerfully as anti-monial and mercurial preparations. It occasionally acts as a soporific, but, according to Garrod, only where restlessness and insomnia are produced by an over-excited state of the heart.

Offic. Prep. 1. Digitalinum (see art. Digitalinum).

2. Infusum Digitalis (Dried Digitalis Gre

xxx.; Boiling Distilled Water fl. oz. x. Infuse one hour and strain). Dose fl. drs. ij. - fl. oz. as., or more, every four or six hours.

3. Tinctura Digitalis (Bruised Digitalis Oz

iiss.; Proof Spirit Oj. Prepared by maceration and percolation). Dose ev. - exl

Dose of powdered leaves, gr. 1/2 - gr. ij.

The effect of Digitalis on the Pulse. Dr. Baildon ** first noticed the effect of posture, in ascertaining the real effects of Digitalis on the pulse. When, by gradually increased doses, he took it to the extent of gr. vj. in the day, the pulse fell from 110 to 40. When it was actually 40, the erect posture would raise it to 100; when sitting, it was 72; and when lying down, it was 40. The same effect was observed in several individuals. These facts should be borne in mind when administering Digitalis, and they account, in a measure, for the assertion of Dr. Saunders, that Foxglove excites the pulse. Its effects upon the pulse, however, vary much in individuals. Pereira considers that the reduction in frequency is more readily induced in weak, debilitated constitutions, than in robust and plethoric ones. Occasionally it produces no perceptible effect on the pulse, and, in rare cases, it renders it intermittent.

* L'Union Med., April 1853. Ibid., July 1854. Bull. Gen. de Therap., 1854, vol. wli. p. 76. § Ann. de Therap., 1853, p. 12S.

|| Materia Medica, vol. ii. p. 1388.

¶ Essentials of Mat. Med. and Therap. , p. 264.

** Edinb. Med. Surg. Journ., vol. iii.

Among the occasional effects of Digitalis, is a profuse flow of saliva: of this, several instances are quoted by Dr. Wright. *

1089. Remarks on the use of Digitalis: - 1. Digitalis, when given in small and long-continued doses, is apt to accumulate in the system, and suddenly to evidence its presence by poisonous and even fatal effects. Dr. Holland, however, considers that its danger in this respect has been over-rated; an opinion in which he is joined by Dr. Pereira. Dr. Garrod § offers the following explunation of its cumulative character: - "that considerable weakening of the heart's action may occur without any very evident symptom being produced; but if this is increased above a certain point, so as to interfere with the efficiency of the circulation, then all the symptoms are rapidly and dangerously manifested."