Planta Med 2017; 83(12/13): 962-976
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-111240
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

The Foxgloves (Digitalis) Revisited[*]

Wolfgang Kreis
Lehrstuhl Pharmazeutische Biologie, Department Biology, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, Erlangen, Germany
› Author Affiliations
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Publication History

received 17 March 2017
revised 27 April 2017

accepted 08 May 2017

Publication Date:
23 May 2017 (eFirst)


This review provides a renewed look at the genus Digitalis. Emphasis will be put on those issues that attracted the most attention or even went through paradigmatic changes since the turn of the millennium. PubMed and Google Scholar were used (“Digitalis” and “Foxglove” were the key words) to identify research from 2000 till 2017 containing data relevant enough to be presented here. Intriguing new results emerged from studies related to the phylogeny and taxonomy of the genus as well as to the biosynthesis and potential medicinal uses of the key active compounds, the cardiac glycosides. Several Eastern and Western Foxgloves were studied with respect to their propagation in vitro. In this context, molecular biology tools were applied and phytochemical analyses were conducted. Structure elucidation and analytical methods, which have experienced less exciting progress, will not be considered here in great detail.

* Dedicated to Professor Dr. Max Wichtl in recognition of his outstanding contribution to pharmacognosy research.

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