Digitalis: Biological sources,Medicinal Uses, Morphological features and MCQs

Digitalis: Biological sources,Medicinal Uses, Morphological features and MCQs


1. Biological sources:

• The botanical name of digitais is Digitalis pupurea.
• The biological source of digitalis is its dried leaves.
• It belongs to the scrophulariaceae plant family.
• It is also known as foxglove leaves, digitalis leaves.

2. Morphological features:

• Color is dark grayish green.
• It is odourless.
• Taste is distinctly bitter.
• Length is 10-30 cm and width is 4-10 cm.
• Shape is may be ovate,lanceolate or petiolate.
• Margin of leaves are crenate or dentate.
• Base of leaves are decurrent or dentate.
• Apex is subacute.
• Both surfaces of leaves are pubescent.
• Generally it appears broken or crimped.
• The upper surface of leaves slightly pubescent and dark green in color.
• It is little wrinkled and one water pore is present near each tooth.
• Lower surface is grayish green and it is very pubescent.
• Venation is pinnate and mid-rib.
• Petiole is winged and 2.5 to 10 cm long.

3. Chemical constituents:

• The main chemical constituents of digitalis are primary and secondary glycosides.
• The amount is 0.2-0.45% which is present in digitalis.
• Purpurea glycosides A and B(active chemical constituents), glucogetaloxin are the primary glycosides which are present in digitali.
• Digitoxin, gitoxin and getaloxin are the secondary glycosides present in digitalis.
• It also contain odoroside H.
• Verodoxin is also present in it.
• Is also consist of anthraquinones derivatives such as digitolutin, methoxy-2 methyl anthraquinones.
• It also contain saponin and flavonoids as chemical constituents.
• Tannins and pectin also present in it in small amount.

4. Uses:

• It is used to treat congestive heart failure.
• It helps in more powerful contractions of heart and increase excitability of cardiac muscle.
• It has a good effect on kidney which results in diuresis and loss of oedema.
• It has cardiotinic property.
• It is also used to treat arterial flutter and trial fibrillation.
• It is used to treat peroxymal atrial tachycardia.

5. Adulteration:

Digitalis adulterated by the mullein leaves, comfrey leaves and primrose leaves.


1. What is the botanical name of digitalis?
(a) Digitalis pupurea
(b) Gaillardia aristata
(c) Dicenta spectabilis
(d) Liatris spicata

2. What is the biological source of digitalis?
(a) Seeds
(b) Leaves
(c) Roots
(d) Bark

3. Match the following with respect to the chemical constituents of plants.
I. Cascara                                            A. cocaine
II. Coca                                               B. vincristine
III. Vinca                                            C. purpurea A
IV. Digitalis                                        D. anthranol

4. Choose incorrect statement with respect to the medicinal uses of plants.
I. Vinca is used to treat cancer.
II. Digitalis is used to treat gonorrhea.
III. Cascara is used to treat constipation.
IV. Squill is used to treat heart problems.
(a) Both I and II
(b) Both III and IV
(c) Only II
(d) Both II and IV

5. Digitalis belongs to which plant family?
(a) Apocynaceae
(b) Solaniaceae
(c) Scrophulariaceae
(d) Loganiaceae

6. what are the adulterants of digitalis?
(a) Mullein leaves
(b) Comfrey leaves
(c) Primrose leaves
(d) All of the above

7. What is the main property of digitalis?
(a) Antiseptic
(b) Anti-inflammatory
(c) Cardio tonic
(d) All of the above

8. Length of leaves of digitalis is
(a) 20-30 cm
(b) 10-30 cm
(c) 30-40 cm
(d) 10-20 cm

9. What is the main chemical constituent of digitalis?
(a) Verodoxin
(b) Odoroside H
(c) Saponin
(d) Purpurea A and B

10. Digitalis used to treat
(a) Tachycardia
(b) Congestive heart failure
(c) Arterial flutter
(d) All of the above


1. (a)
2. (b)
3. (c)
4. (c)
5. (c)
6. (d)
7. (c)
8. (b)
9. (d)
10. (d)


Evans W.C, Editors. Trease and Evans Pharmacognosy. New York , Saunders Elsevier; 2009, p.108,111,322,325.

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