: the dried powdered leaf of the common foxglove that contains glycosides which act on the heart and that is a powerful cardiotonic serving especially to increase the force of myocardial contraction; broadly: any of various cardiac glycosides (as digitalin or digoxin) that are constituents of digitalis or are derived from a related foxglove (Digitalis lanata)
New Latin, genus name, from Latin, of a finger, from digitus; from its finger-shaped corolla
First Known Use: 1664
Medical Definition of DIGITALIS
acapitalized: a genus of Eurasian herbs of the snapdragon family (Scrophulariaceae) that have alternate leaves and racemes of showy bell-shaped flowers and comprise the foxgloves b:foxglove
: the dried leaf of the common European foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) that contains physiologically active glycosides, that is a powerful cardiotonic acting to increase the force of myocardial contraction, to slow the conduction rate of nerve impulses through the atrioventricular node, and to promote diuresis, and that is used in standardized powdered form especially in the treatment of congestive heart failure and in the management of atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, and paroxysmal tachycardia of the atria; broadly: any of various glycosides (as digoxin or digitoxin) that are constituents of digitalis or are derived from a related foxglove (D. lanata)
Drug derived from leaves of the common foxglove and used as a drug that strengthens heart muscle contraction. It was first prescribed in the 18th century. Its active principles belong to a class of steroids called cardiac glycosides. Their dosage must be carefully monitored because the lethal dose may be only three times the effective dose. Digitoxin and digoxin are among the most commonly prescribed forms of digitalis.