The English doctor and botanist William Withering discovered me. Withering was one of the founders of pharmacology, the science of medicinal effects.

. It is said that one day he met ‘Mother Hutton’, a folk herbalist to whom many people went for treatment for all kinds of ailments.

He watched while she treated someone for oedema, an accumulation of fluid resulting from heart disease, using her patent herbal mixture, and was amazed: it worked!

He begged Mother Hutton to share the recipe, which she did, and he discovered that the active ingredient came from Digitalis purpurea.

After over ten years of research Withering published a report to say that foxglove could indeed be very beneficially used to treat oedema.

It could also, he explained, be used to influence heart contractions and so cure heart disease. I don’t want to brag – but how great am I!