Cowslip

cowslip, Primula veris
By Tony Hisgett from Birmingham, UK (Cowslip Wood Uploaded by Magnus Manske) [CC-BY-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Primula veris-Cowslip

Family: Primulaceae

Other names: P. officinalis, False Primrose, Keyflower, Fairy Cup, Paigle, Key of Heaven

Habitat: Europe, including Britain but absent from the extreme north, to temperate Asia. Grassy places, fields and woods with calcareous soils.

hazardsmallSome people are allergic to the stamens of this plant, though such cases are easily treated. Saponins may cause hypotension. Excessive/prolonged use may interfere with high blood pressure treatments. Possible Gastrointestinal irritation.

Cowslip is an underused but valuable medicinal herb. They have a very long history of medicinal use and have been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains. The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect, and salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin. They are recommended for treating over-activity and sleeplessness, especially in children. They are potentially valuable in the treatment of asthma and other allergic conditions. . It is used in the treatment of chronic coughs (especially those associated with chronic bronchitis and catarrhal congestion, flu and other febrile conditions. It is used in the treatment of kidney complaints and catarrh. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Primula veris; Cowslip forPERENNIAL.

primula_veris,cowslip
Penny Mayes [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Description of Cowslip:

Primula veris, Cowslip is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 0.2 m (0ft 8in). 
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.The plant is self-fertile. 

Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and can grow in heavy clay soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Cultivation of Cowslip:

Prefers a medium to heavy moisture retentive humus rich loam in a cool position with light to medium shade. Grows well in heavy clay soils and on chalk. Prefers full sun and a well-drained alkaline soil if it is to survive well. Plants are hardy to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant, it grows well in the spring meadow. The flowers diffuse a sweet fragrance quite unlike all other flower scents. It has been likened by some to the breath of a cow (cuslippe is the Saxon word for this and thus the origin of the common name), by others to the sweet milky breath of a tiny child.

Propagation of Cowslip:

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in early spring in a cold frame. Germination is inhibited by temperatures above 20°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in autumn. This is best done every other year.

Collection:

The root can be harvested in the spring or autumn and is dried for later use.

Culinary uses of Cowslip:

Edible Parts: Flowers, Leaves.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Young leaves – raw or cooked in soups etc. They are not that tasty, but are available in late winter which adds somewhat to their value. The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute. Flowers – raw, cooked or used in conserves, as a garnish etc. They make an ornamental addition to the salad bowl. This species has become much less common in the past 100 years due to habitat destruction, over-collecting from the wild and farming practices. When it was more abundant, the flowers were harvested in quantity in the spring and used to make a tasty wine with sedative and nervine properties. A related species Primula elatior is listed by the Council of Europe as a natural food flavouring.

primula_Veris,Cowslip_botanicalMedicinal uses of Cowslip:

Part used: Root, leaf, flower

Anodyne,  Antianxiety,  Antiecchymotic,  Antiinflammatory,  Antispasmodic,  Diaphoretic,  Diuretic,  Expectorant,  Sedative,  Sternutatory.

Cowslips are an underused but valuable medicinal herb. They have a very long history of medicinal use and have been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains. The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect, and salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin and have anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects. This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women, patients who are sensitive to aspirin, or those taking anti-coagulant drugs such as warfarin. The flowers and the leaves are anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic and expectorant. They are harvested in the spring and can be used fresh or dried. The yellow corolla of the flower is antispasmodic and sedative. They are recommended for treating over-activity and sleeplessness, especially in children. They are potentially valuable in the treatment of asthma and other allergic conditions. At one time an oil was produced by maceration of the flowers, this has an antiecchymotic effect (treats bruising). The root contains 5 – 10% triterpenoid saponins which are strongly expectorant, stimulating a more liquid mucous and so easing the clearance of phlegm .It has been dried and made into a powder then used as a sternutatory. The root is also mildly diuretic, anti-rheumatic and slows the clotting of blood. It is used in the treatment of chronic coughs (especially those associated with chronic bronchitis and catarrhal congestion), flu and other febrile conditions. The leaves have similar medicinal properties to the roots but are weaker in action. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of kidney complaints and catarrh. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Primula veris for cough/bronchitis.

Preparation and dosage:

Posology
Adolescents, adults, elderly
Herbal preparations A (according to ÖAB4
), B, C,
D, G:
A) Dry extract (according to ÖAB with DER 3-
3.5:1):
Single dose: 0.1 – 0.2 g, 3 times daily
B) Liquid extract:
Single dose: 0.5 g, 3 times daily
C) Liquid extract:
Single dose: 0.6 g, 4 times daily
D) Tincture:
Single dose:

Other uses of Cowslip:

None known

cowslip_fairy
Esoteric uses of Cowslip:

Treasure finding, youth, concentration, focus, and house & business blessing. Use in ritual work involving Goddesses associated with love. Carry to increase attractiveness and increase romantic appeal, providing the energy to attract a partner.

The Chemistry:

Primula veris contains glycosides, primeverin, primulaverin and the saponin primula acid A. It can have irritant effects in those who are allergic to it.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

If you agree to these terms, please click here.