Scientific Name/Common Name: Primula veris / Primrose / Cowslip
Part(s) Used: Flower
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Up to 2% saponins, especially primula acid, largely concentrated in the sepals. In the other parts of the flowers flavonoids (gossypetin, kaempferol dirhamnoside, and 3-gentiotrioside, quercetin), carotenoids, traces of essential oil, and enzymes (primverase). Six new flavonoids have recently been identified: 3′, 4′, 5′-trimethoxyflavone and mono-, di- tri- and pentamethoxyflavones.
Overview: Primula flowers, otherwise known as cowslip, are found in meadows and light undergrowth throughout the sunny regions of central and Western Europe and Asia. They grow about 20 cm. tall, have coarse and wrinkled leaves, and honey-scented, yellow flowers. Primula is primarily used for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and coughs, as it has decongestant and phlegm thinning and loosening properties. Primula flowers can be taken as an infusion or in tinctures. The German Commission E recommends one to two teaspoons of dried primrose flowers or one teaspoon of the plant’s dried root as a respiratory remedy for laryngitis, bronchitis, colds, and coughs. The flowers and root are particularly recommended for dispelling catarrh of the respiratory tract—thick mucus that is difficult to move without a tea or other medicine.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: Respiratory system; expectorant for bronchitis and catarrh; for cough and colds.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Wichtl, M and NG Bisset (Eds). 1994. Primulae flos – Primula flower. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 388-389.
Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. Pp. 119-120; 181; 373. Rodale Press.
Huck CW, Huber CG, Ongania KH, Bonn GK. Isolation and characterization of methoxylated flavones in the flowers of Primula veris by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 2000 Feb 18; 870(1-2): 453-62.
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