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Cowslip Primrose / Cowslip (Primula Veris) – Classification, Ayurvedic Properties & Dosage


Primula veris commonly known as Cowslip; is a very decorative flowering meadow native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere but in addition to its aesthetic features it also has medicinal properties and has been used as a medicinal herb for cough, cold, bronchitis, sleeplessness, neuropathic pains, headache, tremors and many more, according to EMA (European Medicines Agency). Let's discuss further in detail about this medicinal herb in the following article.

Cowslip Primrose, Cowslip, Primula Veris, Cowslip Primrose Ayurvedic Properties, Benefits of Cowslip, Botanical Name of Cowslip, Classification, Effects On Doshas, Synonyms, Dosage, Ayurvedic products

Other Native Names

  • Italian - Primula odorosa
  • French - Primevère officinale
  • German - Frühlings-Schlüsselblume

Systemic Classification

  • Scientific Name - Primula veris
  • Kingdom - Plantae
  • Division - Magnoliophyta
  • Class - Magnoliopsida
  • Order - Primulales
  • Family - Primulaceae

Chemical Composition

  • Water soluble polysaccharides - Rhamnose, arabinose, glucose, galacturonic acid, galactose and xylose.
  • Flavonoids - Apigenin, isorhamnose (isorhamnetin-3-O-glucoside, isorhamnetin-3-O-rutinoside), luteolin, kaempferol (kaempferol-3-odiglucoside-7-O-glucoside, kaempferol-3-rutinoside, kaempferol-3-O-galactoside-rhamnoside-7-O-rhamnoside).
  • Glycosides - Primulaverin, primveroside.
  • Quinolones - Primin & quinone constituents.
  • Saponins - which is absent in all other parts of flower but only present in sepals.
  • Tannins - Condensed tannins for example, proanthocyanidine and pseudotannins.
  • Hyperoside - (quercetin-3-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-gentiobioside, quercetin-trihexoside).
  • Other constituents present such as silicic acid and volatile oils.


Primula veris is native to Europe (abundantly grow bush in temperate regions) and Asia (occurs throughout the temperate areas of Europe as far east as the Russian border). As the name suggests, the wild habitat of the cowslip is a cow pasture and mostly found in free-drained, grasslands, herb-rich meadows in woodland or scrub rides and edges, and on calcareous rocks. Primula veris has also been introduced and naturalized in eastern North America. It blooms on alkaline loams or clays, on limestone, and sometimes in dunes.


Primula veris, commonly known as cowslip, is a clump-forming, long-lived 8–30 cm long herbaceous perennial. This plant can grow in shade or semi-shade in light woodlands. It is noted for its early to mid-spring bloom of bright yellow flowers with a pleasant, honey smell and orange spots at the edge of each lobe. Leaves (including petioles) are non aromatic 5–15(−20) cm long, 2–6 cm broad at flowering time could be enlarging at fruiting time. Rhizomes are grayish-brown in colour and curved to some extent; consist of white and yellow roots.

Medicinal Properties Of Primula Veris Plant

Cowslip plant has mainly been utilized for making herbal tea and other dietary supplements. It is now mainly used as decoction or in liquid form for cardiac, nervous system and respiratory conditions. Due to its magical properties, this plant is also used in cosmetology and dermatology, whereas their flowers have a delicate scent that has long ago been exploited in perfumery. In wine making industries it is supposed to enrich wine with high flavonoid content or other biological compounds.

Primula veris contains various pharmacological activities due to its composition, for example, secretolytic, constrictive, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, diuretic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and sedative effects. The main components present in flowers and roots are triterpene saponins and phenolic compounds; including flavonoids, phenolic glycosides and phenolic acids. Expectorant and secretolytic activities present are due to saponins and phenolic compounds exhibit antimicrobial and antioxidant, properties present in Primula flowers.

Researchers showed that isorhamnetin aglycon present in the plant shows cytotoxic activity toward human hepatocellular carcinoma cells. Hyperoside compounds found in plants reveal antiviral activity also.

Primula veris species is considered an important index of human-mediated environmental changes (including climate change) and was referred to as a model plant by Charles Darwin. This plant is used as a garden ornament, but also used as a decorative component in many dishes such as in salads or soups.

Practical Uses Of Primula Veris

  • The root of this plant consists of triterpenoid saponins which help to ease the clearance of phlegm by stimulating more liquid mucus and act as a strong expectorant.
  • Oil produced by maceration of the flowers has an anti ecchymotic effect (treats bruising).
  • They have potential in the treatment of many allergic conditions like asthma.
  • The yellow bright corolla helps to suppress muscle spasms. They are recommended for children in treating hyper-activity and restlessness.
  • The plant contains saponins, which have an expectorant effect and salicylates which act as anodyne, anti-inflammatory and febrifuge effects.
  • The root has little antirheumatic, diuretic effects also and decreases blood clotting.
  • It is used for treating persistent coughs, bronchitis, inflammation and flu.
  • Primula veris is also used in the production of herbal tea.
  • Young leaves of that plant are cooked for making soups.
  • Leaves extract from cow slip possess high quantity of vitamin C which were used to treat hypovitaminosis or avitaminosis.
  • The flower extract of Primula veris shows antiviral effect thus can be used in the treatment of viral infections.
  • With anti-oxidant and other biological active compounds, Primula Veris (Cowslip) acts as a healer for skin affected by acne and rashes hence helps to reduce hyperpigmentation.
  • Vibrant yellow and aromatic flowers of cow slip are used in the perfume industry.
  • Primula veris flowers were properly extracted for wine (both red and white wine) and beer making under pleasant conditions to get highly beneficial component mixed, which is useful for preventing chronic heart failure.


Pregnant women should avoid taking this because it contains salicylates which are the main ingredient of aspirin.

People might be allergic to the stamens of this plant, but can be easily treated.

Part Used

Leaves, Flower, Root, Oil


  • Juice - 01-1.4 ml
  • Powder (Flower) - 2-4g
  • Powder (Roots) - 0.5-1.5g
  • Decoction - 100-300 ml


Primula veris, a native medicinal plant of temperate regions of northern hemisphere has been widely used and accepted for different health benefits, as it has excellent secretolytic, constrictive, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, diuretic, antimicrobial, antifungal, and sedative effects, it can be seen as a potential herb for treating various health problems like respiratory and nerve problems , headache, tremors and many more. Further research is going on to explore its benefits to mankind.

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Author Bio:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor - Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan

Dr. Meenakshi Chauhan


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Reviewed By:

Best Ayurvedic Doctor in Mohali - Dr. Vikram Chauhan

Dr. Vikram Chauhan


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