Cowslip is one of the first harbingers of spring in the year. Several species of cowslip, Primola veris, Primula obconia and Primula elation have been of great importance in herbal medicine for many 100 years. Thus, not only Primula obconia, also called poison primrose, was processed into homeopathic medicine. The extracts of cowslip are also used, for example, for acute bronchitis, cough or catarrh of the respiratory tract or for general colds and inflammation of the sinuses.
Depending on the species, the flower can be found with from pale yellow to golden yellow, rich colors with orange spots. Cowslip thrives as a herbaceous plant and its foliage leaves are arranged in rosettes.
Thus, the perennial plant can grow up to 30 cm high. Egg-shaped wavy leaves and funnel-shaped flowers are among the characteristics of cowslip. While the tip of the leaf can be both pointed and bluntly pronounced, the upper side of the leaf has a dark green surface, which, like the underside of the leaf, has the finest hairs. Its flowering period lasts from April to June.
The young leaves of the cowslip are considered a delicacy and a treat for the palate in England – so they are eaten with pleasure as a vegetable.
Cowslip belongs to the family of primroses and is widespread mainly in Europe and the Near East. In Central Europe, more than thirty different species of cowslip are known. The forest and meadow cowslip, as it is also called, is one of the best known in our country and also indicates the locations where the plant is mainly found.
In general, the cowslip is said to have invigorating properties, which is why it is often made into tea. Already in ancient times and in the Middle Ages valuable healing power and magic were attributed to the primrose and it was recommended as a remedy for abdominal pain, bladder stones and to strengthen the heart. This is how it got its reputation as a soul plant with special meaning.
In the past, cowslip was taken as a source of vitamin C. It was not only used for vitamin C deficiency, but also for rheumatism, insomnia and pneumonia. It also strengthens the heart and nervous system. However, due to its rarity, the cowslip is a protected species.
Hieronimus Bock, who lived from 1498 to 1554, is one of the fathers of botany and was probably the first pharmacologist, devoted entire treatises on herbs to his books. In particular, he reported on primroses as a heart tonic and recommended them for fainting and lack of strength.
In folk medicine, the flowers were considered a fabulous nerve tonic with a gentle sedative effect. Hildegard von Bingen recommended cowslip as a soothing and warming remedy for tense nerves, depression, melancholy and anxiety.
In legends and fairy tales the cowslip stands for the key to heaven. According to legend, the plant is called the key to heaven because Peter dropped his key on the ground. By the way, the root of the cowslip was also used to make sneezing powder.
In Austria and Switzerland, the blossoms of the cowslip are often soaked in water to decorate Easter eggs. The eggs are covered with the petals, wrapped in nylon stockings and tied together. Once the shell is colored, the stockings and flowers are removed again, leaving behind beautiful cowslip patterns.