Herb: Primrose


Latin name: Primula vulgaris


Synonyms: Primula acaulis


Family: Primulaceae (Primrose Family)



Medicinal use of Primrose:

Primroses have a very long history of medicinal use and has been particularly employed in treating conditions involving spasms, cramps, paralysis and rheumatic pains. They are, however, considered to be less effective than the related P. veris. 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 roots and the flowering herb are anodyne, antispasmodic, astringent, emetic, sedative and vermifuge. An infusion of the roots is a good remedy against nervous headaches. The roots are harvested in the autumn when two or three years old and dried for later use. An ointment has been made from the plant and used for treating skin wounds.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

Flovering:
December
to May


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Woods and hedgerows on acid and calcareous soils. Also found in the open on north-facing slopes in south-western England.

Edible parts of Primrose:

Young leaves - raw or cooked as a potherb, added to soups etc. A mild flavour, though the texture is a bit tough. The leaves are often available all through the winter. Flowers - raw or cooked. They make an attractive garnish to salads, and can also be used as a cooked vegetable or in conserves etc. Picked when first opened, the flowers are fermented with water and sugar to make a very pleasant and intoxicating wine. Both the flowers and the leaves can be made into a syrup or a tea.

Other uses of the herb:

Makes a good carpet in open woodland and on woodland edges. Plants are best spaced about 35cm apart each way.

Propagation of Primrose:

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 20C. 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.

Cultivation of the herb:

Woods and hedgerows on acid and calcareous soils. Also found in the open on north-facing slopes in south-western England.

Known hazards of Primula vulgaris:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.