vendredi 9 avril 2010

Plant médicinal of the week - Primula veris (Primrose)

The primroses are out in force here , it's lovely seeing the clumps of yellow flowers along the country lanes as one drives along. The Primula veris or commonly known cowslip is the one that is used in herbal medicine, it is often confused with Primula elatior or oxslip, which prefers the more shady environment of woodlands and has a clearer yellow flower with a much more open corolla. This confusion is not a problem as according to Pierre Lieutagli, one of France's most knowledgeable ethno-botanists, their properties are more or less identical. I do however prefer to collect the Primula veris, sometimes referred to as Primula officinalis.
The primrose is used mainly in relation to the respiratory tract as it is an expectorant and a good cure for catarrh, a decoction of the roots is used to help cases of pneumonia and whooping cough.
A herbal tea of the flowers is good for anxiety being slightly calming, recommended for children in the evenings
In France it used to be a common remedy when used externally for wounds, rheumatism and inflammations, an oil was made by macerating the flowers for some weeks and this oils was applied externally to the area concerned.
I personally collect the flowers and use them in my herbal teas, they also add a pleasant taste.