The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Caltha palustris L.
  • Primula officinalis L.
  • Marigold family

Common Names

  • American cowslip
  • Marsh marigold
  • Meadow bouts
  • Palsywort
  • Water dragon

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Parts Usually Used

Root, leaves
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Description of Plant(s) and

Cowslip is a perennial plant; the succulent, hollow,furrowed, glabrous stem grows 1 or 2 feet high and bears one or more kidney-shaped, dark green, shiny, crenate leaves. Bright yellow 5-9 sepals make up for the lack of petals in the flowers which grow in cymose clusters in April and May.

Also called cowslip, there are a number of herbs with this common name: Primula veris; Primula vulgaris
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Where Found

Found in marshes, wet ditches, along streambanks and pond edges in the northeastern United States and in Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Anodyne, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, rubefacient
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Biochemical Information

Anemonin, protoanemonin (both with marginal antitumor activity)
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Used like the pasqueflower, but weaker. Sometimes eaten in springtime as greens or pot-herbs. Root tea induces sweating, emetic, and expectorant. Leaf tea is diuretic, laxative. Ojibways mixed tea with maple sugar to make a cough syrup that was popular with colonists. The syrup of the leaves was used as a folk antidote to snake venom.
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Formulas or Dosages

Cowslip contains irritant acrid elements. Use only after cooking or drying.
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Nutrient Content

Vitamin A
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All parts may irritate and blister the skin or mucous membranes. Sniffing bruised stems induces sneezing. Intoxicaiton has resulted from the use of the raw leaves in salads or using the raw flower buds as substitutes for capers. Do no confuse with American White or False Hellebore (Veratrum viride), which is toxic.

Use for medicinal purposes with medical supervision only.
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Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

Buy It! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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