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


  • Primula officinalis L.
  • Onagraceae
  • Primrose family

Common Names

  • Butter rose
  • English cowslip
  • Fairy cup
  • Herb Peter
  • Keyflower
  • Key of heaven
  • Paigle
  • Palsywort

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Parts Usually Used

Seeds, flowers, rootstock
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

The primrose is a glabrous, perennial plant; anchored in the ground with a rhizome that produces a great many fibrous roots; the short brown rootstock produces a rosette of downy, ovate to ovate-oblong leaves with undulating, crenate margins. The leaves contract at the base into winged petioles. A flower stalk, or scape, grows from 4-9 inches high, bearing a 5-to 12-flowered umbel of yellow, funnel-shaped flowers during April and May. The calyx is whitish-green and squared; the corolla is tubular, flared at the top, and yellow, with a deep golden-yellow tone in the center. Flowers followed by a cluster of many seeded pods.

Another herb: Alkali lily (Pachylophus caespitosus) is also called primrose by the Blackfeet Indians (Indian name “Oks pi poku”)
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Where Found

Common in Great Britain and continental Europe. Found in dry meadows, lightly wooded areas, underbrush, hedges, and along forest edges. United States and Canada from the Atlantic coast to Nebraska, as well as in Arctic and temperate regions of the eastern hemisphere.
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Medicinal Properties

Anodyne, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, antispasmodic
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Biochemical Information

Gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), linoleic acid, and vitamin F (essential fatty acids, potassium, magnesium, vitamin C
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Legends, Myths and Stories

The blossoms of this herb form an ingredient in pectoral teas and the young leaves may be eaten in the spring. Bees love the odoriferous flowers, which impart briskness to wines. The roots, immersed in a cask of beer or ale, render the brew stronger.
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Aids in weight loss, reduces high blood pressure, and helps to treat al skin disorders, female disorders such as cramps, heavy bleeding, hot flashes, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, alcoholism. An infusion of primrose flowers is used as remedy for migraine headaches, insomnia (primrose is non-addicting), nervous conditions, PMS, and general weakness. A tea made from the flowering plant is used for articular rheumatism. The rootstock makes a good expectorant. a decoction being useful for catarrh, mucous congestion, coughs, fever, bronchitis, and lung problems. In Europe, primrose is considered a blood purifier, and useful for gout, palsy, and lumbago. An ointment made of the leaves and flowers can be used for skin problems, heals wounds, burns, scalds, softens wrinkles, lightens freckles, discolorations of the skin, and blemishes. Primrose can be used for vertigo, hysteria, epilepsy, convulsions, palsy, backache, cystitis, and urine retention.

Fresh leaves are used in salads in the springtime in Russia.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 2 tsp. flowers (or herb and flowers) in 1/2 cup water. Take 1 cup a day. Make fresh each time.

Decoction: boil 2 tsp. rootstock in 1 cup water.

Tincture: take 5-20 drops, 3-4 times a day, as needed.
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Nutrient Content

Potassium, magnesium, vitamin C
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Some people are allergic to primrose; should avoid medications made from the plant. Avoid the root if sensitive to aspirin (contains salicylates). Do not take high doses during pregnancy, because the plant is uterine a stimulant. Avoid primrose entirely by patients taking blood-thinning drugs.
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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!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

Buy It! Indian Uses of Native Plants, by Edith Van Allen Murphey, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1958, print 1990

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! Earl Mindell’s Herb Bible, by Earl Mindell, R.Ph., Ph.D., Simon & Schuster/Fireside, Rockefeller Center 1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10020

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

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

Buy It! Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fifth Edition: A Practical A-to-Z Reference to Drug-Free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements, by James F. Balch, M.D. and Phyllis A. Balch, C.N.C., Avery Publishing Group, Inc., Garden City Park, NY

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

Buy It! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

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