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Cowslip (Primula veris)

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Also listed as: Primula officinalis, Primula veris
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • Primula elatior, Primula elatior (L) Scherb., Primula officinalis Jacq., Primula veris, Primulaceae (family).
  • Note: Cowslip (Primula veris) should not be confused with Caltha palustris, which is also commonly called cowslip.

Background
  • Cowslip (Primula veris) is native throughout most of temperate Europe and Asia. In northern Belgium, it is common, but mainly occurs in fragmented habitats. In Denmark, cowslip has been traditionally used for epilepsy and convulsions. Although preliminary laboratory tests show that cowslip may be beneficial for these conditions, clinical trials need to be conducted to define cowslip's therapeutic role. Currently, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of cowslip for any indication.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Anticonvulsant, anxiety, cardiovascular (heart) health, epilepsy, sedation (drowsiness).

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for cowslip in adults.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for cowslip in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to cowslip (Primula veris) or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • There is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of cowslip for any indication. Hemolytic activity (destruction of red blood cells) by cowslip has been reported. Use cautiously in patients with hematologic (blood) disorders.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Cowslip is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of sufficient available evidence.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Although not well studied in humans, ethanolic extracts of leaves of Primula elatior and Primula veris may have dose-dependent anticonvulsant effects. Caution is advised when taking cowslip with other anticonvulsant agents.
  • Cowslip may have anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised when taking cowslip with other anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Cardiodoron (Primula officinalis blossom extract, Onopordon acanthium blossom extract, and Hyoscyamus niger herb extract) may affect heart rate. Use cowslip cautiously with cardiac (heart) agents.
  • Hemolytic activity (destruction of red blood cells) by cowslip has been reported. Patients with bleeding disorders or those taking agents to alter the blood (hematological agents) should use cowslip with caution.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Although not well studied in humans, ethanolic extracts of leaves of Primula elatior and Primula veris may have dose-dependent anticonvulsant effects. Caution is advised when taking cowslip with other anticonvulsant herbs or supplements.
  • Cowslip may have anti-inflammatory effects. Caution is advised when taking cowslip with herbs or supplements with anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Cardiodoron (Primula officinalis blossom extract, Onopordon acanthium blossom extract, and Hyoscyamus niger herb extract) may affect heart rate. Use cowslip cautiously with herbs or supplements that have potential cardiac (heart) effects.
  • Hemolytic activity (destruction of red blood cells) by cowslip has been reported. Patients with bleeding disorders or those taking herbs or supplements that may alter the blood (hematological agents) should use cowslip with caution.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
  1. No Author. [Fluctuation of the Saponin Content and the Hemolytic Activity of Saponaria Officinalis L. Priumula Officinalis (L.) Hill., Polemonium Coeruleum L., and Glycyrrhiza Glabra L.]. Pharmazie 1964;19:538-540.
  2. Anour R, Leinker S, van den Hoven R. Improvement of the lung function of horses with heaves by treatment with a botanical preparation for 14 days. Vet.Rec. 12-3-2005;157(23):733-736.
  3. Budzianowski J, Morozowska M, Wesolowska M. Lipophilic flavones of Primula veris L. from field cultivation and in vitro cultures. Phytochemistry 2005;66(9):1033-1039.
  4. Cysarz D, Schurholz T, Bettermann H, et al. Evaluation of modulations in heart rate variability caused by a composition of herbal extracts. Arzneimittelforschung 2000;50(5):420-424.
  5. Huck CW, Huber CG, Ongania KH, et al. Isolation and characterization of methoxylated flavones in the flowers of Primula veris by liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A 2-18-2000;870(1-2):453-462.
  6. Jager AK, Gauguin B, Adsersen A, et al. Screening of plants used in Danish folk medicine to treat epilepsy and convulsions. J Ethnopharmacol 4-21-2006;105(1-2):294-300.
  7. Muller A, Ganzera M, Stuppner H. Analysis of phenolic glycosides and saponins in Primula elatior and Primula veris (primula root) by liquid chromatography, evaporative light scattering detection and mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A 4-21-2006;1112(1-2):218-223.
  8. Paris R. [On the flavonoids of native species of Primula. Presence of a heteroside of kaempferol in the flowers of Primula officinalis Jacq.]. Ann.Pharm Fr. 1959;17:331-335.
  9. Sufka KJ, Roach JT, Chambliss WG Jr, et al. Anxiolytic properties of botanical extracts in the chick social separation-stress procedure. Psychopharmacology (Berl) 1-1-2001;153(2):219-224.
  10. Van Rossum F, Triest L. Fine-Scale Spatial Genetic Structure of the Distylous Primula veris in Fragmented Habitats. Plant Biol (Stuttg) 11-13-2006.
  11. Vitas M, Smith KE, Plavec J, et al. Induction of steroidal hydroxylase activity by plant defence compounds in the filamentous fungus Cochliobolus lunatus. Chemosphere 1999;38(4):853-863.
  12. Webster MA, Gilmartin PA. A comparison of early floral ontogeny in wild-type and floral homeotic mutant phenotypes of Primula. Planta 2003;216(6):903-917.

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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