Primula veris L. (Cowslip) and Primula elatior L. (Oxlip) belong to the Primulaceae family. Primula veris L. grows wild on grasslands, meadows, and at the edges and in clearings of woodlands. On the other hand, Primula elatior L. grows in moist and shaded forests as well as in mountain meadows. Both species have rosette of leaves and fragnant bright-yellow flowers with approximately 25 cm leafless stalks. (1)
Primula veris L. and Primula elatior L. were used to treat cough, bronchitis, headache and sleeping disorders, in traditional European medicine. Their pharmacological activities include secretolytic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, antibacterial and relaxant. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the Primula elatior L. have been reported in one week animal study previously. (2) Another study published in 2006 claims that the herbal combination of thyme and primula extracts is very effective for the treatment of acute bronchitis in adults and children. (3) Furthermore, it is stated by European Medicines Agency (EMA) that the flowers and roots of Primula veris L. and Primula elatior L. can be used as an expectorant to treat cough and cold. (4) To conclude, as a result of the chemical composition, Primula veris L. and Primula elatior L. have been used for many years mainly for their expectorant, secrotolytic and anti-inflammatory properties.
The primula extract contains triterpene saponins, flavonoids, phenolic acids and phenolic glycosides which are responsible for its medicinal usage. Saponin content is the reason for its secretolytic and expectorant properties since saponins are capable of dissolving bronchial mucus. On the other hand, the primula extract can be used as antioxidant, antimicrobial and cytostatic drug due to its phenolic compounds. (1)
1. Bączek K, Przybył JL, Mirgos M, Kosakowska O, Szymborska-Sandhu I, Węglarz Z. Phenolics in Primula veris L. and P. elatior (L.) Hill Raw Materials. Int J Anal Chem. 2017;2017:2871579. doi: 10.1155/2017/2871579. Epub 2017 Aug 1 PMID: 28835753; PMCID: PMC5557003.
2. Mohamed GA, Fouad MA, Ibrahim SRM, Elkhayat E. Antioxidant and Anti-Inflamatory Activities of Phenolic Constituents from Primula elatior L. Aerial Part International Journal of Pharmacognosy and Pytochemical Research 6(1): 74-78 January 2014
3. Gruenwald J, Graubaum HJ, Busch R, Fiebich B. Thyme and primrose root: A powerful synergism for the therapy of acute bronchitis. January 2006 doi: 10.1055/s-2006-956521