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Observations placeholder

Mrs Grieve on Primrose



Type of Spiritual Experience


The plant can also be used to make you sick [an emetic]

and is also astringent.  An astringent (sometimes called adstringent) is a chemical that shrinks or constricts body tissues. The word derives from the Latin adstringere, which means "to bind fast". Calamine lotion, witch hazel, and yerba mansa, a Californian plant, are astringents, as are the powdered leaves of the myrtle.

It is also an expectorant - a medicine which promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs


A description of the experience

Parts Used Medicinally and Preparation for Market---The whole herb, used fresh, and in bloom, and the root-stock (the so-called root) dried.

The roots of two- or three-year-old plants are used, dug in autumn. The roots must be thoroughly cleansed in cold water, with a brush, allowing them to remain in water as short a time as possible. All smaller fibres are trimmed off. Large roots may be split lengthwise to facilitate drying, but as a rule this will not be necessary with Primrose roots.

---Constituents---Both the root and flowers of the Primrose contain a fragrant oil and Primulin, which is identical with Mannite, whilst the somewhat acrid active principle is Saponin.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Antispasmodic, vermifuge, emetic, astringent.

In the early days of medicine, the Primrose was considered an important remedy in muscular rheumatism, paralysis and gout. Pliny speaks of it as almost a panacea for these complaints.

The whole plant is sedative and in modern days a tincture of the fresh plant in bloom, in a strength of 10 OZ. to 1 pint of alcohol, in doses of 1 to 10 drops has been used with success in America in extreme sensitiveness, restlessness and insomnia. The whole plant has somewhat expectorant qualities.

An infusion of the flowers was formerly considered excellent against nervous hysterical disorders. 'Primrose Tea,' says Gerard, 'drunk in the month of May is famous for curing the phrensie.' The infusion may be made of 5 to 10 parts of the petals to 100 of water.

In modern herbal medicine the infusion of the root is generally taken in tablespoonful doses as a good remedy against nervous headaches. A teaspoonful of the powdered dry root serves as an emetic.

'Of the leaves of Primrose,' Culpepper tells us, 'is made as fine a salve to heal wound as any I know.'

The leaves are said to be eagerly eaten by the common silkworm.

In ancient cookery the flowers were the chief ingredient in a pottage called 'Primrose Pottage.' Another old dish had rice, almonds, honey, saffron, and ground Primrose flowers. (From A Plain Plantain.)

The Primrose family is remarkable for the number of hybrids it produces. The garden 'Polyanthus of unnumbered dyes,' as the poet Thomson calls it in 'The Seasons,' is only another form (probably of the Cowslip or Oxlip) produced by cultivation. The Oxlip is distinguished from the Primrose by its flowers being stalked umbels and of a deeper shade of yellow and by its leaves becoming suddenly broader above the middle. It varies from the Cowslip by its tubular, not bell-shaped calyx and flat, not concave corolla.

The following note is from the Chemist and Druggist (March 5, 1921):
'The Oxlip is of more interest to the botanist than to the pharmacist, though at one time it shared with its cousins the cowslip and primrose the name Herba paralysis, and had, like them, a considerable reputation as a remedy in several diseases. Our official books distinguished between Herba paralysis and Primula veris, and attributed different virtues to them.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps