William Shakespeare was so taken by the beauty and benefit of cowslip that he immortalized it no less than 8 times throughout his plays.
In the 17th century, the famous English botanist Nicholas Culpepper asserted that anyone who used the distilled water from cowslip, or an ointment made from its flower, would become more beautiful.
Modern herbalists still make a skin cleaning lotion from cowslip. It is said to be useful in treating acne, pimples, and other skin blemishes.
Its unique cleansing properties are said to remove dirt and open the pores of the skin, allowing for a fresher, smoother look.
It has been used for centuries to make sedative tea. Its leaves are said to be mildly narcotic, and it is used as an herbal remedy for insomnia as well as hyperactivity.
In Europe, it has been an effective calming beverage for problems related to nerves and anxiety for many generations. The flowers are thought to be a milder sedative and are used to calm children and help them sleep. (1)
The cowslip roots are expectorant and can be used to treat the common cold and flu-like symptoms. They are widely held to break up mucus so that it can be more easily expelled by the body. (2)
Cowslip has been used in folk remedies to reduce blood clotting and is sometimes used as an antirheumatic.
Current research is looking into the usefulness of the plant in treating asthma and allergies.
The plant’s antispasmodic properties could make it useful in treating epilepsy, tremors, and may even be developed as a treatment for Parkinson’s Disease. (3)
Though rare now, maceration of the cowslip flowers was once a common poultice applied to bruises and was thought to draw out the damage and speed healing of the skin.
This herb has often been used as an herbal alternative in treating kidney complaints and urinary tract infections.