Cowslip Plant Benefits

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Cowslip must not be confused with the Asian cowslip, which belongs to the Umbelliferae family, and grows in Pakistan and India. With the latter plant, some healing creams are made. Flower buds of cowslip are consumed in central Europe and preserved in vinegar. The plant has been utilized as a medicinal herb since the Middle Ages.

cowslip plant flowers

Cowslip Scientific Facts

  1. Scientific name – Caltha palustris L.
  2. Other names – Marsh marigold
  3. French – Populage des marais.
  4. Spanish – Hierba centella.
  5. Environment – Marsh areas and moist forests of Europe and the east coast of North America.
  6. Description – Vivacious plant of the Ranunculaceae family, growing from 30 to 40 cm high. It has fleshy, hollow stems and large kidney-shaped leaves. Its flowers are yellow and are up to 4 cm in diameter.
  7. Parts of the plant used medicinally – The leaves, when dry and the flower chapters.

Cowslip Healing Properties

The whole plant contains protoanemonin, an irritant substance, saponins, and flavonoids. Its main properties are revulsive: when externally applied, it produces congestion and reddening on the skin, thus reducing the inflammation of the inner tissues. Therefore, cowslip is used as poultices to alleviate inflammation of the joints when affected by rheumatism.


We advise against the internal use of its flowers and leaves since it has irritant effects on the digestive system.

How to use Cowslip

  1. Poultices made with several mashed leaves wrapped into a fine cotton gauze. Apply on the affected joint three times a day for 10 to 15 minutes until the skin turns reddish. After every application, the skin must be washed.


George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. vols. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 665. Print.

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