Other Name(s):

Artetyke, Arthritica, Buckels, Butter Rose, Coqueluchon, Coucou, Crewel, Drelip, English Cowslip, Fairy Caps, Herb Perter, Herbe de Saint Paul, Key Flower, Key of Heaven, Mayflower, Our Lady's Keys, Paigle, Paigle Peggle, Palsywort, Password, Peagle, Peagles, Petty Mulleins, Plumrocks, Primerolle, Primevère, Primevère de Printemps, Primevère Officinale, Primevère Vraie, Primrose, Primula, Primula elatior, Primula officinalis, Primula veris, Printanière.


Cowslip is a plant. The flower and root are used to make medicine.

Cowslip flower is used for swollen nose and throat, cough, bronchitis, trouble sleeping (insomnia), headache, hysteria, nerve pain (neuralgia), and tremors. It is also used to increase urine production, to reduce muscle spasms, as a “heart tonic” for sensations of dizziness and “weak heart,” and to treat heart failure, whooping cough, asthma, gout, and nervous system complaints.

In combination with gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel, cowslip is used for maintaining healthy sinuses and treating swollen and painful sinuses (sinusitis).

How does it work?

Cowslip contains chemicals that might thin and loosen mucus.


Allergies can best be described as: See Answer

Uses & Effectiveness

Possibly Effective for...

  • Inflamed nasal passages or sinusitis. Some research suggests that taking a specific combination of cowslip, gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel (SinuComp by Sinupret) improves symptoms of sinusitis.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Bronchitis. Developing research suggests taking cowslip root in combination with thyme (Bronchipret) by mouth relieves symptoms of bronchitis such as coughing, fever, and increased production of mucus.
  • Cough.
  • Whooping cough.
  • Insomnia.
  • Nervous excitability.
  • Headache.
  • Hysteria.
  • Nerve pain.
  • Tremors.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Spasms.
  • Asthma.
  • Gout.
  • Nervous system complaints.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of cowslip for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

Cowslip is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in small amounts as part of a combination product containing gentian root, European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel (SinuComp, Sinupret). There isn't enough information to know if cowslip is safe when used in medicinal amounts other than as part of the combination product. The combination product can cause digestive system upset and occasionally allergic skin rash.


Could I Be Allergic? Discover Your Allergy Triggers See Slideshow

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking cowslip if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

High blood pressure, low blood pressure: There is some concern that cowslip might interfere with blood pressure control.


The following doses have been studied in scientific research:


  • For sudden or ongoing swollen sinuses (sinusitis): a specific combination product (SinuComp, Sinupret) containing 36 mg of cowslip flower plus 12 mg of gentian root and 36 mg each of European elder flower, verbena, and sorrel three times daily.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.



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